I guess, for a lot of people in the fitness and health industry, the route to becoming a Personal Trainer will probably stem from them always having a interest in sport and fitness. Maybe they studied it at college or university. It may have been a natural progression for them. This is not so for me. Previously, I would have been more suited to requiring a Personal Trainer than actually being one.
You see, I have always struggled with my weight. It has been this way for as long as I can remember. My problem has been that I love food....and lots of it. Especially pizza and biscuits and cake...
The weight really pilled on when I started working in the city, I stopped exercising and there was lots of eating out and drinking beer. Gaining weight, just like losing it, is a gradual thing that happens over time. I never really noticed it going on, then all of a sudden I woke up one day weighing over 20 stone!
I was in denial for ages. I can remember blaming clothing manufacturers for changing the sizing of clothes so that I had to buy bigger sizes! Probably not their fault looking back.
There were periods through out this where I would realise that I was gaining weight and go on some diet or other and smash the gym for a few months until, at least some, of the weight came off. Then back into old habits.
I guess that’s the way it is. I was never really making long lasting change. It takes a jolt of some sort to instigate real change. For me it was a few things that happened over a number years. Firstly, the doctor telling me I need to lose weight. But how could I? I didn’t eat that much…hummm. I was convinced I didn’t eat that much. I told him that of course. I imagine he didn’t believe me but I was convinced. He got me to do a food diary and track the calories I was consuming. It turns out I was actually consuming between 3000 and 3500 calories a day. There was my first shock. 3500 calories a day! And lets be honest, who really records everything to pass their lips in a food diary… the reality was likely to be even worse!
This spurred me into watching what I ate. I started making my lunch to take into work and stopped having bacon rolls (yes two bacon rolls) for breakfast and a biscuit or two with a coffee. I also joined a gym and started going 4 or 5 times a week. One of the guys at the gym did a programme for me which I stuck to. He also showed me what I should be doing in the gym which was really good and what I needed.
The weight fell off and I felt fitter and stronger. It was great.
Then, over time, the weight crept back on again. Not anywhere near back to the previous level but when I saw pictures of me at parties or barbeques I could see I much bigger than I thought I was. This was my second shock really. The realisation that I had not actually made a sustainable change and that my diet was not as good as I thought it was.
Also, I had stopped exercising regularly which was a bit of a reversal to my past days.
It was at this point that I got engaged and had a year run up to the wedding. I decided that I needed to change my lifestyle and habits in order to make sustained change. I not only wanted to look good for my wedding but also wanted to do all I can to live longer and be healthier.
This started me on my current road to trying to lead a healthier, fitter life. I researched the best way to train in the gym and the best evidence based nutrition advice. I began putting together weekly meal plans so that I knew what I was eating every day. I also started preparing my food for the week, which did involve measuring out portions of meat, veg and carbs. I am now absolutely convinced that meal preparation is key to maintaining a healthy weight and eating a healthy balanced diet.
In my quest to find the best, and by that I mean correct (evidence based), information on nutrition and training it was suggested that I undertake a course to become a Personal Trainer. There is so much information out there on the internet that it is difficult to know what is fact, what is merely opinion and what is just simply untrue. I thought that a really good way to ensure that the information I was consuming was correct and based on scientific evidence was to do the Personal Training course. The University of Bath ran just such a course. They train Olympic athletes so they must know about nutrition and training! This was the real catalyst to the sustainable lifestyle change I had been previously lacking.
Throughout this time, I have continued to work in the city and so I to have to balance being healthy with my day job- not easily in today’s world but makes the advice I give genuine and realistic for people, who like me, do not have hours each day to spend in the gym and in a kitchen.