Structure to gym workouts

A really short blog entry this time, but one I feel needs addressed.

I’ve had a busy year running and training for ultra marathons, and as usual at this time of the year I take a short break from running to allow my body to recover, grow stronger, and get ready for the next training blocks leading up to whatever new adventures I plan.

I still like to keep active and fit during this low to non-running period so I have been mixing things up with various outdoor low-impact activities like cycling and enjoying time walking on the beach and also spending time working out in the gym.

During this extra time I have been spending in the gym while doing my own workouts it’s become noticeable to me the number of people in the gym who migrate from machine to machine or the free weights but have no particular focus or direction in their workout. A lot of what I have been seeing is taking up the persons valuable time but providing little to no value from a fitness or health perspective.

If you are reading this and feel like you could use some guidance and structure to your workout I would value the opportunity to work with you.
Maybe this short post will spur you into adding structure and direction to what you do in the gym and help you reach your health and wellness goals.

Why would you choose to work with a Personal Trainer?

How many times have you seen things pop up saying “This is the ONLY workout you ever need” or “Here is the BEST workout/exercise for…”? I see them everywhere and If you are looking for a workout plan or exercise I’m sure you have too. Here are a few of the many reasons that there’s no such thing as the BEST or ONLY exercise you need and why working with a personal trainer can be beneficial.

Safety First
This in my opinion is the number one reason why working with a personal trainer is a good idea.
When you do an exercise you want to get something out of it, and usually by adding external resistance to movements whether it’s using a barbell, dumbbell, a machine or even just body wight. You have to be sure that the exercise is appropriate, that you perform it correctly and with good form. As a personal trainer my number one priority is my clients safety. I see a lot of people working out with the best intentions but in fact they are actually potentially damaging their body using poor function and form.

Possibly you’re not getting as much out of your workouts as you hoped for, or you simply struggle to get to the gym regularly. Maybe you don’t know how to structure a workout.
When you have invested some of your time and money into gym membership or working with a trainer then you are held accountable to yourself for getting the best value out of it.
You probably wouldn’t go to the coffee shop and order a drink then walk away without waiting for your order. This is much the same as paying for a gym membership and not going there.
Working with a personal trainer you get a structured workout to suit your needs at that time. This can make a huge the difference to how you feel about taking the time to exercise and seeing the results.

What do you want to get out of your workouts?
The answer to this is individual to you. Likewise your workout has to be something tailored to fit your needs at that point in time.
As a personal trainer I work with my clients to help them get the best value from their time spent doing their workout. Every exercise I give a client has a purpose.

In life there are many ways to do the same thing, and this goes for your workouts too. However lots of people stick to the same workout routine for weeks, months and even years. Not only do they stop seeing gains, it’s also a really good path to injury.
Functional exercise is something I am an advocate of. There are a lot of things you can do to exercise, but if what you chose isn’t done the way the body is designed to move then it’s counter productive. Everything in the human body is connected and movements at one end of the body can be compromised by even a minor deviation anywhere else in the body. Our modern conveniences and lifestyles promote poor posture. Doing an exercise which may seem “good” could be potentially damaging for one person and ideal for another depending on their individual postural deviations and imbalances. I work with my clients to address this.

When you work the same muscles with the same movement you reach a plateau and stop seeing gains and there’s a good chance you are heading for a muscle imbalance related injury. You have to balance your workout to balance your body. Everyone is an individual with individual needs, strengths, weaknesses, and imbalances. These things all change over time and have to be monitored and addressed. As a personal trainer I work with my clients to ensure they get that balance and a workout to fit their needs.

Other reasons
There are so many more reasons for having a progressive and adaptive workout. Some people have the knowledge and understanding to adapt and progress their workouts, while others may struggle with this. For those that can safely create their workouts, the BEST and ONLY articles I mentioned at the start of this post are a good reference for ideas to switch-up their workouts. For most though they are not optimal, and worst case potentially dangerous.
Would you use a hammer to fit something together with a screw? In a lot of cases yes, it will work, but it’s not the best tool for the job. Exercise and the body are like this too. There are lots of exercises available to us, but choosing the correct one at the correct time for a particular reason is something that doesn’t have a binary answer.

My aim as a personal trainer is to provide my clients with an individually tailored safe and appropriate workout to progress them towards their personal goals. This is something we continue to evolve and adapt over time.
If this sounds like something you need then I’d love to hear from you and discuss your exercise needs.