Making the most of my trainer
Wednesday, April 14, 2010
My trainer gets frustrated sometimes. Occasionally it's the limitations my shoulder put on me, or the issues with my lung function. Usually, though, when he talks to me about what pisses him off, it's clients that refuse to put in the work, whether they refuse to do something he asks during a session or they don't eat properly and do the other exercise he asks them to do when they're not working with him.
It's like they expect the training sessions to be all they need to magically lose weight fast and keep it off, like they can live the lifestyle that got them there in the first place, and yet somehow the pounds will melt off because they pay him money.
Wait, so you're not seeing progress fast enough, so you undo all your hard work? You're not doing the things you're supposed to and you expect good results? It's not your trainer's fault.
I didn't lose this weight by magic. My trainer didn't do my workout for me. While I may not be perfectly disciplined all the time, I'm still working my ass off, and I still take responsibility for when I don't. I know no one else is forcing me to eat how I eat or sleep in when I should be at the gym. Having a trainer doesn't mean I suddenly get to stop working. In fact, I tend to treat it as a job. It's work I have to do to live the life I want.
1. I'm honest with myself and my trainer. When he asks me how I've been eating, it does me no good to lie. My eating doesn't affect him, it just gives him an idea of what's going on with my body. He's not asking how I eat or how I feel or how much cardio I did because he's just insanely curious or he gets paid more if I do what he tells me. It only benefits me to be honest. He can make adjustments to my diet and exercise based on it. "I can't do it" is not honesty. "I'm having pain in my shoulder" is.
2. When he tells me to do things on off days (daily cardio, eating plan), I consider it part of the process of personal training. I'm paying for his expertise, his research and training, and the time he spends coming up with a plan for me. It's not like I'm doing it myself, and he's doing the hardest part: coming up with and adjusting a plan based on my goals and current fitness level. Paying for a car doesn't fill the tank and take it to the mechanic. It gives you the car and the responsibility of maintaining it. And let's face it, I'm paying for a damn Ferrari. I want the fun, I put in the maintenance time.
3. I didn't waste my time or money getting training (and continuing to pay) when I was the type of person to just give up when things got frustrating or hard. It is damn frustrating, especially now, to do all this and not see the changes in size or weight. But I'm not about to give up. There are other benefits that aren't so visible. Last night's session was the first time I was able to go through an intense circuit training session without stopping and gasping after every exercise. While part of it is the sessions, I know a lot of that comes from the dedication on my own time to improve my endurance, pushing my cardio to a higher intensity. It's an achievement for me that I'd never have seen if I just gave up every time things got rough.
4. I signed up for training in the first place when my frustration made me pissed enough at my excuses to do something about my weight, and I've found that's a better use of my anger than impotent flailing and bitching. While I still annoy myself at all the excuses I'm making in other areas of my life (like why the hell I still haven't talked to the hottie at the gym after months, and after he's smiled and waved at me), at least all the frustration at my plateau has a more productive outlet. I have to push myself harder, be more disciplined, be more aggressive. I already enjoy being aggressive, so I might as well put it to good use instead of whining about why I can't and how hard it is and wah wah wah.
5. I don't expect it to be all easy or all fun times and smiles. I absolutely hate cardio. I do it because I have to. I love heavy weights and martial arts, and if all my workouts could consist of just things I liked, it'd be fantastic. If I could lose the excess fat by eating my weight in pizza and sourdough bread, I'd do it. But then if losing weight were easy, no one would be fat, and I wouldn't have that sense of achievement and badassness I get knowing what I've done. I go to work every day and I do cardio every day for the same reason: I have to if I want to get the life and body I imagined for myself.
My trainer told me he'd like to pick and choose only the clients that are willing to put in the time and effort, since the others are just so frustrating and stressful to train. I've come a long way in less than a year when I'm one of those clients, and I'm not about to give that up.