Traning the Trainer – Feeling the Function

After 9 weekly personal training sessions from Ryan, I am feeling a ton more function.  It is a great week as my clothes are fitting better as well.  The “bulky phase” is over and it’s fun to feel my strength and coordination come back to nearly normal.
This is the rewarding part of the journey back from baby #3, this is the motivation I have kept in my head from the beginning.  Getting back to full functionality and not feeling wierd twinges and getting fatigued from random play with my kids.  I can now have success sneaking up the stairs to scare my kids as my “knee noise” has lessened substantially…Ha!
It feels reall  good to follow through on the commitment of 10 sessions.  It was a bit of a financial stretch, but for me it was worth it.  Some things just need to fit into the budget.  And in today’s economy paying for our own health insurance, my health and function are a priority.  It feels good to have control over my health and wellness.  It feels great to be proactive and preventative.  In my opinion, more people need to do the same.
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Training the Trainer- Bulky Before Beautiful

OK, I am officially in my “bulking up” phase (or so I hope).  My pants and jeans are tighter and my skinny jeans don’t fit all of the sudden.  However, because I have been consistent with my workouts AND my eating intake, I can make the reasonable conclusion that I am building my lower body muscles back.  I have had sessions 5 & 6 with Ryan and I can tell I have more control and balance with my exercises.

EXCELLENT!  And at the same time really frustruating. 

This is why there are so many women out there that won’t lift weights.  We must be patient!  When gaining strength, you will gain muscle.  The body gains muscle THEN adjusts it’s metabolism and burns off the excess fat.  So initially, you get “bulky” but eventually the body slims and firms adjusting to the new added muscle mass.  For me, in the past, it takes about 2 weeks for my body to adjust to the new muscle.  Here’s hoping that is still the case.

starting position flattening back into the floor
holding pelvis steady, lower legs & return to start

Ryan is still helping me through the process of making my abdominals fully functional while they shorten from baby #3.  The above exercise is a nice transition from a simple contract & hold to adding some movement.

Training the Trainer #3 & 4- Shining Moments

Side Sliders w/Prayer Hands

OK, so for all of you that wonder if you should make a package commitment with a personal trainer, I am here to tell you “Yes, but…”. 

  • Yes, but interview your options and do your background research.  A smart trainer will get to know your body in the first few sessions.  The goal is a safe successful progression and not to have you doing circus tricks until you vomit.
  • Yes, but a package is a big financial commitment so make sure you know the rules/fine print up front.  A good trainer values his/her time and will enforce a reasonable cancellation policy.  Accountability is key.
  • Yes, but make sure it is a good personality match.  Know if you are more motivated by a “Jillian the Drill Sargent” trainer or a “Bob the Nice Guy” trainer (Biggest Loser reference).

Ryan is more of the “Nice Guy” trainer.  But tough in a stealthy sort of way.  Since my first session with Ryan, he has figured out most of my strengths and weaknesses.  Like we found out in my second session, I can jump rope with the best of them…woo hoo again!  I also now know that I am a super stud (my term) at the arm hang (remember junior high PE testing?) 45 seconds!  However, before I go and get all cocky, my leg strength is building at a snail’s pace and I am totally lop-sided in my balance. 

What I really like is that, in my opinion, this is what the personal training journey is all about for the trainer AND the client; Gaining more knowledge about the body.

Getting the latest P90X DVD series or having an occasional personal training session are all well and good, but until you know the “ins & outs” of your INDIVIDUAL BODY you won’t be as efficient as possible with your workouts.  Long term retention is only possible when you stay injury free and excited about your exercise.

What is/would be your trainer’s personality?

Training the Trainer- Jello Legs

Going into my second training session I knew it wasn’t going to be as pain-free as the first session.  I was a good client and did my homework of taking myself through a similar workout a second time before my next appointment. 

I impressed myself by showing up early and jumping on the treadmill to warm up.  Ryan lead me through another circuit of functional and three dimensional exercises, some of which challenged my coordination more than I’d like to admit.  But I have to say, I did quite well with a few exercises. 

As it turns out, I am “one of the best clients” at jumping rope!  Now I don’t really know the fitness level of Ryan’s other clients, my ego says they must all be excellent athletes, but my dance recital with the jump rope routine in 4th grade must have contributed to my success.  Ha! No really, I love the jump rope.  It is an excellent tool to learn coordination and keep your heart rate up during strength workouts.

“Suicides” or “shuttle runs” was where my body proved to lack the brain-to-feet connection.  For those of you who don’t know, shuttle runs are where you run back and fourth from a home position to multiple increasing distances. Now I don’t really care if I look like an a$$ during my workouts, but I still feel a disconnect after having baby #3.  It was nice to feel an improvement on the second set.  As I see it, my reaction time might have been better if I had been holding a donut and pretending someone was trying to take it from me. It’s all about motivation right? 

To finish me off, right after I built up my confidence on a jump rope set, I was brought back to reality with box jumps.  Box jumps are when you jump with both feet on and off of a sturdy box or platform for a given number of repetitions or time set.  The box can be any height really; this one was a beginner 12″ high.  I was told to go 1 minute.  The first 30 seconds were respectable, the next 15 a bit of a struggle, and the last 15 seconds I was just praying that my toes cleared the edge each time so I didn’t wind up with my face on the box.  I finished.  I felt pretty good too.  However, Ryan then handed me the jump rope to do one last set, and as soon as I swung the rope I nearly fell down because my legs did not respond.  My leg muscles had turned into jello. It was quite funny.  I give Ryan credit for turning away slightly as he couldn’t help but laugh as well.  But true to a quality personal trainer, he encouraged me to keep trying and eventually my legs decided it was best to respond and jump rather than stand by and allow injury.

I left this session feeling worked and energized, though at the same time praying no one came out of the bushes to chase me or I would have to surrender on the spot.  I was determined to get in at least one of these workouts on my own before my next session to save a little face, if you will.  For me, when the words come out of my mouth saying, “I used to be able to do that so easily”, I get motivated.   The competition is with my former self.  I will get back to my previous fitness level…better even.  Especially if I want to do Circus Training without getting injured!

Training the Trainer #1 – Becoming a Client

Coming into my first training session with my trainer Ryan, I did my best to turn off my ‘trainer brain’ and get into ‘client brain’.  I told myself not to overanalyze or try and correct his logic.  I brought my humble attitude knowing I still have a LOT of strength to gain back after having baby #3.  Based on my self assessment, I let him know my goals of increasing my strength and my cardiovascular fitness right up front, (I figured I will withold the non-professional goal of getting my “ghetto booty” back until I know him better). 

Ryan is a trainer with a similar background and training style to my own.  He started me off with a warm up and some core exercises which are thoroughly needed after having a baby.  From there, my first session was more of an intake session to see where my base starting point is.  I have to say I liked the attention to posture and form details Ryan cues me on.  I know now how some of my clients feel when I put a million cues in their head at once!

Despite learning the new trainer vocabulary for the “trembles of truth” showing my weeny leg strength, I left feeling great.  In the back of my mind I thought “that was easy”, but I know the real workouts start next week.  I am newly motivated to get my function back and learn some new tricks to pass along to my own clients.

The Trainer Becomes the Trained!

Well I’ve done it.  I have signed myself up for 10 personal training sessions. 
After reaching my goal of getting back into my pre-baby skinny jeans and at my pre-baby weight, I still feel there is room to improve.  Just because I am a smaller size doesn’t mean I am at my desired fitness level :).   And setting goals is always a good idea.  So my goal is to increase my leg strength and my cardiovascular fitness.

I am reminded weekly of how sucky (yes that is a technical term) my cardiovascular fitness is when I take the advanced BOSU class at Frog’s Gym.  I am feeling a slow improvement each week, but when I started back to it after having my 3rd baby, I was red-faced and light headed during the last 15 minutes of class. I have also learned not to have my usual Kashi GO LEAN cereal before class as I almost lost it last week and had to cut class early.  Instead, I have only my coffee or a small Muscle Milk protein shake and save the cereal for after class.  Now, I have never been one to enjoy cardio workouts, I’m a weight training girl.  But I like classes that keep my brain so busy I don’t realize I am about to die of exhaustion. 

I am excited for these training sessions to have someone else do the thinking for a change.  I am looking forward to learning about new trends like kettlebells and body leverage training that came about while I was in Puerto Rico.  I trust this new “client perspective” will be a learning experience and entertaining at the same time, so stay tuned (follow my blog) and enjoy the ride with me!