Getting back into shape - it’s the ultimate New Year’s resolution, isn’t it? It’s also one of the easiest resolutions to lose track of because it requires a lot of focus and determination. Case in point: myself. Yes, I’ve made all kinds of promises to myself on January 1st for a few years now. Cutting out sugar, eating better, finally getting my pre-baby body back (and it’s been six years, so let’s be honest - I’m running out of time to use the baby body excuse!)
But this year, I’m more adamant than ever to live a healthier lifestyle and get my body into tip-top shape, inside and out. So you can imagine that when I was recently given the blogging assignment to work with one of NVRC’s qualified personal trainers, I knew it was perfect timing.
Turning hesitation into inspiration
At first, I was hesitant, nervous and self-conscious, especially since I’m used to working out alone, headphones blaring to block out the anxiety I often experience in a room with several strangers. But I decided to challenge myself to push my boundaries. I had considered personal training but decided against it in the past, based on my own insecurities with both my body and having people in my personal space. However, taking inspiration from Shonda Rhimes’ book Year of Yes, in which the iconic writer chronicles a year she spent saying “yes” to everything, I decided to jump in and give it a shot - it never hurts to try.
Customizing my workout routine
At Harry Jerome, I was paired up with Rob, the fitness centre supervisor and a kinesiologist. He’s a friendly guy with a permanent smile and he’s always cracking light hearted jokes. His professional yet fun, kind manner put me at ease and I didn’t feel judged or uncomfortable at all. Our first session opened with a sit-down meeting with Rob to outline my concerns and what I want to get out of the sessions. Rob made notes, took my blood pressure, and listened empathetically as I explained what I wanted to change - which boils down to tightening, toning, increasing energy and keeping my heart healthy. I let him know about my chronic neck and shoulder pain, and he explained that there were many exercises that could assist with this.
Testing the workout waters
We started with ten minutes of gentle cardio on an Arc Trainer, a machine I had never used before and actually fell in love with, and then, while Rob attended a quick meeting, I worked with Sean, another super friendly and enthusiastic trainer who made me laugh while I sweat - which almost made me forget about the hard work my body was engaging in! We went through mat exercises and stretches which targeted my priority areas. One of my favourites was the “sideband shuffle”, an exercise that involves holding and stepping on a skipping rope, crossing it at the hands, and stepping in a lunge-like motion. This works the abductors in a major way - I felt my legs screaming at me all day the next day, which is just proof that I gave them a great workout!
Aside from that, I did chest presses, bicep curls with weights, the pallof press (the most challenging for me, which is why I intend to spend more time with it), and finished with a cool down on the treadmill.
An all-around great experience
I received valuable tips and customized information during my workout - simple things that make a big difference like not letting the weight go all the way down when I release my chest press, keeping tension strong, and adding a bit more weight when the exercise seems too easy. I also learned about prioritizing a warmup and a cool down versus jumping right in and jumping right out of the workout without giving my body time to adjust. I left tired and happy, ready to tackle my next session, and armed with knowledge to take with me on all my future workouts.
I can’t wait to see what the rest of my sessions bring, and to share my progress.
Find out if personal training is right for you by visiting the personal training webpage.
See you at the gym!
Stephanie is a professional writer and photographer residing in North Vancouver with her husband and five-year-old daughter. She grew up in Ontario, but considers British Columbia to be her true home. Having attended the journalism program at George Brown college in Toronto, Stephanie’s writing career has included music journalism works with the likes of Canadian Musician Magazine and Professional Sound Magazine, and she has written blogs and content/copywriting for various fashion, beauty and lifestyle publications and brands around the world.
Stephanie owns The Imperative Image, an affordable photography service for professionals. As a wellness advocate and a proud North Shore resident, Stephanie is thrilled to contribute to the NVRC Active Living Blog.