Many of you who have followed me on my blog for a long time will have followed my ups and downs with exercise and with my diet/healthy eating as well. I do like to keep it real! But it frustrates me that I am often chopping and changing my plans and forever trying to find the right solution to achieve my weight loss and exercise goals. And all too often I find an excuse not to do it! I know I am not alone in this.
This blog post is going to be the first of a little series. I mentioned my plans briefly in my 'being fifty and fab' blog post last week.
I've worked with a personal trainer in the past, in the traditional way, paying for a weekly session and meeting him/her at a gym. But I then have to rely on my own motivation to do another (minimum) two workout sessions a week - somehow! In reality I'd do my PT session then life would take over and any further sessions would dwindle to none. Exercising once a week isn't enough to see results and although better than nothing, I really wasn't getting value for me (my fault, not the PT's).
Having allowed my exercise to lapse during the uncertainty of 2020, it was time to take action again.
I was wondering what that action would be and how to find the motivation and accountability to exercise properly. I have my lovely Menu & Mind group which is really helping me with recipes, healthy ideas and mindset but I still needed to find an exercise regime I would stick with. I have always enjoyed strength training and lifting weights and I love the results! But I struggle to do it alone. Then Drew Gatherer got in touch.
Drew is a traditional Personal Trainer that like so many had to adapt his business during the pandemic. And he has taken his PT business online and is now focusing mostly on Online Personal Training. And he asked if I'd like to work with him, do a month's trial, write about it and see if his approach would be the accountability I needed to stick with it. I was delighted to accept and start immediately - yes just before Christmas.
Drew has a life-changing and inspiring story. In 2009 he had a seizure, at the time he was working as a teacher, it was originally thought this seizure was the same as others he'd had with his epilepsy. But it turned out he had an abscess on his right frontal lobe and acute bacterial meningitis, plus his childhood condition of hydrocephalus returned. He spent a long time on life support but he eventually came round thanks in part to his fitness levels, and although he will always have epilepsy, he is now fit, well and healthy. And then Drew changed his career, left teaching and retrained as a PT.
Online PT - Fitness Assessment
After our initial contact, Drew sent me a questionnaire to complete and I was asked to make an appointment for our first introductory session via Calendly, all very easy, and I was sent a link for the Zoom session. I was also asked to download the Trainerize app and access Drew's personal PT page within it.
The assessment is so that Drew can get to know me, my workout and diet history, understand my goals and to do a short fitness test to see where I am currently.
I am very lucky to have space in our log cabin that I can use as a gym, I have an excellent selection of weights and a bench, but these are not essential. If you do not have your own equipment, your programme will be written using alternatives like body weight exercises.
Drew explained the purpose of this first call was to create a 'purposeful start to my programme' - the beginning of my fitness journey with Drew. We talked about setting SMART goals and Drew asked me questions.
I explained I wanted to establish a routine for my fitness that I can stick to, that fits in with my lifestyle and one I am not tempted to give up as soon as life gets busy.
I'd like to lose some weight. I am aiming for approx 1/2 stone. Regained gradually since doing The Body Coach and during Lockdown!
I'd like to increase my strength and create more muscle definition again. I really do love how exercise defines my shape.
I told Drew that my 'problem area' is my tummy and we discussed how this can be related to stress hormones (particularly during this time of my life with menopausal hormones getting involved). Drew will include exercises in my programme that will target 'visceral body fat' and although these will be strength orientated, they will include some cardio.
We discussed my motivation - my why! My why has to be stronger than my how! Drew will be my motivation coach, we will have a weekly catch up and daily messages.
My focus will be on my results - what is to come! I will use my result photos from post-The Body Coach plan when I got to my fittest for my 50th birthday.
I will be doing 3 x exercise sessions every week. I am planning on these being Wednesday, Friday and Saturday or Sunday. I don't like getting up early and doing them before breakfast, it just doesn't work for me so I will be aiming for mid-morning. I am going to monitor my step count to see how many I do, I didn't want a specific goal to put pressure on me though.
Drew then asked me what has stopped me exercising in the past! Boredom, a busy life and it just being too inconvenient I think, life takes over and exercise is the first to go.
He asked if I had ever dieted - yes but I have always avoided fad diets and the only time I ever did seriously diet was when I did the The Body Coach Shift Shape and Sustain plan and lost 1 stone and about 18 inches. I tend to try and eat intuitively with a sensible 80/20 balance based on calorie intake but without logging obsessively. Wine is my downfall! Eating out doesn't help either!
I am going to keep a food diary and record portion sizes via photos and keep Drew updated on how I am getting on, I may need to start logging on My Fitness Pal.
Online PT - How it will work
First we agreed my weight and strength goals.
Drew will write me a personalised workout plan and this will be available in the Trainerize app that both myself and Drew can access. Every workout has full instructions, exercise demo videos, and a timer. It will show when I have completed a workout (no pretending)! It will also record my progress (weight and other stats and photos if I want to add them) and allow me to feedback to Drew to let him know how I got on.
I will do my workouts 3 x per week in my log cabin gym at home but using the Trainerize app is completely flexible so I can do the workouts anywhere at anytime!
Drew will message me daily and check in on me, make sure I am doing what I commit to doing! And remind me to drink more water!
I will keep a food diary and Drew will help with with portion sizes or if I need to log more seriously then we will move to a calorie deficit and use My Fitness Pal.
As well as daily messages, I will have a weekly call with Drew to keep my motivation up and for me to ask any questions.
I really can see so many benefits to online personal training. No travel time, I can workout at a time to suit me, thus reducing the time it all takes so I can get on with all the other things that keep me busy. It will lessen my opportunity for excuses. I am such a fair weather girl! I don't like walking in mud and rain. I have never been a fan of running - too much stress on the body! I like cycling but it is such a faff during the colder weather! And of course strength training has a huge benefit for midlife women (and men)! In the past I have tried to create my own workout programme - by using books or YouTube videos - but it never really works, I just don't have enough knowledge or motivation to make it happen.
And some thoughts on starting just before Christmas! Well no time like the present and to be honest with our socialising seriously curtailed this year I do think Christmas will feel just like any other day but with presents and a bigger (but not unhealthy) lunch! It is after-all 'just one day' and with my family at home more, this will give me some much needed me time.
Now let's see if the benefits I can see really do keep me focused on doing it! I really want those results! And I really want to stick with it!
If you'd like to find out more about online personal training with Drew, you can find his website here, or find him on Facebook or Instagram. Drew is running a series of posts on Facebook this week all about exercising during menopause. I will be talking about my workouts on insta-stories and on my facebook page.
Look out for my week one update coming soon!
Below: my log cabin gym, I didn't pay a huge amount of money for my equipment, mostly purchased on amazon or eBay, new or gently used.
My overall advice hasn't changed - create a lifestyle you can commit to which includes maintaining a calorie deficit for weight loss, choosing healthier food options and moving more. But still the most important thing is finding the right mindset so you can do all those things! This is also Drew's approach and how we will be working together over the coming month(s).
Disclaimer: Drew has gifted me one month of online personal training and I have agreed to write about my experience on my blog. This will be a personal and honest account.
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Welcome to Fifty & Fab, a lifestyle blog to inspire you. I am a blogger with a passion for writing about style, beauty, health and fitness with a focus on the over 50's. I am based in Marlow but work across London and the South East.
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Hi, I’m Michelle and my blog Fifty & Fab is all about my journey into and through my fifties. I share style tips, health and fitness inspiration, I talk about my holidays and days out and I tell you about my beauty regime and my lifestyle. I hope you might pick up a tip or two and get some inspiration!
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