Helia Fitness women's personal training tool box

Tips From A Personal Trainer’s Tool Box

Ever wondered how your personal trainer looks so cheery at 6 am? Or why every fitness instructor is just as energetic after a hard workout as before they start the class? You may be surprised to learn that it’s not an act. We’re not grinding our teeth together to force a smile, nor have we had too much coffee. The truth is, years of experience have taught us a few tricks. Of particular interest to most women, is the “insider’s report” on how to lose weight. While this article can’t replace the expertise and guidance of having your own personal trainer, having a few insider tips can never hurt.

Make exercise bouts enjoyable.

Parents know that a child’s first experience at the dentist office must be pleasant, on all aspects, otherwise the child will never want to go back. Everything from the waiting room’s ambience, right to the dentist’s chair impacts the child’s memory of what a dentist appointment is like. Similarly, adults need to have positive experiences of working out, so that they will want to return. Since you can’t expect someone to give you a lollipop every time you leave the gym, here are a few ways to ensure you recall working out as something you’d like to do again:

* Treat yourself to a magazine that you can read only when you’re doing your endurance cardio workout – read every article so the magazine lasts at least 2 weeks of workouts!
* Take time to stretch after your workouts – the last thing you do in the gym will be what you remember, so make it something that your body enjoys.
* Reward your adherence with a great new workout top or pair of running shoes – something that you look forward to wearing will get you back in the gym/out on the trails.

Make muscle soreness your friend and sluggishness your enemy.

Because it seems to be against human nature to enjoy feeling sore and fatigued, on the outset this may be why you think your personal trainer is a little too into working out. But understand our rationale: You want to be rewarded for all the hard work you’ve put in. So if you spend an hour exercising, you want to know that your body has become stronger, fitter, and healthier. Your proof? Waking up the next morning and having to use the handrail on the way downstairs. Seriously! It lets you know that you challenged yourself and your body is responding by repairing those sore muscle fibers. In addition, your resting metabolic rate is increased with exercise-induced muscle soreness (Dolezal et al., 2000). After a couple of days, the pain will be gone, but your body will be stronger than ever.

On the flip side, if you are active, your body will let you know when it’s time to get your butt off the couch. That feeling of restlessness (a.k.a. cabin fever) is your body’s exercise alarm clock, telling you that you’ve been inactive for too many days in the row. Once you’ve had a dose of hearty physical activity you will feel refreshed, energetic, and alive again. Learn to associate that sluggish, drowsy feeling with harm being done to your body, and muscle soreness as a reward.

Shovel the good stuff in first.

Think your personal trainer eats like a rabbit? Think again! We love chocolate too. But we know how to enjoy in moderation. To avoid weight gain, or aid healthy weight loss, be sure to consume the nutrient dense, calorie-light foods first. Eating soups and liquids (e.g., light yogurt, minestrone) as an appetizer can lower your overall caloric intake (Rolls, 1998) because it fills you up without the calories. Fibrous foods, such as raw fruits and veggies, should also be consumed first, slowly. This way you have the opportunity to fill up on nutrient-rich, fibrous foods rather than filling up on chocolate cake. Take the time to recognize when you’re full.

Finally, a tip that I can guarantee will help you lose excess weight if you do it after every meal: First, consume meal slow enough to enjoy each bite. Before dessert, place both hands down on edge of table, on either side of plate. Using chest muscles, push chair away from table. Stand up, and walk away.

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