Wednesday, 31 July 2013

My experience of working out with a personal trainer

This post is all about my experience working out with my personal trainer Michelle
Why did I go to a personal trainer?
Most of you know my weight loss/fitness story, over the years I have struggled with exercising and choosing healthy food, finally I had reached a point in life where I was enjoying my workouts (maybe too much) and eating healthy (maybe too little). My goals had changed from just losing weight to becoming stronger.
I knew I was in a healthy weight range but I also knew I was not feeling healthy; there were days when I would feel too tired, I could not do much of strength training. As usual I did my research did lots of reading but I think I needed somebody to point out my mistakes which were actually related to overdoing everything.
I was looking for somebody I could trust to guide me in the correct direction, somebody who understood where I came from and listened to my fitness goals. I was not looking for a trainer only to push me to workout harder instead I was looking for somebody to tell me to work hard in a different direction 

Michelle – my personal trainer
When I first started thinking about working out with a personal trainer, I looked at all the personal trainers in my gym and decided to narrow down to Michelle randomly. Michelle is certified, is a boxing instructor and she also conducts classes in my gym for me she sounded perfect. I had still not made my decision, I wanted to talk to her and then decide. My first consultation with her was great. Trust me I was worried about meeting somebody so fit, I was worried about her judging me and telling me how unhealthy I was but she was very sweet, the first time she just let me speak, she heard me out, heard my goals understood my worries and that’s when I decided my training sessions with Michelle would be good. We also did a test workout session before we started my actual sessions.
If you want to know more about Michelle –

My sessions
Working out with a personal trainer was not in my budget, luckily for me Michelle came up with a solution instead of 1 hour workouts we did only 30 minutes workouts. I did my own warm up and cool down and promised her I would put in maximum effort for the 30 minutes that we worked out.  So I did 5 sessions, 1 per week for 30 minutes and trust me those 30 minutes made a difference. (More details on this in coming up posts)

My food
The first time I was talking to Michelle she asked me to show her my food log and I was embarrassed because at that point I realised I was eating less, even though I had stopped junk food and most unhealthy things I knew I was not eating enough, especially since I was working out a lot. She made a food plan and slowly increased my calories intake every two weeks. This was more difficult for me than any exercise we ever did. Never in my wildest imagination did I think eating more would be a problem for me. We increased my calorie intake mostly by increasing my protein % in my meals.  (More on this in another post)

30 minutes every tuesday for 5 weeks + increasing my calorie count and focusing on macro nutrients
total loss - 11.2 cm
chest - 2 cms
biceps - 1.5 cm
waist - nothing (thank god!!!, I was hoping for no loss here)
hips - 2.5 cms
thighs - 3.7 cms
I was surprised especially because I had increased my food intake I was worried I would disappoint Michelle and myself at the end of 5 weeks so this loss of inches was a pleasant. The other very important thing was my strength increasing, I was noticeably less tired during the day, I have increased the amount of weight I carry and I can keep up little more with my body pump class, I feel more confident when I enter my class or the weight section now.
(I continued to do my regular workouts along with these PT sessions)

What did I learn?
1.       Importance of getting your calorie count right (not too less not too much)
2.       Focusing on my macro nutrients (Now I look at the ratio of protein/carbs/fat along with my calorie count), make sure I eat more protein (40%-30%-30%)
3.       I can do more weights, if I can manage 8 reps of a heavier weight that is better than 15 reps of lower weight and over time I am able to increase my 8 reps to 10/12
4.      Complete body workout (cardio/weights/squats/burpees/jumping lunges/cool down)
5.      Importance of sticking to the correct rest period between intervals. I would never measure this sometime it would be more than a minute but when I started working out with Michelle she measured my rest period, this make the workouts more intense. 

I’m hoping to work on a few posts with Michelle to share with all of you a few important things we discussed during my sessions.
Keep Reading I will Keep Writing 

Wednesday, 24 July 2013

Interval training

I think interval training is great, every time I do interval training I can literally feel myself pushing my limits. It’s something I started when I was stuck in one of my many weight loss plateaus. Once I started it has always been a regular part of my workouts.
I’m listing a few things I discovered over time hope you find them useful
What is interval training?
Interval training is working out in intervals, meaning you divide your workout into alternating intervals of high intensity and low intensity.In other words you push yourself as much as you can for one interval and followed by stabilizing your breathing/heart rate in the next interval
Usually intervals are very short; I stick to a maximum of 1 minute and a minimum of 30 seconds this is because my high intensity is usually manageable only for 1 minute, that’s how I decide my intensity. Anything that I can comfortably do for more than 1 minute is not intense enough for me.I have seen people (a lot fitter than me) do shorter intervals of 10-15 seconds with 30 seconds rest but their intervals are a lot more intense than mine and I’m working towards that.
Can everybody do interval training?
When I started interval training for the first time I had just started getting used to jogging continuous for about 15 minutes (that was a long way from where I started which was barely few seconds) so I started intervals of walking and jogging at a little higher speed as I become more fit I changed my intervals to jogging and sprinting. Basically whatever your fitness level you can create your own intervals. You can switch between walking and jogging,walking and increasing incline, walking and sprinting or jogging and sprinting
The best thing about interval training is it depends completely on you, you decide what is high for you and how long you want your intervals to be. For example there are some people in my gym whose high intensity is too high for me and mine might be very easy for them but it works for me, during my high intensity I know I’m putting in my maximum effort which is all that matters.
Is it really more effective?
I have read a lot of about how and why interval training is more effective, from a personal experience I can definitely say it is very effective in terms of increasing stamina, speed and it is definitely more taxing than training at regular pace.
If I train at my regular pace I can comfortably manage an hour but with interval training 30 minutes (including my warm-up and cool down) is all I can manage after which I’m done.
How often do I do interval training?
I have personally noticed I can’t do the same interval training on two consecutive days, I might do sprint intervals on the first day followed by bike intervals (spin) the next day but I have not been able to do two consecutive days of sprint intervals. My spin intervals are usually easier than my sprints. I try and stick to 2 days of sprints and 2 days of spin.
Just because it can be done in shorter time does not mean you do it every day because then you are surely at a risk of injury. I think it is best to listen to your body, push yourself just the right amount, don’t overdo it. For some alternate days might work while others might be comfortable sticking to 1 day a week, whatever works.
Some of my regular intervals
2 min warm up – 3 min jog at base speed – [1 min alternate intervals of walking and sprinting ]* 20 minutes-3 minutes jog at base speed – 2 min cool down
2 min warm up – 3 min jog at base speed – [1 min sprint (slower than when my rest interval is a walk) 1 min jog at base speed]*20 - 3 min jog at base speed – 2 min cool down
Sometimes I include incline
2 min warm up – 3 minutes jog at base speed – [1 minutes incline (no holding the bar – that reduces the effort) 1 minute walk or jog]*20 - 3 min jog at base speed- 2 min cool down
Sometimes I play around to include both sprints and inclines, sometimes I change my machines by doing 10 minute intervals on each of the different cardio machines - treadmill, elleptical and stair master
Which machines do I use for interval training?
Anything that can get my heart rate up, I do similar intervals on elliptical, stair master, bike and even skipping rope and sometime I do it without any of the machines outside in the park :)
1 Misconception I had
When I started jogging I was focused on increasing the time I ran for, so when I first started I was always worried my stamina for running for a longer time would go down because I was going to run only for short intervals but trust me I was completely wrong, not only did my stamina increase but my speed also increased considerably because of interval training, my current base speed used to my sprinting speed...
what do you think? do you enjoy interval training as much as I do? I would love to hear about your intervals
(hope you found this useful)
Keep Reading I will Keep Writing 

Tuesday, 23 July 2013

Check out my new page :)

I want to push myself a little more, become a little more disciplined so I have decided to share my workout and food plans with all of you for the next few weeks, if you are interested in seeing what I eat or  my workout on daily basis use the 'My Fitness Plan' tab on top
I'm hoping by noting things on the blog I will become more aware of my shortcomings :) and it will help me understand what effects my workout intensity and food intake.
Hopefully this will help  me improve my plans and become better.

Keep Reading I will Keep Writing 

Friday, 19 July 2013

Fun Friday (This is how my weekend looks)

I love the sun and I love my weekend walks, hope you all have a wonderful weekend !!!
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Thursday, 18 July 2013

My Barbell exercises

This is one of my most recent workout plans, I do this at home with a barbell and adjustable weights (I use 10 kgs). This is one of my short but very effective workout plans, because the weights used are not too heavy I keep my rest period between intervals short, usually stick to 30 seconds after every interval
(As usual the exercises have links for you to get an idea of the form)
Equipment : Barbell with adjustable weights

Warm up (climb stairs for about 5 minutes or do some squats/lunges/kicks with no weights)
Repeat interval 5 times
  • Stretch  after all repetitions  
I usually time myself so I don't get carried away and take more rest in between sets, On a good day I try and stick to a little over 30 minutes (interval + stretch)
I would  like to point out I'm no fitness expert these are things I learnt along the way of my weight loss journey by surfing the internet and going for fitness classes.
As usual let me know how you liked these exercises? Do you have any more exercises that I could add to this list?
Keep Reading I will Keep Writing 

Monday, 15 July 2013

Fitness Buddy

When I first started I was a fitness buddy addict I needed company to enter the gym or go jogging around university, mostly I needed company because of the fear of being made fun off. A lot of fitness magazines and articles suggest having a fitness buddy is a great way of sticking to your workout plan somehow that’s not how I felt, most of the times because I was depending on somebody else for going to the gym I was letting somebody else control my workout plan.
The main reason for me to overcome my fear of going alone to the gym was because I wanted to be able to control my workouts, I wanted to decide when I wanted to go, what exercise I wanted to do and for how long, I did not want to feel rushed because my friend had to leave early or skip a workout because my fitness buddy is sick.Don't get me wrong I think it’s nice to have a fitness buddy but it’s better when you can motivate yourself rather than depend on somebody else to motivate you to get to the gym.
These days T is my fitness buddy but we have our own plans, there are days when I go on my own, I do my own routine, sometimes I have longer workouts planned so he joins me later, he prefers weights to jogging outside so I usually jog on my own and he does his own stuff but at the same time if one of us is not in the mood to workout we manage to make sure to drag the other along (only excuse that is allowed is falling sick) but it is never the other way.
Things to keep in mind when you plan your workouts with a friend

  1. Make individual plans: make your own plan, decide your workout time depending on what best suits you,depening on your fitness goals and other priorities. if you are a morning person and prefer finishing your workouts in the mornings don’t agree to working out after work, because most of the times you will not be motivated enough. Sometimes it’s ok to adjust but your entire plan should not be a compromise.
  2. Set your own fitness goals: don’t set common fitness goals, because everybody has a different fitness levels and different motivation to get into their fitness journey, you might want to run a marathon where as your fitness buddy might want to get into body building .
  3. Exercise when you are supposed to: I have noticed this in the gym when people walk in with friends they spend a lot of their time talking, laughing and just hanging around the gym...sometimes you get carried away while talking and don’t realise that you have worked out only 30 minutes in your 1 hour workout plan. Even if you have a fitness buddy working out with you make sure you are serious and don’t waste even a minute from your workout time, you can always hangout after your workout but not during,
  4. Push each other ahead don’t pull each other down: If your friend is bored to go to the gym...does not mean you are bored means you have to drag your friend out or go on your own. Or just because you run at a slower speed does not mean your friend has to join you at your speed it means you have to increase your speed to catch up...
I prefer planning my own workouts, sometimes I do workout with a friend but that is always in addition to my usual workout plan, I love working out with friends who push me, we do plank competitions or just see who can run longer, I enjoy the healthy competition sometimes but at the end of the day my workout plans depend only on me, my schedule, my goals and my fitness levels.
What you think? Do you workout with a friend or do you prefer working out on your own?

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Thursday, 11 July 2013

To my inner voice (the negative thoughts..)

Every night I lay awake
In my heart a promise I make
I promised to walk away
Never hear a word you say

Every step towards a new light
For me it was a tough fight
I promised to stay on track
but you keep trying to drag me back

Every time I try to hide from you
focusing on only what is true
I promise to not let you haunt
but you are always back with a taunt

Every time I feel I have moved on
looking forward to a new dawn
I promise to ignore my inner voice
somehow you never give me a choice

I want you to know
I need to let go
you were my past
Someone who did not last
I have worked hard for a new me
A happier life I can to see
I want you to leave
because with you new dreams I can't achieve
This is me telling myself I need to let go of the negative thoughts, my negative inner voice that keeps pulling me back. I'm not sure how many go through this but even now after losing weight it is sometimes (most of the times) very difficult for me to believe the fact that I'm not fat or overweight and it does get in the way of things, I don't stop working out or eating healthy but my mood does change and the way I behave changes.I hate being so negative so I'm currently work in progress because even though I have family and friends who love me and support me , I feel I'm the only person who can get me away from these thoughts.
Do ever feel this way? what do you do?as usual I would love to know :)
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Tuesday, 9 July 2013

Level 2 for your Core

I have already covered basic exercises for core, in this post I'm listing a few tweaks that you can add to your basic forms to make the same exercise a little more challenging. You can read more about the basic forms (here)

plank with weights
plank with jumping jacks
plank with raised leg and arm
Spiderman plank (make this more difficult by adding a push up)

Side plank
Side plank with curl
Side plank with weights
plank walk

Burpee with spiderman plank/push up

Regular crunch with dumbbells
Bicycle curnch with dumbbells

I would  like to point out I'm no fitness expert these are things I learnt along the way of my weight loss journey by surfing the internet and going for fitness classes.
Let me know how you liked these exercises? Did you find them useful?
Keep Reading I will Keep Writing 

Friday, 5 July 2013


Somewhere in your Weight loss journey you will come across plateaus, a time when everything stands still. I’m sure most of us who have been on this journey or who are currently on this journey have been through a time when the scales just don’t budge a time when you are doing everything right but suddenly stop losing weight, it is very frustrating and sometimes it can also be very discouraging. Here’s what I did whenever I was stuck in one of my many plateaus.

Make sure it is a plateau:
Just because your scales have stopped showing a change does not mean it is a plateau, it could mean many things so before you come to any conclusion check the following:
Are bad habits creeping in?
Sometimes unknowingly bad habits creep into our life, one bite here, one day less at the gym... you might not even realise these small things but they make a difference. Every small good habit counts
Are you making assumptions?
Sometimes you think you are eating right but the calories keep adding up so it is very important to know what you are eating and how much you are eating, instead of just assuming you are eating the correct amount why not do some research or use one of the food apps or talk to an expert just to make sure you are on the right track.

Doing everything right – then why plateau?
The weight comes off at different rate
For me personally when I started my weight loss I was losing weight at a faster rate, every week I would lose a few pounds for sure but as I continued I started losing less, that’s because my body needed to lose less overtime.
So when I weighed around 200 pounds I lost faster than when I weighed 150 pounds because at 200 pounds I had lose over 70 pounds and at 150 pounds I had to lose less than 20 pounds...
Body gets used to exercise and food
When I started my weight loss my body was not used to exercising or eating healthy, initially just eating one healthy meal and a walk was enough for me to lose weight but then my body got stronger, walking was easy I needed to do more. I also needed to revisit my eating habits and add one more healthy meal to see more changes.

So how do I handle plateaus?
Switch things up
Exercise:  If I jog for my cardio I change it to climbing stairs or I switch to climbing hills..even these small changes help me.
Add intensity: sometimes I increase weights, other times I use lower weights but higher repetitions, when I’m jogging I reduce the time but increase my speed...such things usually help me.
Calorie intake: this is something I have read about not really tried it very often, but you can also switch your calories by increasing your calorie intake one day and reducing it the next (so that you are still within your range for the week). I do switch up things I eat while still sticking to my calorie count...
Don’t give up
I know it is very frustrating to stop losing weight but I just don’t give up that easily, no way will a plateau take me away from my fitness goal, For me it a challenge or a good obstacle that I need to pass before I reach my goal. I call it a good obstacle because to me a plateau is another sign telling me I’m becoming better and getting closer...

Keep Reading I will Keep Writing