It doesn’t matter if you go to the fanciest gym in town, if you don’t have a plan and someone there to push you, then you’re not going to make the most out of each workout.
But on the other hand not everyone can afford to do private sessions with a personal trainer. There is now a middle ground that combines the commanding voice of a professional with the flexibility to work out with friends. The Personal Trainer gym seems like a relatively new phenomenon – essentially you do a condensed workout of 45 minutes with a PT in a small group. More cost effective than one-on-ones but with enough rigour to give you a workout that will yield results. My Pay as u Gym membership has given me access to several PT gyms. My favourite is More Fit Cannon Street.
Today I worked out with Ali and Leila Dewji of I AM Self Publishing – Leila is into running, Ali is into weights, I am into cycling, swimming, HIIT and KFC. Our personal trainer was Katarina who trained as a gymnast in her native Slovakia, our session entitled ‘Full Body Conditioner’. After several minutes on a spinning cycle and then some stretches, our workout consisted of three sets of three/four different exercises that indeed tested the entire body. The first set was about kettlebells – swings, snatches and squats. The benefit of doing three sets of the same exercises with 1 minute rest periods between sets is that your endurance is tested as much as your strength. There is no law of diminishing returns at this level, each set increasingly tests the key muscle groups – in this instance primarily the quads, glutes, hamstrings.
The next set consisted of dumbbell exercises including a single-arm snatch, rows in the press up position and a pseudo clean and jerk. The middle set is like the middle child: full of angst. Despite the sweat dripping from my extended forehead, I wasn’t pushing myself that hard so as not to have a mid-session blowout. Ali, on the other hand, was working on arranging a variety of different dumbbells across the floor like it was Christmas and he had got a Lego set. Some serious power. But with power comes responsibility – the responsibility to put all the weights back at the end of the workout. I was happy with my 9s and 6s.
Inevitably the final set was the killer because it used the greatest weight of all – bodyweight. I haven’t weighed myself in a while but I expect I’m around 85kg. My target weight is 75kg. My BMI weight is supposed to be 70kg, but I don’t want to be that light. So I’m heavier than I should be and this is evidenced when I have to do exercises like – what I call – the drunk man’s crawl, you know you fall down on your hands, walk them forwards, do a press up, then walk your hands back up. Useful training for when you’re wasted. The final set also included the dreaded plank. I wimped out early a couple of times, while Leila planked like a pro. Whatevs.
You know you’ve had a good workout when the faucet on your forehead keeps running. The sweating continued into the showers and breakfast afterwards, but not as long as Ali, the photo below not quite capturing the extent of his sweattage.
Gyms are in a renaissance as thirtysomethings like me realise that we’re going to die someday so we might as well have good guns, but the real growth needs to be in places that will ensure that users get results. Places like More Fit Cannon Street. I look forward to my ‘Full Body Conditioner’ next week.