(My trainer and I - Hallowe'en 2017 at the gym)
I have been attending the gym regularly for almost 20 years. But...I have never had a personal trainer except for a few weeks in late '97 when I first started.
So why now?
During my competitive bodybuilding years, I had various coaches. A coach creates a training program for you and guides your nutrition leading up to a successful outcome at competition. You communicate on a daily basis and receive feedback, changes, and encouragement. I always looked forward to the morning boost of encouragement via e-mail. But...my coaches were over 1700 miles away in Indiana.
Shortly after I retired from competition, having won first place at an international competition as a Pro Bodybuilder, something happened. I hesitate to call it an injury. It was more of a structural issue that led to the spine slipping forward causing severe nerve pain...anterior spondylolisthesis. I went for x-rays and found out that I was born with one less vertebra. Now that explains why I'm so short :)
The lumbar spine consists of 5 vertebrae, and I am missing the biggest and most important one (L5) that is the foundation of the spine and gives the lower back that nice curve and lots of spring.
After months of pain and much-needed therapy, and lots of time away from my second home - the gym, I started coming back cautiously. The weightlifting workouts were very short - 20 minutes at best. Even that would take me days to recover from.
The gym had always brought me so much joy and a sense of fulfillment. I was missing that. I had lost my consistency and my spark. I knew I had to do something! I needed some guidance to rebuild my strength, rebuild my confidence in my abilities, and rebuild my consistency with training.
I looked around at the gym to scout for a potential trainer. But I remained undecided. I had to find just the right trainer who could create a program that would strengthen my back and core so that I could get back to training hard and seeing results, but most importantly, I needed someone who would encourage me and help me get my spark back.
The mountains always inspire me, help me think clearly and help me move forward with my goals. My husband and I often hike on Saturdays and come back inspired for the week ahead.
It was after a beautiful weekend in the mountains that I made my decision to move ahead and just do it.
Stop thinking about it Carla, and just get a trainer already!!!
At the gym that following Monday, I inquired about personal training. I chatted with a trainer; unfortunately his training style was not what I was looking for. But he was kind enough to introduce me to GI Joe, a young trainer who would be starting to work at my gym the next week. I asked about his background and I instantly knew that I had found my trainer – someone who was not afraid to train hard himself and who was a great motivator.
A few weeks into my training, I introduced myself to a lady who, like myself, was also using a personal trainer and asked her about her 'why'. She said, "I know that if I didn't have a trainer, I wouldn't come to the gym." She was very clear that she wanted to get physically fit, but she was also equally clear that she lacked discipline and motivation. She is now successfully training three times a week and seeing results with the help of her trainer.
Joining a gym is a great way to get motivated to exercise, and to stay motivated. I find that just being around other like-minded people is a great motivator in itself. If increasing your physical activity is one of your goals, then a gym membership is a great option, especially if you hire a trainer as well.
If you decide on giving the gym a try, I suggest you look for a gym close to your home or work – making it as easy as possible to get there. No excuses, right? Ask for a free one week pass so you can try it out before making the financial commitment. Most gyms will charge about $35 to $55 a month. This fee includes the use of all gym equipment (treadmills and other cardio equipment, free weights, and exercise machines). You will also be able to attend all of their group exercise classes for free. Some of the classes offered are yoga, group cycling, Zumba, strength training, and a variety of bootcamp-style workouts. For an extra fee, you can hire a personal trainer who will design a workout program to help you meet your goals and will be there to guide you as you work out.