The Gym

The gym can be a scary place for some people and stepping foot into a gym can be a big step.
We all have images in our mind of people with big muscles, posing, making grunting noises whilst they push out that last rep.

Some of that does exist, we like to stereotype people.
First thing is we shouldn’t worry what other people are doing, you’ve made a decision to better yourself.
People that go to the gym weren’t born with a dumbbell coming out of the womb, they were once like you.
We all have to start somewhere, maybe one day you will grunt, pose, and make the gym a scary intimidating place for others.

I’ve worked in a gym now for over 7 years, when selling a membership I always say to the prospect you should consider a couple of things.

  • Is it close to where you live or work? Us humans are good at making excuses not to go if you pick a gym that far away. Be serious are you going to leave your house on a cold wet day?
  • Atmosphere… Can you see yourself working out in this environment? This could be various things from music to lighting and energy of the place.

To get a feel for the place, ask the gym if they do a free trial, most gyms will happily let you try out their facilities in the hope of getting your sale.
If the gym doesn’t do a free trial there are many platforms out there that get you access to venues in your area like MoveGB, Hussle, when joining these platforms do read the small print.

Once you have picked your gym and brought your membership don’t be afraid to ask for help.
All gyms should offer you an induction and some will offer you regular program reviews, make sure you are asking these questions when signing up.
An induction with gyms will vary, some gym will just show you how to use the equipment and then leave you to your own devices.
Other gyms will write you a program to follow, and explain what a repetition, what a set is and how this will help you on your fitness journey.

I finish this post with my first experience in a gym, I hadn’t a clue what I was doing, I didn’t ask for help.
I watched people and learned from watching people exercise.
To make people think I was lifting heavier on the resistance machines after I finished my sets, I would move the pin a couple of stacks down.
I didn’t want people to think that I was weak and a part of me liked seeing the next person go on the machine having to move the pin back up ‘cause they couldn’t lift my weight. 🙂

Night cramps

The other night I received a very painful cramp in my calf if you ever had night cramps you know that are painful and can keep you awake from your slumber.
The next 24hrs I found it hard to put any pressure on that leg and found my calf muscle to be very stiff.
So I decided to do a little research on night cramps, see if there is anything that I could do to help.

There is no real reason to why we get them, there are many theories which include overuse of the muscle, dehydration, ageing, muscle strain, lack of magnesium and potassium.
Cramps could be underlying to other medical conditions for example diabetes, or nerve, liver or thyroid disorders.
For the ladies that may be reading this post, it could be a sign that you are with a child has leg cramps can occur during pregnancy.

If you do suffer from cramps on a regular basis, or if they last longer than 10 minutes or if they keep you from sleeping at night to seek medical advice.

Things that we can do to help reduce the chances of leg cramps during the night:

  1. Avoid dehydration drink plenty of fluids throughout the day.
    Fluids help your muscle contract and relax and keep the muscle cells hydrated and less irritable.
  2. Stretch your muscle.
    Stretch before and after you use any muscle for an extended period.
    If you tend to have leg cramps at night, stretch before bedtime.

    If you get a cramp in your leg things to do to relieve the pain:

  1. Stretch and massage.
     Stretch the cramped muscle and gently rub it to help it relax.
    For a calf cramp, put your weight on your cramped leg and bend your knee slightly.
    If you’re unable to stand, sit on the floor or in a chair with your affected leg extended.
    Try pulling the top of your foot on the affected side toward your head while your leg remains in a straightened position.
    This will also help ease a back thigh (hamstring) cramp.
  2. Apply heat or cold.
     Use a warm towel or heating pad on tense or tight muscles.
    Taking a warm bath or directing the stream of a hot shower onto the cramped muscle also can help.
    Alternatively, massaging the cramped muscle with ice may relieve pain.

    The other day when I suffered from my leg cramp I felt that I couldn’t work out on it, but I did keep on moving, I don’t want to stiffen up so going for a walk helped ease the pain for me.

  3. Please feel free to comment below with your thoughts.

  4. Today- Joseph Richard Tanner

Should you train with a cold???

It is that time of year when the common cold hits and it feels like everyone we know got a cold.
Luckily I have dodged a cold this year so far, I have now cursed myself.

I have been asked over the years many times should I work out when I have a cold?
My answer is simple, I’m not a doctor, how do you feel?
There is a common rule to the cold, and that is above the neck rule; if your symptoms include a runny nose, dry cough, or sneezing you should be fine to exercise.
At the same time please consider people around you, nobody wants your cold, maybe take this time to let your body rest.
Don’t exercise if you have a fever, fatigue, or widespread muscle aches

I’m sure we’ve heard all the myth about sweating out a cold, the idea of using heat/ exercise makes a cold go away faster.
Sweating out a cold may provide temporary symptom relief, it does not shorten the time that you’re sick.

If you do decide to work out with a cold, reduce the intensity and length of your workout, let your body guide you.
If you attempt to exercise at your normal intensity you could risk injury or further illness if you’re suffering from more than a cold.

If you have taken a break from training due to illness, don’t assume that you can get right back to where you were, so if you’re not pulling the numbers that you usually do, don’t push yourself, you will get back to where you were with time and patience.
A cold is just a minor setback from our training, it’s better than having to recover from a full-blown injury.

Personally, myself having a heart condition, I take a step away from training, I know my body and I don’t want to put the extra strain on the hardest working muscle in my body, which is the heart if you didn’t know.
Did you know that even when you feel better/ feel fully recovered it can an take up to 5 days for your body to be fully recovered, so I don’t rush back to training.

I learned the hard way, I had a cardiac arrest at Hastings Half Marathon in 2008.
The week half of the half marathon I was suffering from a cold, at the time I didn’t know I had a heart condition.
I feel that is one of the reasons I had my cardiac arrest I put too much strain on my heart.

I will train clients if they have a cold, throughout the session, I will ask how you are feeling, this is to remind you to be thinking about your body and what your feeling, there is no failure in knowing your body.

Nutrition & Personal Training

A personal trainer is not a nutritionist, and if a trainer is making you food plans ask to see their credentials.

My relationship with food is a mixed relationship, I am very lucky that I have a partner that does most of the cooking, he loves cooking fresh food.

When I was single I had a poor diet which would mostly consist of processed food, partly due to being lazy, after work I was unable to find the energy to cook for myself.
I think also being single and this is an excuse when looking for recipes always for 4 or more people, nothing is aimed at one person.
I know I could have frozen the meals but like I said it’s just an excuse.

We all make excuses for our poor diet choices, though for some it’s not an excuse we just don’t know any different.
My processed food diet came from my parents they rarely cooked fresh food, so a part of me didn’t know any better, though there comes a point that you have to take responsibilities for your choices.

So can Personal Trainers give nutritional advice?
Yes, a Personal Trainer can give you nutritional advice, they should be able to give you the advice to support your training goals/needs.
If you are not achieving the goals you set yourself, the trainer may ask you to make a food diary.
Doing a food diary is good for you and the trainer to get a good idea of your relationship with food.

If you’re asked to do a food diary don’t lie, the only person you will be cheating is yourself.
The trainer won’t slap your wrist if you eat what is considered bad foods, we’re only human, the trainer might make suggestions for reducing certain foods, replacing them with healthier options.
The diary might give you an insight into when you eat, why you eat what you eat, moods etc it could be an eye-opener.
Small changes to a person diet can sometimes make the world of changes.

For example, I use to drink tea with 2 sugars, I reduced it to 1 and then over time I cut out sugar in my tea completely.
That small change I saw changes in myself, and my tastebuds also changed with this.
Recently I tried tea with sugar and the only word that comes to mind is vile.

If you don’t make any changes to the way you eat don’t expect to achieve the goals you set yourself.
If you have made positive changes to your diet and follow your training program and you’re still not seeing the results you might have to consider seeing a dietitian to look at other possible causes.

Remember you have started this journey for a reason, so don’t throw in the towel, there will be ups and downs.
I’m here with
Today Personal Training to see you through this journey.