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What I Learned From My First Time Training in 9 Months

What I Learned My First Time Training in 9 Months

So… a little secret I’ve been keeping: I started working with a personal trainer again. I had paid for some extra sessions prior to the pandemic, and I had to use them or lose them by the end of the year, and since I’m already at the gym three times a week to teach indoor cycling, I figured, why not?

I really loved my previous trainer, Laila. She pushed me and got me looking and feeling stronger, lifting heavy, incorporating some cardio and core, and just feeling like an athlete again. Unfortunately, she’s not training at my gym anymore. 

I felt like I was cheating on her at first, but I’m cheap and wasn’t trying to lose my money, so I clearly got over that at some point, right?

My new trainer is Brandon. He’s new to my gym, but he’s been training for at least five years. For me, starting with a new trainer is like starting with a new hairstylist for some people. You’re not really sure what to expect or how things are going to work out, so maybe you’re a little nervous to start. That was me. But now that we’ve been training together for a few weeks, I think he can tell when I’m being a wuss or when I can push myself a little harder.


Women doing deadlifts with a HEX bar

Why Should You Hire A Personal Trainer?

Why did a hire a personal trainer instead of just working out on my own? What I was doing on my own wasn’t getting me the results I was seeking, plus, I’m motivated by competition and not letting people down, so having to show up, challenge myself, and do this all while someone else is closely watching? That’s just what I needed! If I’m on my own, am I really going to add an extra 25 pounds to each side of the bar in my squat? Nope. If I’m on my own, am I going to try something new every single workout? Unlikely. This is what’s so great about working with a personal trainer! They challenge you to push yourself beyond what’s comfortable, they know how to help you achieve your goals, and they provide an extra layer of accountability.

Sport and Health Pike and Rose Personal Training

What Have I Learned Since I Started Training Again?

The first thing I learned is that BOY! I AM OUT OF SHAPE! It’s weird because I feel like my cardio, nutrition, and general health are better, but as far as strength training, I am weak af. I got incredibly frustrated during that first session because I felt like I was finding myself out of breath very easily, I couldn’t lift very much compared to how much I was lifting in my last session pre-COVID, and I was beating myself up. Muscle atrophy is real, y’all.

Fortunately, my friends De and Tikima gave me a pep talk afterward and told me that I have to give myself grace – a concept that I’m always encouraging my friends to do, but often forget to do myself. I looked back at what my actual fitness schedule was back when I was training with Laila, and it’s no wonder I was so strong and fit! I was playing volleyball three to four times a week, swimming, running, teaching indoor cycling three times a week, and then training with Laila once a week and training on my own once or twice a week. I was killing it! However, I was also not sleeping well, not eating as well, never seeing #InfluencerJohn, and was incredibly stressed out. 

Now, I’m not playing volleyball (heck no!), swimming (also heck no!), and I don’t have barbells at home to really lift heavy. I live on the second floor of an apartment building, so I am not planning to have my own weight room this year! 

On the plus side, my cardio game is pretty solid. I teach four indoor cycling classes each week, and two of them I teach back-to-back – my Saturday doubleheader. Surprisingly, my upper body hasn’t really lost any muscle mass; in fact, I feel stronger in my upper body than I did back in February! When I bench pressed for the first time since February, I was actually able to hit my personal best since my college volleyball days! A little silver lining. Further, my flexibility is increasing as I continue to regularly practice and teach yoga classes. In some ways, I’m in better shape than I was back in February.

Nonetheless, I desperately want to gain my strength back and work on leaning out over the winter so that I can really crush it by the time spring comes around. In order to do so, there are some areas in which I want to improve when it comes to my personal training sessions.

Shutting Up.

I don’t know what it is, but I seriously cannot shut up when I’m training. Part of it could be that I have very limited human interaction all day, and I’m just happy to interact with someone different finally. The other part is that I’m a perfectionist, and I really want to make sure I’m doing every exercise correctly. I know some people use it as a trick to get more recovery time, but that’s not why I do it, believe it or not. I’m hopeful that, as I become more comfortable with the exercises, I will talk less and just crank out my workout.

Breathing Properly.

What really has been kicking my butt is that I’m not breathing entirely correctly, some of which can be attributed to using a mask to strength train for the first time in my life. Where breathing might’ve come easier before, it’s actually harder to breathe in general, with the added challenge of having an object obstructing my breathing. It’s getting a little better, but it’s still very difficult. Currently, I’m not really going anywhere with my mask besides teaching, and while it took several weeks to adjust, I can now say that I can breathe just fine wearing my mask while teaching now. I noticed it is getting a little easier session-after-session, but it’s still not as easy to breathe and workout as when I’m teaching my indoor cycling classes.

Continue to Challenge Myself.

Yes, it’s hard to jump back into strength training after nine months of doing mostly bodyweight exercises and cardio; however, this isn’t an excuse to not challenge myself. Right now, it’s mostly mental due to the frustration of not being as strong as I was back in February, but I know that I can get even stronger than I was in February if I can get over this mental hurdle.

Trust the Process.

It took time to get strong again, and it’s going to take time to get back there. As long as I keep believing in myself, working hard, and staying consistent, I will hit my goals again.
Reverse Grip Deadlifts

Grant Myself Grace.

As I mentioned, this is often easier said than done, but this is perhaps the most critical step in my training right now. I can’t keep beating myself up and getting angry like I haven’t made it this far through a doggone global pandemic. 
Black yoga teacher

What’s Next?

When it comes to my overall fitness goals, I need to make some other changes, but those I’m already working on, and are much easier for me to hit. I have some exciting news to share with you all, so keep your eyes peeled for my next post!
Have you ever worked out with a personal trainer? If so, why? If not, why not?

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