HOW TO BE YOUR OWN PERSONAL TRAINER
How to be your own personal trainer, will focus on YOU! Your ability to learn, set goals and carry them out. You can do this yourself, without the expense of a personal trainer AND BE SUCCESSFUL in training your body! This article will serve as an outline, as there is so much information to know, one post could not hold it all!
I want to address the WHY, of becoming more fit. This is a personal choice, with two general reasons why. First improved health, and second, improvement in the way you feel.
I have been both a CanFitPro personal trainer and a YMCA Group Fitness Instructor. The timing of my training, was just as the Internet was exploding. NOW, everything you need is RIGHT HERE!
THE SIX STEP PROCESS
- Inform yourself about safety!
- Learn about muscles and movement.
- Understand SMART goals.
- Do your own “base-line” assessment.
- Research and plan.
- Assess your success by comparing to that baseline AND how your body is feeling!
SAFETY IS YOUR FIRST PRIORITY
There is no way to overstate the importance of safety when exercising. Better Health has an amazing article on exercise safety. I am going to summarize the important points for you here. PLEASE MAKE SAFETY your first priority!
- Know your capabilities now (base-line assessment to follow).
- Training too hard, too fast, is the biggest cause of injury. Know when to stop!
- Be sure to warm up AND cool down.
- Stay hydrated throughout your exercise.
- NO BOUNCING when stretching, EVER!
- Exercise appropriately for the environment. When you are outside, you need to be cautious of overheating and cold-weather issues.
- If you use any equipment, understand what you are using and how to use it safely. If you are training at a gym, the facility can show you how to use any piece of equipment safely.
- Listen to your body.
MUSCLES AND MOVEMENT
I have written about muscles before within livefatandfit.com. Read What You Need To Know About Muscles, to learn be the basics. What I want to add here, will be directed towards building muscle and strength training. It is important to note that you CANNOT turn fat into muscle (Read Can You Turn Fat Into Muscle).
Building healthy muscle has a lot to do with what you eat and not simply how much you work out! A well-balanced food plan, with protein, hydration and healthy foods is necessary. The term “muscles have memory” has been used a lot in the fitness world. It means different things, in different conversations. Your muscle increases in size by repeating a task, over and over. By repeating an exercise (reps and sets), we teach our muscles what to do. There is also a belief that muscles that have been fit before, will become fit again, faster than the first time. This has never been proven. After about three months of not working your muscles, you will lose muscle mass and they will atrophy(shrink). This is why, in order to maintain strength, you need to keep up the exercising!
Tendons connect bone to muscle. Ligaments connect bones to other bones.Tendons, ligaments and muscles are soft tissue and not being safe when working out, risks all three! Without your muscles, your body will not move!
Smart goals are specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and timely. By using SMART goals, you will be able to measure your progress. Knowing you are succeeding, helps you want to succeed even more. How To Set SMART Goals, will help you understand this process. REMEMBER, the only person you are accountable to is YOU. You get to decide what your goals are and if they are realistic and attainable for you. Only you know how you feel and if exercise and fitness are making you feel better.
YOUR OWN BASE-LINE ASSESSMENT
There are two measures of fitness to assess, AEROBIC fitness, as well as ANAEROBIC fitness. Aerobic fitness is all about your heart and lungs and cardiovascular endurance. In daily life, this might be about how you do while climbing stairs. Can you climb 2 flights of stairs, without becoming winded? Anaerobic fitness is strength, endurance and flexibility.
For aerobic fitness, you can do a 1-MILE walk test or a STEP test. These assume you are mobile, and able bodied. The markers will be different if not and the plan will include variations. I am going to leave AEROBIC fitness and its markers for the next post!
There are 3 muscle groups to test for baseline muscle capacity. They are the large muscle groups and include the LEGS, the ABS and the ARMS. To do this, you perform as many push-ups (modified if necessary) as you can in one minute (arms), as many crunches as you can in one minute (abs) and as many squats (chair squats if necessary), as you can in one-minute. This gives you baseline info and you build you exercise routine to increase this baseline.
If you are beginning a stretch routine or wanting to increase flexibility, I use 2 stretches to note baseline flexibility. First the TOE-touch test and second the SIT-and-REACH test. I will describe these in detail in the next post as well.
RESEARCH AND PLAN
There is a lot of research you can do to come up with your plan. I am going to take you through this research, step-by-step in another post in this series.
ASSESS SUCCESS WITH PROGRESS
If you have decided it is time to increase your fitness level, you also want to think about how you will assess your outcomes. The obvious way is to repeat your baseline testing. Is your 1-mile walk test completed faster now? Is your heart rate improving with the 3-minute step test? Can you perform more squats, crunches and push-ups than you did on base-line self assessment?
To me, the HOW YOU FEEL, is the most important component and really the WHOLE REASON to improve your fitness level. I want to feel well and know my body will do for me, what I ask of it, for a very long time. Being active as I grow older, is very important to me. This means a regular routine of some type, in order to keep my body moving.
YOUR LEVEL OF FITNESS CHOICES
My fitness routine now is very different than it used to be. I am interested in practical fitness. You Choose, Fitness or Super Fitness, addresses differences. Search “practical fitness” in the search area above and read. Practical fitness is attainable and sustainable.
Regardless of motivation and goals, the average person can train themselves, without need for a personal trainer. The World Wide Web has SOOOOOOO much information available on this subject. The choice, of course, is yours, but I do sometimes hear that finances are a barrier to increased fitness. Increased fitness, will lead to increased wellness. Increased wellness will lead to increased mental health. NEED I SAY MORE?
This article is part of a 4-part series.