First month of serious training-The good, the not so good and the unusual.
My training is so different now that I am mostly based in Munich, I am structuring my own day so I have been able to really up my volume and have been getting some great results in the gym and on the bike. Swim and run are getting there slowly but surely.
The good– I have 4 key lifts that I monitor my weights on in terms of strength development, back squat, deadlift, bench press and pendlay row. My new coach programs in testing for me and also testing sets so I am more up to date on improvements, which is working really well. I have hit 3 reps for what was previously my 1 rep max on ¾ of these exercises so I am really looking forward to next full testing to see if I can hit some PBs.
The not so good– I have never had to contend with weather for such prolonged periods! Seriously, it snows in England and you might get a day or 2 where you don’t want to train out side. Here I am lucky to get 2 days a week it is suitable to cycle and run outside between the snow and cold. My turbo trainer is getting a lot of use (probably why my bike stats are getting so much better!) running however is hard work. I don’t like treadmill running so psychologically it is tough to make myself go and do (and freakishly hot in the non-aircon gym) but needs must going forward until the spring comes.
19 weeks to go now so no excuses!
The unusual– I have been working in fitness for around 12 years now, I have worked and trained in loads of gyms and find the setting very natural and comfortable now for the most part. However, stepping into my local swimming pool in Munich was so far outside my comfort zone.
I don’t know what all the signs mean, I can’t work out how to use the lockers (I still can’t work this out and have yet to actually lock my things away), I got lost on the way to the pool and then could only find the men’s toilets. Oh and have I mentioned it’s a massive communal changing room so half of this I was doing in just my swimming costume and wandering about?
Now it’s a beautiful old pool, super local to where I live and really quiet in the day so its not all bad. After a few weeks I have worked it out a little…well I think I have, honestly, I could still be getting it wrong but I manage to get in the pool and get a session done so that’s all I need right now!
More fitting for context of this blog is that this experience really made me think;
The difficulty I was having for the first few weeks is exactly how people feel when then come into new classes, gyms or personal training for the first time. We as trainers talk in language they don’t understand, they don’t know which way to go or what to do when they get there. They don’t know how it is going to feel and that is scary! I can totally see why people keep trying to start getting fit and don’t commit to joining anywhere (or go back to something they already tried and didn’t stick to-because it’s comfortable even if not working), because if every new gym or place you go to gives you that fear and uncertainty it is natural to want to run away.
There are 2 takeaways here:
It takes time to get past the “new things nerves” and to adapt to change and learn if you like something. Making an instant decision, especially if you have been nervous to go initially as this will heavily influence your opinion overall, can often stop you from seeing the potential good points. Much like me at the pool, when I first arrived all I could feel was the fear of the fact I could possibly be accidentally getting changed in the mens changing room! Even when I got home and started planning my sessions in for the week I got nervous about going back and looked for other options. Convincing myself that it was the most convenient options and I needed to try again was the best decision I could have made. Now when I go I notice the good points. I like the paintwork and the architecture, I like that the staff now know that I am trying to talk German and humor me before replying in English! So if you have decided to you want to do something or go somewhere new, remember that change is often scary and keeping in mind why you wanted to do it in the first place is massively important until you settle into a rhythm with it. If you still don’t like it, then that is when to adapt and change what you are doing. Don’t let fear detract from why you started!
Second point here is that I really believe that we have a responsibility as an industry to remove this barrier and the fear around starting something new for people. This is something we are working really hard on within the Strive Fitness Team and I hope that we are starting to combat.
I often read of people’s experiences within gyms and classes or over hear how personal trainers talk to new people and I can 100% see why people think fitness is an unapproachable industry.
If you are a personal trainer reading this your words matter, as does your delivery of those words. I know over the course of my career I have definitely got this wrong and can think of a few times I would go back and change how I approached a situation. That is part of the learning progress and I am sure the other trainers will agree, we are all human and sometimes we get things wrong!
But being mindful that what you say especially to someone just starting their journey can be the difference between them achieving health and fitness or not. Between them coming back or paying for a years membership that never gets used. Taking the courage to ask you for help might be the one time they are brave enough, treat it that with care and respect and you can’t go too far wrong.
“Don’t shrink, don’t puff up, just stand your sacred ground” -Brené Brown