My First Fitness Orientation Part II: The Workout

woman working with personal trainerAs we follow along with our fitness blogger, Faith, we’re getting the first-hand scoop on what it’s like to be a newbie trying various experiences at XSport, from classes to the spa and more.

Last edition, we began the story about her first personal training session—the complimentary orientation offered to new members. Read on to learn what she did in the workout, and how it went.

Here’s where we’re at in the story:
I was recently introduced to the complimentary initial training session XSport members can take advantage of. My personalized fitness orientation was at the St. Charles location with fitness manager Paris. It included a health overview, a talk about my goals, plus:

  • A functional movement screening to peek at my strengths and challenges
  • A customized workout with Paris demonstrating and coaching me the whole time
  • A review of a workout plan will help me reach my goals and the timing to get there

My goals: Slim down through the waistline and hips. Drop a few pounds, plus firm up my butt and arms. Offset symptoms my arthritis and aging (I’m 55). All this with two regular gym workouts per week (plus an otherwise active lifestyle). And no running.

In Part I of this series, I covered our initial interview, the approach we’d be taking and the weighing/measuring. Here in Part II, I’m reviewing my movement screening and the workout Paris took me through.

My Functional Movement Screening

This turned out to be my favorite part of our session. The information this screening provided about my body–general strength, flexibility, stability, posture and alignment—was so useful! Paris observed and made notes as he instructed me through a series of simple physical movements including:

  • Knee bends/squats with my feet in various positions
  • Reaching my hands behind my head and back to try to touch them
  • A forward bend toward the floor
  • Standing on one leg while extending the other in front

Here’s what we learned:
I’m bendy. My flexibility comes with some instability in the joints so it’s a watch-out.
I’m uneven. My strength and balance on the left side was more compromised than I’d known.
My knees are shot. Especially the left one. But I can use strength and proper technique to work around wobbly, crackling knees.
I’m coachable. I’m good at correcting my form, which helps make exercise more effective.

My Workout

Knowing my goals, strength training was the recommendation. Especially since I would only commit to a formal work out a couple of times a week. Paris knows about my physical activities outside the gym, but he reiterates that it’s important I exercise beyond strength training twice a week.

I’m told I’ll get the most bang for my buck with a solid strength program designed around my needs, so we get to it. The workout, which would normally take about 45 minutes, takes us over an hour, because Paris spent time teaching me what I don’t know, correcting my form, getting my feedback and making adjustments. Here’s what we did:

  1. Warm-up using the Power Plate. It’s a vibrating machine that stimulates a lot of muscle fibers, deeply. Odd, but you can feel that this whole-body vibration works. Very cool.
  2. Squat to sit. Held a dumbbell while squatting back onto seat—we adjusted the height for the angle of my knees and did four sets. That really warmed me up.
  3. Reverse lunge. Held a dumbbell again, or we tried, but then had to modify as I struggled. And sweat! Used one hand to hold the wall, and we decreased reps. My left side fizzled.
  4. Seated overhead press. Sat on a stability ball and used two dumbbells. I struggled again, especially on the left side. Paris needed to give me a little pep talk when I got frustrated.
  5. Standing calf raise. Wow. A movement of inches, but began to feel like I was moving a mountain. Made it through four sets but those last reps started to shake and burn.
  6. Superman/Quadraplex. Headed to the mat to do this core exercise on all fours. Well, twos, really—you balance (or try to) on one knee and one hand. Amazingly tough.
  7. Dumbbell Pullover. Stayed on the mat. With my upper back on a Bosu ball I used a small dumbbell which confirmed that my upper body needs a lot of work. Yikes. Went slow.
  8. Cable Cross Twist. Hooray, I kicked butt on this one! I know I have a strong core, including my obliques, so I was sailing through the sets…we kept increasing the challenge to find the sweet spot where I’d work from next time.

A little cool down on the Power Plate ended our workout. We finished our appointment with a review of what I did, and notes to help me remember the exercises on my own. Paris did some math about how personal training could maximize my progress, how often I could work with a trainer, and how many weeks it would probably take me to reach my goals. (And, yes, how much it would cost.)

We discussed training, but I felt no pressure about it. There is a nice deal for a discount when you get started, and payment options that can help you make it work with your budget. Still, I ended up not signing up. I’m going to give this a try on my own. But I might grab some personal training in the future if I find I’m not getting the results I want.

Faith’s Takeaways:

Best parts: Loved the movement screening, the whole-body vibration, and the core exercises. Watch outs: I know most people will not love the core exercises as much as I tend to, and if you have a tricky back be sure to tell your trainer.

Aftereffects: I was pretty darn sore 36 hours later. I know I pushed it on a couple of exercises—those calf raises and dumbbell pullovers were really nailing me, but I didn’t say so. Otherwise, I felt super accomplished and very motivated. It was fun.

Recommendation: I say take advantage of this free service to learn as much as you can! If you feel embarrassed or frustrated in any way, it’s probably because you’re self-critical. Why not motivate yourself with goals instead? Find out about the training breakdown, too. It doesn’t hurt to consider investing more in yourself if you want a fitness makeover or are training for a certain goal or event.

Click here to sign up for your free fitness orientation!

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