Saturday, October 24, 2009

On Personal Training

Instead of an LV handbag, Chanel sunglasses or 500 pencil crayons, I got myself a personal trainer for turning 33 this year. I figured it was about time I got serious about whipping my own ass into shape since my metabolism has slowed and my tendency towards excuses has resulted in gaining about 10lbs of weight in the last year - no joke.

The harbinger for me came in February, when I had difficulty pulling up the zip of my dressy knee-high boots. I thought for sure I'd break the zipper tab and cut off circulation because my calves were bigger than they were the year before. As time progressed, the mornings when I'd stand in front of my closet at a loss for what to wear because things weren't fitting right multiplied. I felt helpless with frustration and angry at myself for letting this happen.

I made half-hearted attempts to get fit on my own - I ordered exercise books and DVDs but I'm just not motivated enough to do it on my own. It wasn't until I was trying on some dresses in my closet for a friend's wedding and finding that I couldn't fit into them anymore that I finally bit the bullet and took a page out of my cousin A's book to hire a personal trainer.

I always used to think a personal trainer was self-indulgent and superficial. But I've been working with K now for about 2 months and I must say that this is one of the best investments I've ever made - and it is an investment because our sessions are not cheap.

I train 3x a week and am still surprised by how strong I am having never pushed myself to the limit. I wasn't athletic growing up, preferring music and band to varsity team sports, so I was never particularly into health and fitness. Getting into running was a bit of a revelation for me because I never imagined that I would really enjoy it, but enjoy it I did in working up to my first 10K last year. For various reasons, I wasn't nearly as motivated this year so I ended up bailing on the 10 Mile run I'd signed up for.

Back to training though - I'm nearing the end of my "foundational" phase, the first in a 3-phase program which follows the periodization philosophy of training. I'm definitely seeing results in my arms which is to be expected as I'm your classic pear shape so the muscles in my lower body are hiding beneath the fat which hasn't been burned off yet. I'll be progressing to the "build" phase soon, which, according to K, means heavier weights, lower reps and less creative exercises as we work to focus the muscle development. The final phase, "burn," is the one I'm most looking forward to as that's when the fat is burned off and we "shrink wrap" the muscles leaving a toned, fit physique behind.

Aside from being a qualified personal trainer, K is also a nutritionist - which I'm sure he studied in order to give himself an edge as a bodybuilder - so he's also giving me diet advice which I've heeded. I'm making more conscious decisions about what I eat like trying to have protein at every meal and choosing complex carbohydrates over simple ones. I've even started drinking whey protein shakes post-workout which have really helped in my recovery because I'm not as sore for as long. I used to think they were only for muscleheads but if it makes me hurt less, I'm all for it.

I kept a food diary for a week which K reviewed and critiqued based on my intake of protein, carbs, fat and water. I'll have more on my diet in blogs to come.

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