This is going to sound really showbiz, but a month ago I started personal training sessions and I think I’m ready to let you know how I’m getting on.
I’ve been a casual runner for about 10 years, going out 2-3 times a week when I’m at my keenest for runs usually between 5-10k, depending on the time and energy I have spare.
The thing is I just wanted a bit more. I wanted a project, to be pushed and to do something for myself that would have visible benefits. Running makes me feel good but it hasn’t toned me up, and at 40 after two children I reckon I need a bit of help in that department.
To give you a bit of context a 5k run takes me about 32 minutes on a good day, so I’m not super fast or competitive but I do find it has so many benefits. Running for me gives me headspace, stress relief and time out. It’s time just for me where I can put some music on, switch off and zone out.
I started thinking about personal training on a day out with friends when one – Kerri-Ann – really sold the idea to me. It’s one thing working out at home, but with a trainer you can always go that bit further and guarantee results.
She convinced me that the cost of personal training was an investment, but a worthwhile one if you wanted to find an exercise plan that works.
Now Kerri-Ann looks amazing and is a really good advert for personal training, so I started looking into it that week. I was ready for a challenge, to learn something new and to do something to cheer myself up!
I found Sabine from Sabine Fitness through a google search and from looking at a few different trainers thought she looked like a good fit for me. Sabine works from a flat in Ilkley which she has converted into a fitness studio. This means there are no additional gym membership fees, and it feels more like I’m popping to a friend’s house rather than heading to the gym.
I haven’t been in a gym for years – I used to go when I was in my early 20s, do a session after work and then light up a Marlborough Light on the drive home. Later I’d have a few glasses of wine, just to cement all that good work I’d done in the step or Pilates class!
Obviously my lifestyle and attitude is very different now, I haven’t smoked in more than ten years and I know what needs to be done to stay slim. I’ve been on more diets than I care to mention but know what works. For me
it’s not snacking between meals, cutting down on wine and treats. Not always achievable but at least it’s not rocket science.
So far I’ve had five personal training sessions and I can really feel the difference.
Sabine is based in a flat in Ilkley, West Yorkshire, which she has converted into a fitness studio. It means it’s a much more informal and private space than a gym, and more like training in someone’s home.
She holds small classes in one room, which is equipped with mats, steps, mirrors and a high bar on one wall with resistance bands attached, for pull-ups and support with lunges and other toning exercises.
Sabine can use the bar to pull herself up as you can see on the photo, and assures me that one day I’ll be able to do that too. Talk about goals! At the moment, my arms are so weak if I hold onto the bar there is no way on earth I can lift my body weight above it.
The thing about having a trainer with you though is that she can tell you that one day you will, and explain how you will get there. It’s motivation, support and expert advice all rolled into one!
Our sessions have been focused on whole body toning and increasing my core strength. As my cardio fitness is quite good, I want to do exercises which will help my running and also balance my workouts out, by using the muscles which running doesn’t touch.
Sabine has written a programme for me which she follows, but each week she adds in slightly different exercises and pushes me that little bit more. We have talked a lot about posture, about how my muscles work and what I need to do to improve the bits I don’t like (enter upper arms and tummy!).
I thought I’d ask Sabine what my typical hour-long session includes as she would be better at explaining it than me!
She said: “My sessions are all tailored to your body, so after an assessment of your posture I know how best to move you.
“With Julia I start with a warm-up, dynamic stretching, and a warm-up on the fitball to get the spine moving.
“Then we do strengthening exercises using weights and resistance bands, which use your own body weight to tone up and then my machine which is called the gravity total gym machine.
“We also use weights, bar bells and wobble boards to give a full body workout in each session.”
Now you may be asking have I seen a difference? Well the answer is yes, I have and not only can I see a difference I can feel it too. My posture has definitely improved, my core muscles feel much stronger and tighter, and my running is easier. Working out my whole body feels a bit like I’m tightening up the strings to make me stronger on my 5k runs too, if that makes sense.
I’ve signed up for 10 sessions and at the moment can see myself continuing with at least another 10. I’m really loving making that weekly date for myself, an hour for me where someone else is focused on what I’m doing and trying to improve me in some way. Left to my own devices, working out might slip by in my busy life but with a weekly Sabine session there is no putting it off! It’s more than wanting to tone up; it’s about focusing on me, taking some control and making a positive difference to my life. As a single parent there is not much time or headspace for me time, so it’s important to me that I do things like this for my own sanity.
As for the cost, it is more expensive that doing a free workout on YouTube of course, but it’s something that I think is worth investing in. The benefit of training with Sabine is there are no extra gym membership charges, it’s at a time convenient to me and it’s flexible. To get that one-on-one attention you have to pay, but if it’s something you want then I think it’s worth the money.
I pay £25 per session (as I paid for a block of 10) and know I’ll continue when this block is up. Sabine also runs smaller classes and offers you the chance to share your session with a friend if you’d like to reduce the cost.
I kind of wish I’d taken some measurements before I started, but I had deliberately stopped weighing myself every day a while back and decided to go on how I felt in my clothes and in myself.
I have had far fewer ‘fat days’, have felt more toned, stronger and even slightly lighter. Confirmed by a reluctant step on the scales this morning to see I am a few pounds lighter. So the overall effect of these sessions is positive, and shows me what I could do with my fitness if I kept on going.
In future sessions I’d like to work in some boxing (something I’ve always wanted to try), and manage to pull myself up on that bar!
How long do you give me?!