My First Fitness Orientation – Getting Off to a Solid Start

woman working with personal trainerHi, I’m Faith. In recent editions of the XSport Life, you may have read my play-by-play articles as a newbie experiencing XSport through Athletix, Boxing and pampering at the XSport Spa.

This time, I’ve been sent to truly start at square one, with the complimentary personal training session offered to all members. Here’s Part I of my series on this session, which resulted in some pleasant surprises, a little bit of soreness, and a totally doable personalized fitness plan for me.

What is the free training session for?

When you become a member at XSport, one of the benefits is a complimentary initial training session. It’s private, personalized to your goals and needs, and intended to help you get off to a strong, safe start at the gym.

But a lot of us don’t feel confident about jumping right into a one-on-one with a fitness professional as soon as we sign up. That’s where I come in with this up-close look at what this free session is all about.

I’m a new member. Do I really want this?

Honestly, I wondered if I really needed to spend the time being “tested,” and then taken through a routine and given the inevitable set of recommendations. Let’s face it – when we’ve just committed our time and money to the gym membership, most of us would rather not be examined, judged or persuaded.

As for me, I already know I’m not in the shape I want to be in. Plus, I think I know what I need from my workouts and what I want to do at the gym. I can’t tell you how happy I am to report that my session was all about learning what I could do with my own body, based on my own timing and interests.

What does the session include?

I had a Saturday appointment for a fitness orientation with Paris, a fitness manager at the St. Charles location. Paris let me know that each of these initial sessions for members will have some basic similarities, but will also be individualized by the trainer and tailored to the client’s needs and abilities. In fact, Paris uses the term “orientation” for that reason. It’s a way to discover how you can get the results you want, and how long it will take you.

This included a:

  • General interview covering health information, lifestyle & fitness experience
  • Step on the scale and body fat reading (NOT with the pinchers, yay!)
  • Customized workout with Paris demonstrating and coaching me the whole time

My Lifestyle & Goals Overview

I told Paris that 10 years ago, I was in the best shape of my life. Now, my sedentary job (well my typing fingers are in good shape, still) and my age (I’m 55) are starting to catch up with me. I let him know that I’m not super committed to training. I hike, bike or garden on the weekends, and count those as exercise.

I eat pretty clean. No meat, but yes dairy and fish. I don’t diet and I don’t want to. No dietary restrictions or hassles, please. I also drink alcohol. I know cutting it out could make a difference.

He suggests I eat breakfast more regularly to jumpstart my metabolism each day. I’m good on vitamin supplements but he says I might want to check out amino acids.

My goals: Slim down through the waistline and hips. Offset my arthritis symptoms by keeping my flexibility and strength. Stay youthful in my energy level, agility, balance and coordination. Drop a few pounds and gain some definition in my arms. Firm the butt up a bit.

My interests: I like to be efficient – bigger movements, work up a sweat, multiple muscles and joints working at once. I like to think about what I’m doing – not mindless repetition, but concentrated effort. And NO RUNNING. I don’t like to run.

My Weigh-In & Body Fat Assessment

I already know that these days, the number on the scale is higher than I’m used to. I step on the scale and it’s confirmed, I’m up about five pounds over that last five years. That’s like a pound a year since I turned 50. Not a trend I want to continue. Happily, the scale only takes about 10 seconds. I learn my starting point for body weight, and it’s not really even the most important measurement. I take it as a hardly-interesting fact, and then we move on.

The body fat test is done with a digital, hand-held analyzer. I’m so pleased that it isn’t the calipers that require pinching pockets of fat under your skin! My body fat is up from 5 years ago, too. I used to be quite fit actually, so my body fat has elevated more than my weight. I’m just not lean like I was and that bothers me. I told Paris it’s one of my biggest regrets: I’ve grown soft in the middle.

He assures me I’m in a healthy enough range for my age and shows me a chart that puts me at “Very Good” … but that’s for a 55 year old. I tell him I want to be in a good range for a 40 year old. I believe that exercise + enjoyment is the fountain of youth, so, let’s roll back the clock!

In Part II next time, I’ll cover the more physical aspects of my session – the Functional Movement Screening and the actual workout. I’ll also share my disappointments and new favorite exercises. So far, here’s what I have gotten from my first fitness orientation/personal training session.

Faith’s Takeaways:

Best parts: It takes my own personal preferences and lifestyle into consideration. It’s not a cookie cutter approach.

Watch outs: For the session to work the best for you, it requires your honest input. You’re being asked a lot of questions so your trainer can work with you safely and effectively. Try not to feel shy and avoid self-criticisms. You’re there to learn.

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