Is a Personal Trainer Really Worth It??

I have considered at one time or another getting a personal trainer. I always felt like the expense was too high and that I couldn’t afford it at the time. I also wasn’t sure what I would get out of a trainer, considering I had some education in fitness already and had a general idea of what I should be doing. When I re-joined the gym a couple of weeks ago, I decided to go ahead and put out the expense for the introductory personal training sessions, which consists of three sessions. I had my first session today. I was a little nervous and excited going into the gym today, not quite sure just what to expect. Was my trainer going to expect me to do a bunch of reps of a bunch of exercises at high weights I wasn’t comfortable lifting? Were they going to put me on a treadmill at a pace too fast for me? Were they going to push me like a drill sergeant?

I left my house early, wanting to get to the gym before my appointment time. I arrived, asked the best way to find my trainer at the appropriate time, and went to the locker room to put away my bag and get ready. I had about 35 minutes before meeting my trainer, so I decided to get in a light warmup on one of the recumbent bikes. I went for 20 minutes and kept my average difficulty level low (5) because I wasn’t sure what was to come. At my appointed time, I went over to introduce myself to my trainer.

My trainer is a woman in her mid-50’s (at a guess) who is in amazing shape! She mentioned that she is running the Seattle marathon tomorrow and has run numerous marathons in her life, included Boston and New York several times. She is a master trainer and also teaches some Cardio Pump and Spin classes at the gym. The first thing she did was get my medical history and take my measurements. She checked my posture and looked at my shoes to see if they would work. We talked about my goals and what I had been doing as exercise. My fitness knowledge came in helpful because I already had established solid goals, her philosophy and the information she provided  were completely in line with my philosophy and knowledge as well. I felt very in sync with her from the beginning.

After we took care of the administrative tasks, she wanted to get me started on some basic warmups and strength building moves. Since we had to devote the first part of the session to the paperwork, we knew the workout itself would be pretty small today. First we did some warm up on the step~ step-ups and side squats, then moved on to the ball. With the ball we did some squats, torso twists and some deep squats against the wall. For all of the warm ups we did 1 set of 12. After that it was time to get started on the machines. The first machine was low-mounted pull, I did a squat with a triceps pull-back, 2 sets of 12 at 50 lbs. Next we moved to a leg press, again 2 sets of 12 at 40 lbs. The final machine was a cable machine what we used for chest press, 2 sets of 12 at 15 lbs. She kept my weight and sets low today just to get a feel for what I can do. We finished up with some core exercises~ plank, side plank and bridge. I have never been able to hold a plank before on my toes, but today I held it for 30 seconds, same with the side plank on both sides. It was awesome.

I finished my session really pleased with the results and already trying to figure out how I could come up with the money to cover additional training sessions after I finish these three. I think that it will really help me to remain focused on my goals, push me to accomplish them, but not push me so hard that I overtrain (which is something that I am guilty of doing to myself from time to time). While I finished up with another 20 minutes on the bike (this time at an average difficulty of 10), I reflected that yes, for me, personal training really is worth it!

Have you ever worked with a personal trainer? Do you feel that its worth the expense?

Last week I signed up for a new gym membership and was really excited about it, but I kept coming up with a million excuses as to why I could not make it there. I was starting to think that I was suffering from some form of gym phobia, then wondered if I was the only one. After talking to one of my classmates today, I discovered that she too has a phobia of the gym as well. So that sparked my interest, and another web search, which came up with 843,000 results for “gym phobia”. Many of the articles covered how to overcome a fear of going to the gym. I was really surprised that there were so many, I though my fear of the gym was completely irrational, but its nice to know that I am not alone. Many people feel intimidated about going to the gym the first time (or first several times). We feel like we are going to stand out as different, that we won’t belong, that everyone else will be thin and in shape and we aren’t. Reading through some of the articles and websites, I read things from other people that I had been feeling myself.

Ironically, I read all of these entries AFTER getting myself in the gym doors tonight. I kept going back and forth with myself about whether or not to go, but I really could not come up with one good reason to not go tonight, and so many great reasons to go. The biggest reason is that I am not going to reach a lot of my goals if I’m afraid to go to the gym! So I went. I took a tour first with one of the membership people, he was awesome! He showed me where everything was, talked to me about personal training options, demonstrated some of the equipment, then let me go and asked that I check in with him before I left. The gym itself is also awesome with state of the art equipment, a lap pool, sauna, the works.

I thought a lot about the information he had given me about personal training while I was putting in my 30 minutes on the bike tonight. I kept my workout fairly short since I have been out of the fitness groove for a month or so, but still got one of the best workouts I’ve had in a long time. After the workout, I met back up with my “guide” and signed up for 3 personal training sessions. My first one will be on Saturday and I’m really looking forward to it.

Of course, I plan to hit the gym a few more times before then. I might still try to come up with excuses before I walk out the door, but I feel a lot better knowing that I have conquered the initial huddle. And I didn’t stick out like a sore thumb tonight either!

Have you ever experienced gym phobia?

Stocking the Pantry

Considering that part of a healthy lifestyle is a healthy diet, a well stocked pantry is a key ingredient. I took the opportunity today to stock up on some great, nutritious food. I filled the fridge with salad greens, various veggies for snacking (broccoli, bell peppers, cucumber, etc.), some good cheeses (bleu cheese crumbles for salad, babybel for snacking & cheddar for quesadillas), hummus (roasted garlic of course), Almond milk (I am just now trying this, so we’ll see how it tastes) and Australian yogurt (Wallaby brand, its organic and really yummy). For the freezer, there is skinless chicken breasts, frozen veggies (corn, peas, broccoli & a mix) and some frozen fruits for smoothies (lots of berries). Then came the pantry itself! I loaded up on some organic whole wheat pastas and sauces, whole grain crackers, tortillas, rices (brown and basmati), soups, beans, nuts and lots of yummy fruits (apples, oranges, grapefruit, bananas, kiwi). Because I don’t eat a lot of meat, I tend to be a bit low in protein, so I also stocked up on some natural whey protein powder to put in my smoothies. I’m not a vegetarian, I just don’t eat a lot of meat and don’t like soy, so my protein tends to come from nuts, yogurt and cheeses with a little bit of meat here and there (mostly chicken or shrimp).

In addition to stocking the pantry, I also picked up a few other items that will make eating healthier meals easier with my busy schedule. The first is a set of lunch containers that I have on order that is portioned into perfect sizes. I also purchased a larger insulated lunch bag and some reusable ice packs. Because I need to pack food for lunch at school and then dinner at work a few times a week, the larger bag will come in very handy.

And then there are a couple of treats. I like to have some really good quality chocolate on hand. I find that if I have it available I don’t crave it, so when I want some its just a piece instead of a package. In the past when I haven’t had chocolate in the house, I would get cravings and devour packages of it when I got the chance. Keeping some in stock keeps me in check. That may seem counterintuitive and I know it doesn’t work that way for everyone, but it works for me. Right now I have some See’s chocolates. I’ve had the box for a couple of days and haven’t even opened it. I also have some protein bars that I’m sampling (I’ll be blogging on that soon) and whole grain chips for the salty cravings (again, when I have them I don’t feel the need to eat the entire package in one sitting).

What healthy treats do you like to stock in your pantry?

Living Healthy

I was interested in how other people define healthy living, so I did a web search for definitions of healthy living. I wanted to see if my definition matched what other people and organizations believe healthy living means. Here is some of what I found:

“Healthy Living is about taking responsibility and making smart health choices for today and for the future.”
http://www.healthy-holistic-living.com/Definition-of-Healthy-Living.html#ixzz1dkcLhH2i)
 
“Healthy living is simply keeping both body and mind in good condition and avoiding activities and substances which would adversely effect your well being.”
 
In many ways these definitions are in tune with my own definition of healthy living. For me, it is not only the food I eat, the activities I engage in and the supplements I take; it is also about allowing myself to enjoy a day of non-activity or indulge in an “unhealthy” treat. Healthy living for me includes not only the physical, but also the mental aspects; making sure I spend time with friends, and taking time to spend with myself. To me, it is all about the balance.
 
To live a truly healthy life, I know that I need to lead a balanced life. I need to include all of the typical healthy items of exercise and good nutrition, but I also need to incorporate a social life, time for activities I enjoy, and time to just be. I also need to make time for all those things that just need to happen in life, like work, school, and trips to the grocery store. My life is not completely in balance right now, I have good days and bad days, but that is what this journey is about, finding that balance in my life. I know that life will never be 100% balanced, but part of healthy living is also knowing when one area of your life needs to take priority at any given time.
 
How do you define healthy living?

Welcome to my blog!

I have the dream of an incredible life, a life where I run marathons and compete in a triathlon, a life where I go rock climbing and work in the field of fitness and nutrition. The is not the life I currently have, but it is the life I am working towards. I am chronicling the journey from my current life to the life of my dreams here on this blog, Healthy Living In Seattle.

To start the journey, let me give you some background about me. I am a recent transplant to Seattle, WA from San Diego, CA. I am getting ready to experience my first winter in the Pacific Northwest, so it should be pretty interesting. I am 40 years old, single and female. I have been overweight most (ok probably all) of my life. I have been actively working to lose weight and get healthy for the last several years, and am in the process of re-dedicating myself on this journey. I have always been fascinated by fitness and nutrition and have completely certification courses in the field, though did nothing with them. I was laid off 2 years ago and decided to take the opportunity to change careers, though took a much different route. I am currently 4 months away from becoming a licensed Pharmacy Technician. I plan to work in this field while I prepare to shift gears into the field of fitness and nutrition.

In this blog, I will share my progress along the way to my healthier lifestyle. I plan to share recipes, personal insights, reviews of fitness products and routines, recommendations of healthy resources on the web and locally and general updates on my progress. I invite you to follow along with my journey and share your feedback.