Another String To My Bow
On Sunday 2nd November I passed my level 3 Personal Trainer qualification (Programming and Coaching with Future Fit training). I owe a great deal of my success to Steph, my brother’s girlfriend, who kindly volunteered herself to be my ‘guinea-pig’. I produced a 12-week programme for her and she completed the first 6 weeks prior to the assessment. On Sunday, I coached her through a practical session for the assessment, as well as having the programme/portfolio marked, too.
Rewind 7 weeks, I attended the workshop weekend and was taught how to estimate body fat percentages (tape measure and calipers), conduct a fitness assessment (VO2 max, flexibility, strength…) and how to produce a structured, progressive 12-week programme. Much of what we learnt over the e-learning lessons was put into practice too, especially how to conduct sessions away from the gym with little equipment. It was also a chance to meet other budding personal trainers (one of which lives in Samoëns, just down the road from Les Gets – small world!).
Being a bit of a ‘miss goody two-shoes’, I wanted the assessment and programme to be as authentic as possible. Firstly, because I am too honest and really struggle to ‘blag and wing’ things (frustratingly!) and secondly, if I am going to be doing this for a living, I’d like to get as much practice in as possible. I also wanted to give Steph, who actually wants to get fitter, some decent advice. Inevitably, trying to produce a programme specific to her needs and to meet the criteria was a slight challenge and I ended up in, what some would say, a bit of a pickle! I over-complicated the programme and got very frustrated with the whole thing. It took a phone call to the support team, starting over and some helpful guidance from guys at work before the final, successful, programme was produced.
The initial 4 week programme got Steph back into a routine of exercising. Cardio sessions involved training consistently for 30-60mins on a machine of her choice 3-5 times a week. The resistance sessions were to be completed 3 times a week and involved a balanced circuit for her upper body, focused on all muscle groups and for the lower body I had her doing compound, multi-joint, exercises. For the following 4 weeks, I introduced Fartlek training (increasing the intensity for desired periods of time) into Steph’s programme to get her used to running at higher intensities. I split the resistance sessions into lower and upper body to allow Steph to work harder on all muscle groups and complete more sessions (when one group were resting on one day, she could work on the others the next day – a common practice). The lower body exercises became more specific to running, recruiting more muscles with squats, single leg deadlifts and lunges. For the upper body, the focus of the exercises was to improve her press-ups, but still involving a balanced range of exercises. Using dumbells and less fixed-machines allowed her to recruit more muscles, too. For the final 4 weeks, I progressed her cardio sessions to include interval training and the resistance sessions were focused on lifting heavier and working towards a pull-up. This was a simple, structured programme and I highly recommend doing similar for the assessment. However, there are so many ways of exercising out there, to keep things interesting, and I was trying to make her workouts too diverse and complicated, thinking she would get bored quickly. I was wrong. It does, of course, depend on the person, but most people will take a few weeks before their body adjusts (and their mind) and when workouts need to be changed. KISS – Keep It Simple Sunshine!
Steph did benefit from taking part (phew!); losing centimetres around her hips/waist (she didn’t have much in the first place!) and decreasing her body fat percentage, increasing her press-ups from 5 to 12 and knocking off 4 minutes of her 5km run time. Well done, Steph! I also destroyed her calf muscles, trying to fit in 4 resistance training approaches to meet the criteria, by getting her to do a drop set on calf raises. Sorry! And, I am not sure the treadmill run training was greatly received, especially during the assessment (I had briefed her that it wouldn’t be a full workout, and it wasn’t supposed to be!) as she found herself running quite hard and fast for longer than she had prepared herself for. “How long do I have to keep going for? I want to be able to do the leg session!” Bless her. Thank you very much, Steph!
I will continue to help Steph, as she has requested it (I must have done something right!), and hope to make use of the gym in Nendaz this season, giving advice to instructors and others who would like help with their fitness and training, especially those I will be training on snow, too.
Since passing, cake baking and playing with chocolate appears to have taken up most of my time!
This weekend I visited Sandro and was blessed, yet again, with fantastic weather. A very balanced few days of relaxing at a spa, bouncing around on a trampoline, trying to ski on ice skates and of course, eating – lots! Just a shame about the snotty nose; I think my body has suddenly relaxed after a summer of little rest.
With only 3 weeks left in London until I head back to the snowy mountains (everyone’s ski/snowy photos are making me incredibly jealous) I will try to get as much out of them as I can. FitBrit needs to be tackled for a last time to beat my nemesis (and my previous time for my own satisfaction!), a few more sessions in the weights’ room with other PTs to gain a bit more confidence and be able to tackle it alone, and finally, I have signed up to the Greenwich Park Movember 10km run with the hope of leaving London with proof that my hard work on my own fitness has paid off. My goal is to find that balance again over the next few weeks and begin putting everything I have learnt so far to good use.