Guest Post: Jo Wilkins on Having a PT

Personal training. The very thought of it made me roll my eyes in disgust. Born with a sweet tooth and an obsession with chocolate, my idea of exercise was lifting the remote to change the channel. Colleagues and friends marvelled at the amount of junk in my diet. I had noticed weight start to creep on, but it never really bothered me until one day I walked up a long flight of stairs at work and was badly out of breath at the top. I started noticing how tired I was after simple physical tasks, and how little energy I had. I knew then it was time to make a change, so I did what I’d always mocked others for – joined a gym.

For someone who’d never set foot in a gym, it was a scary place. Surrounded by muscle and machines that looked like torture devices, I didn’t have a clue where to start. A free consultation helped a little, but I was still clueless as to how to tone, what muscle groups to work and what a rep was. Taking the plunge, I contacted a PT on the gym’s website. He assured me the sessions would be fun, although tough. After my first session and being introduced to RPE, HIIT workouts and muscles I’d never heard of, I wondered what on earth I’d let myself in for. I was so sweaty, gasping for water and could barely move the next day. Would I ever be comfortable in a gym and shift that belly??

Fast forward 3 months and it’s not an exaggeration to say I’m a different person. I talk in reps, I buy gym gear more than dresses and I’m addicted to the changes I’m seeing in my physique. Under instructions from my PT I started drinking 2 litres of water a day, tough to start with as I drank nothing but sugary tea, but soon I noticed how refreshed I was feeling and how few headaches I got at the end of the day. I cut all cakes, biscuits and sugary snacks out my diet and noticed I didn’t get the sugar crash in the afternoon. I upgraded my lunches from carb and fat filled cravings, to quinoa, wholegrain rice, protein and veg.

The thing is though, personal training has become so much more than a way to tone up; it’s changed my perspective on everything. Exercising every day has made me feel so much less stressed. I feel good about myself physically, and taking care of my body has made me want to make life choices that make me feel good too. I’ve put renewed energy into finding a career I’m passionate about instead of the job I hate. I’ve been strong willed with the guy who treated me like shit. I’ve volunteered for things that make me feel worthwhile. Having personal training, and developing a good relationship with my PT has made me realise that when you put positive energy into life you get positivity out of it. Do things that are good, and make you feel good about yourself, and your life will feel so much more positive.

So what are my suggestions for having a PT?

Find someone who you can trust. – If you’re anything like me, you’ll be embarrassed at first about how unfit you are, what your body looks like and how awful you look in various positions. A PT you can trust will make you feel comfortable and help you realise that none of it matters.

It’s a two way street – They should listen to what you want out of your sessions, whether it’s weight loss or toning or a specific body part you want to work on. But also, you need to listen to them. They know what they’re doing so trust them.

Give it your all – There is no point shelling out money and time if you’re only going to be half hearted. You’ll see the results much more and feel 100x better if you’re working your hardest each session.

Find someone that matches your style of learning – I work best with encouragement, support and a good laugh and my PT delivers just that. Our sessions are really fun, but he won’t let me give up or slack! Some people work best with tough, no nonsense training and that’s fine too, it’s just a case of gelling well together.

Have fun! – If you’re hating every minute of your sessions, chances are something’s not right. They should be tough, and you won’t always be loving the pain, but overall you should feel good and want to enjoy them.


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