I was a skinny kid. A sporty child who went through my teenage years trying out different sports, different after-school activities that I could try my hand at, somewhere that I could excel and fit in. Football was the obvious choice; I had some ability in this having played and been reasonably successful at primary school level. Basketball was next, it was cool. I had always loved the game ‘21’ where you go head-to-head with an opponent shooting for 2 and 3-pointers until someone gets to, you guessed it…21. The school team tried me out, but it didn’t quite fit. Badminton, rugby, table tennis, athletics, I gave them all a good go, and represented the school at many athletics events (javelin and 1,500m if you must know), but somehow, I still hadn’t found my fit.
It wasn’t until I started going to the gym at 16 that I started to discover a whole universe of opportunity, self-mastery and physical progression. I was curious, trying out all of the machine weights, burning a bunch of calories aimlessly on the cardio machines and giving the old dumbbells a go on my biceps (the only exercise I knew how to do with weights, badly, as I would soon realise!!). I was in a new world of discovery and exploration, and enjoying learning what putting hard work in at the gym would do to my body. Something happened next, which had it not, could have sent my life in a very different direction…
My Mum's Influence...
My mother, seeing that the training was having an affect on my size, encouraged me to go 50/50 with her for some personal training sessions to ensure I was training the right way, to, and I quote:
‘make sure you stay in proportion, darling’.
My 16 year old self had no idea about the chain of events that was about to take place following this very considerate suggestion from my mum.
So the next time I was in the gym I enquired with the personal trainer who was operating out of the local gym in London. His name was Anthony. I sat down with him, and we discussed who I’d like to look like (Brad Pitt in ‘Troy’ I said), what type of training experience I have (very little) and what my current activity level was like (extremely active – or over-active as I would find out).
We started training together, and I was absorbing what Anthony was telling me faster than any content I ever had at school. I was actually very focussed at school, but this was different. This felt like some kind of magic. Before it felt like some kind of complex 3D puzzle that when you see the pieces individually and separate on the table, they don’t make any sense, but now the pieces were coming together and I could see the masterpiece. My training was going well, and I was developing nicely. The support, knowledge and accountability I was receiving from Anthony seemed to be the missing ingredient to my training. We worked on building a strong posture and building function first, and then strength. This was the game changer.
To this day Anthony is still my personal trainer (as I believe we all can benefit from the accountability and support of a trained professional, even Personal Trainers!). We have both moved on a lot since back then but he is now also a great friend, mentor and business partner.
The Benefits of Personal Training
The benefits I received from having a personal trainer were:
- Education – always learning and progressing
- Motivation – when I didn’t always have it myself
- Accountability – someone to call me out when I can push harder
- Personalised plan – specific to me, both fitness and nutrition to get me to my Brad Pitt body
- Challenging – the right plan to reach my potential
- Variety in training – keeping it fun
- Goals – having the end in mind, but knowing every journey starts with the first step
- Better improvements – the knowledge and expertise of someone who knows how to succeed
- Flexibility – an area that I would have overlooked myself, but my body is extremely grateful for now
- More than fitness – bettering your physical self will have an impact on your mental self and have a positive knock-on effect in the rest of your life
So that is where my Personal Training journey began, and why making the decision to invest in those first few personal training sessions turned out to be the best decision I ever made. Now, I’m not saying that you will start training, and right away develop or unearth and intense passion for exercise and want to sign up to the next personal training course that’s available! But you just might develop a keen awareness of your body, how it moves, what it needs, and educate yourself about how you can get closer to your physical potential the way that I have.
Yours, in health and happiness,