I’ve been a personal trainer in London for 12 years now, and I’ve helped clients lose weight, build muscle, bulk up or trim down, and improve their posture and flexibility.
Before training a new client, I get them to complete a detailed questionnaire. This covers medical history, eating habits, previous attempts to get fit, history of weight fluctuations, and their fitness goals. They complete this online before we meet up, so we can discuss it when we first get together face to face.
I then weigh them, take waist measurements, body fat percentage, and blood pressure.
Every client has different needs and goals, so sessions are tailored accordingly, but here’s a summary of what I include in a personal training session, which takes 1 hour:
Every session begins with a warm-up, to get the body and mind ready for the main session. This takes around 5 minutes, and involves limbering up, star-jumps and so on.
To build the major muscles, I use resistance exercises with dumbbells (which the client buys), resistance bands (which I bring) and body-weight (for push-ups, squats, and lunges). I also bring ankle weights for a range of leg and glutes (bum muscles) exercises on a yoga mat.
To build core strength, I take the client through a range of abdominal and lower back exercises. One of the best core exercises is the plank, and I time the client with a stopwatch while they hold the position, and record their time.
To build cardiovascular fitness (heart and lungs) I run with clients, but you can also get a good cardio workout indoors with cardio-boxing (I bring boxing gloves and pads), which is very handy on days when it’s too cold/icy/wet to train outdoors.
A 5 minute cool-down with limbering movements helps bring the body back to a resting state, bringing the heart rate down gradually, dispersing lactic acid, and preventing blood from pooling in the muscles just worked.
When people work out on their own, they often neglect the stretch at the end, or don’t stretch for long enough. A good 10 minutes is needed for a thorough stretch of the muscles worked, and the end of the session is the ideal time as the muscles are warmed up and more pliable.
Flexibility is an important part of fitness, to enable the body to move freely through its full range of motion. Tight muscles lead to poor posture, reduced functional strength, and higher risk of injury.
Homework and nutrition
Most clients train with me once a week, and I set them homework to do between sessions, ideally two workouts they do on their own before our next personal training session.
I also advise on their nutrition on an ongoing basis, using food-diaries (or simply text/email dialogue) to keep track of their eating habits.
Dominic Londesborough is a personal trainer in London.