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SOON2BETHIN Posts: 164
9/25/12 10:06 P

Sounds like you have a really great trainer. I found one that I like who challenges me but yours seems to give you so much more information. I have seen great improvements since starting to work with the trainer I have now but I would love to see so much more.

RWROHLIN SparkPoints: (0)
Fitness Minutes: (494)
Posts: 31
9/25/12 5:56 P

Well, I never would have believed it possible. Last week my personal trainer said I had passed "basic training." I now had a choice. I could either move on to "strength training" or do "endurance training." When I asked what he would do given that choice, he chose endurance training (better at burning fat), but he said those workouts wouldn't be as "fun" for me. I am more motivated at this point by appearance and strength training produces more muscle volume. (Strength training, however, produces greater muscle density -- the muscles are packed together more tightly.)

Strength training is high weights, low reps. Endurance training is low weights, high reps, with very little rest between sets.

I weighed in today -- down another 11 lbs. since last month. My body fat percentage dropped under 30% for the first time. I feel better than ever. Even though I didn't think endurance training wouldn't be fun and I was afraid I couldn't handle it, I opted for that kind of training. My trainer thinks he can actually get me down to 8% body fat at some point, though 15% is more of a maintainable option.

So I had my first hour-long endurance workout. We kept my heart rate vacillating between 130 and 180. Most of that time, however was just over 145. Not bad for a 50-year-old. Now here's the interesting thing. For the first time ever in my life, I did 100 pushups during the workout (10 sets of 10). Five months ago I could only do 1. What a difference!

I've posted 2 recordings of Matt speaking on nutrition and exercise on our web site at By the way, Matt is a big fan of Sparkpeople!

I ordered a new suit on Memorial Day at the end of May. When it arrived, it was several sizes too large. So I had to pick out a new one off the rack. I went from a 52 long to a 48 long. My waist has gone from a 44 to a 38. I've had to buy new belts. My lean body mass is 180 pounds -- meaning that I am significantly above average in muscular fitness for my age group.

When I previously did Medifast, I just lost a lot of weight. But much of that was muscle. It was highly restrictive in calories and I ended up with a flabby body and no sense of fitness. This time, I have eaten pretty normal, don't really think about calories. My trainer says I actually need to eat a bit more. Anyway, the trainer has really been worth it.

RWROHLIN SparkPoints: (0)
Fitness Minutes: (494)
Posts: 31
8/4/12 7:56 P

When I was leaving the gym today, I saw a woman with lots of belly fat attempting to "spot reduce" by doing situps. First of all, spot reducing doesn't work. Secondly, every personal trainer I've spoken with has a negative view of situps. They prefer to do exercises (preferably while standing) that strengthen the whole core of the body. My trainer continues to challenge me, but also knows how to make sure I don't hurt myself. I hope your husband will get over his pain and get back to working out. It would be well worth the investment to have at least 4-6 sessions with a trainer to show him the proper form for exercises and write out a workout routine.

As for me, I just signed up for another 3 months of training. The changes have been awesome for me. And at age 50, I'm now playing racquetball for 2 hours with guys 30 years younger than me and am beating them. That really feels good!

JIBBIE49 Posts: 73,098
7/8/12 8:23 A

My husband went to our gym (military) where the PT is free and he set him up with a program and worked with him 2 days as my husband is 65, so then my know-it-all-husband decided he didn't need this "kid" to tell him what to do. So he started his own program. Within 4 days he was in such pain he had to go to the ER for a "hernia", but found out it was just a pulled groin ligament. So, he stopped going.
Glad you aren't such a know-it-all and can listen to someone tell you what to do and FOLLOW it.

RWROHLIN SparkPoints: (0)
Fitness Minutes: (494)
Posts: 31
7/7/12 9:49 A

The most challenging part of getting older is keeping things in balance. Balancing work / family, balancing enjoyment of life with saving for retirement, etc. But in the last couple of years I discovered I was having subtle changes in physical balance -- just getting in and out of the tub I wanted sometimes to tip one direction or the other. With a sedentary job (software engineer), I started having pain in my right leg due to my IT band binding to my muscle by fascia. I decided it was time to hire a personal trainer.

I need to apologize to all the people I've seen with a personal trainer in the past. I thought they looked silly doing exercises with balance balls and tension bands. "Why aren't they doing real exercies?" I thought. I stand corrected. My trainer has had me doing some of these inane-looking exercises and I find they can put a real whooping on me. Why? Many are designed to restore my balance by strengthening my core.

Here's the benefits I've experienced having a personal trainer now for 3 months:
1. I've lost 34 lbs.
2. Because I've had an appointment with a paid professional, it has removed any temptations to make excuses for not going to the gym.
3. My left leg started with 1.5 lbs. less muscle mass than my right leg (they have devices for measuring this). This has now corrected and I have equal muscle mass in both legs. This is due to all the things my trainer -- Matt -- has done to correct my imbalances.
4. My balance has improved dramatically. Some of the exercises I couldn't do at the beginning are now no longer challenging. But every time I master one, Matt comes up with a different exercise to challenge my balance in another way. He has explained that much of it is training the neuro-muscular connection. When your balance is challenged in a new way, your brain has to learn new ways to instruct your muscles what to do. All of this is resulting in a body that will be less likely to fall when I get older.
5. My strength has made dramatic improvements.
6. My blood pressure has dropped 20 points -- both systolic and diastolic -- without changing any medications.
7. My trainer has become my friend. We have to "catch up" when our schedule has been interrupted a bit. Also, I've taught him to play racquetball -- the only thing in the club I can do better than him (but he's improving fast).
8. My posture has improved dramatically. Sitting in front of a computer all day caused me to have shoulders that were rounded and slumped forward. This is called "crossover syndrome." Matt saw that instantly and set about working to strengthen my rhomboids, lats, and rear deltoids. I now walk much more upright and don't have to work to hold my shoulders back. It makes me look years younger and makes it less likely that I will be one of those poor elderly people who are permanently hunched over.
9. My self-image has improved as I can still give guys 30 years younger a good workout on the racquetball court.
10. I have more control over my diet. Having put this much effort into getting better, I am far more conscious about making wise choices. I also bought a BodyMedia Link device for measuring calorie expenditure. I compare this to my Sparkpeople dietary data and can tell you exactly what my caloried deficit or expenditure is during the day. When I hit a plateau, I showed this to my trainer who suggested a 1-day "refeed" to trick my body into thinking the "famine" had ended. So I ate 1.5 times the required number of maintenace calories on 1 day. It worked. I temporarily gained 1/2 a pound but then lost 7 lbs. over the next 4 days. A good trainer understands the dynamics of weight loss and what to do when you hit a plateau.
11. My cardiovascular condition has improved dramatically. I feel like I'm 20 years younger after 3 months of training. Workouts that would have killed me 3 months ago now are just a bit challenging. It feels great to be in shape and see my blood pressure so low each day.
12. Sex is better. I have more stamina and my wife loves feeling my much more muscular arms. We have a renewed attraction for one another and have sex more frequently than we did 20 years ago (which I didn't think possible).

Costs on trainers vary a great deal. They aren't cheap at my club -- I've paid nearly $400 / month for my 2 sessions / week. Now I have my wife going to a weight loss class at the gym for 3 sessions / week (for $175 a month -- a group class).

We won't continue this indefinitely. I believe I now have the resolve to continue exercising on my own. But I still have another 50 lbs. to lose and want to get to where I can do dumbbell chest presses with 100 lbs. in each hand (currently at 50). And Matt says I still have a long ways to go to correct other problems that come from 30 years of neglecting my health.

Matt is my chief cheerleader. I text him when I reach a new weight low or accomplish a new physical feat. He lets me know when he has free time for racquetball. Since he goes to my church, he watches what I eat each Sunday at our fellowship meal after the morning service. I've seen some personal trainers that just look like they're doing a job and aren't all that glad to be doing it. But Matt is passionate about seeing his clients make progress. He is constantly encouraging and cheers me through the last 2 or 3 reps of a weight lifting that seems impossible. He gently "pushes" me beyond my perceived limits but is sensitive to what my real limits are. And sometimes he holds me back if exercising one part of my body too much would be detrimental to achieving balance with another part of my body. I sometimes want to push too hard to the next step and he will let me know when I'm not really ready for it.

So if you haven't considered a personal trainer, let me encourage you to find a good one. He or she should be encouraging, enthusiastic, passionate about your progress, have the ability to be firm but not nasty, and become your cheerleader and friend. Make sure to get one that is certified by a nationally recognized accrediting body. A good trainer knows how to instruct you to use the right form. Matt is always after me about keeping my chin up and shoulders back. He stops me if I'm doing an exercise wrong. The right form is more important than an impressive weight. The right form will keep you from injury.

If you find that person, you'll discover that it probably costs a lot more to NOT have a personal trainer than to have one. It has been the best investment I've made -- an investment in my health, my family, my sex life, and just in feeling great every day. I wish I'd done it years ago. Like everything else, you can price shop. I know a club nearby where I can get less expensive training. But I've found the right trainer with the right qualities and I'm sticking with him. I can't wait to see where I am a year from now!

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