It's fascinating what you pick up when training to be a PT....

You go to the gym a lot and you eat pretty well and you kinda know about your body. Y’no, the biceps and the glutes…but do you REALLY know your body?

I thought I did. But then I enrolled on a Personal Trainer course at London’s TRAINFITNESS, and quickly realised how naive I was. Here’s a few of the things I picked up, which could change the way you eat and train…

Personal training certification lesson 1: Sometimes, being still can work your muscles harder

No, not sitting-on-the-sofa kinda still. I’m talking isometric exercise, a type of strength training in which the joint angle and muscle length do not change during contraction. So, when you do a bicep curl and your arm moves up and down? Yeah that’s isotonic.

Isometric exercises are a great way of placing demand on a muscle, therefore helping it to grow. Think of the plank (ugh) – that’s an isometric exercise. Next time you want to shake things up, try a 30 second wall sit. Sit against a wall, sink your bottom down to make a 90 degree angle with your legs and hold.

Yes, it will burn but nothing worth having comes easy, right? Or, to give your shoulders a boost, try holding weights out either side of your body, keeping arms at a 90 degree angle to your body.

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Personal training certification lesson 2: Carbs are NOT a bad thing

C’mon, you don’t need reminding, but carbs are good. These low/no carb diets…sorry, what? How?

Carbs taste great and our body needs em’. I’m not talking about doughnuts and sweet treats (sadly), but complex/low-glycaemic carbs such as oats, brown rice, wholemeal bread and the one we can’t pronounce, quinoa. About to head to the gym for a heavy squat session? EAT.SOME.CARBS. The line that sticks in my head from studying is: ‘The main role of carbohydrates in the body is the production of energy.’ Yup, E-N-E-R-G-Y!

Also, the brain is only able to use carbohydrates. So if you’ve got a busy day in the office that requires plenty of brainpower, kick the day off with a big bowl of porridge. Nom. You don’t want to end up looking like the below…

Personal training certification lesson 3: Squats alone WON’T get you a peachy bum

Squat, squat, squat – I was like a woman possessed. But funnily enough, squats actually seem to target the front of your legs a lot more than your bum muscles. So what to do for a pert backside?

Try lunges, ensuring you really push through your front heel as you rise. You can even place a front foot on a slight rise. To really work the glutes (that’s bum muscles FYI), put your back leg on a raised platform (ideally the height of your shin) and lunge down, ensuring your front knee doesn’t come over your front toes.

Kickbacks are another great one – using ankle weights, get on all fours and slowly lift up one leg. Kick it back, kinda like a donkey, if you will. Repeat this movement 20 times and feel the burn!

Another good’en? Deadlifts. You might not think they’re targeting your bottom but if you really squeeze your glutes as you rise, you’ll soon feel some burn!

Sorry though – even with all these booty-burning moves, there’s no guarantee you’ll be called to become a Kim K lookalike anytime soon.

Personal training certification lesson 4: You’re probably not eating ENOUGH

Shocking, eh? Food is fuel people, and if you’re not getting enough fuel, you’re going to feel horrendous in the gym. Want to know if your calorie consumption is high enough?

First, suss out your Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR – an individual’s basic requirement of energy (Kcals) at rest.) When at rest, the average person will use energy at a rate of 25 calories per kg of body weight. This is fairly rough though and can vary depending on the amount of lean body tissue you possess.

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So, for a person weighing 60kg it would be 25kcals x 60 = 1500 Kcals per day. But factors do affect your BMR so play around with it based on your activity levels…

Sedentary lifestyle – if you work in an office and drive or commute to work. No exercise regime. (= normal BMR + 20%)

Moderately active lifestyle – for those who walk or cycle to work, have an active occupation  and are involved in some sort of exercise outside of work 3 to 4 times per week. (=normal BMR + 50%)

Very active lifestyles – Someone who is serious about fitness and exercises at high intensity most days. (=normal BMR + 100%)

Therefore, for the same 60kg person with a moderately active lifestyle, their energy needs would be:  Normal BMR (1500) + 50% = 1500 + 750 = 2250 kcals per day

Now, keep a food diary or use a calorie counting app such as My Fitness Pal, and see how it all compares…

 

Personal training certification lesson 5: Over training is totally a thing

Overly emotional? Constantly hungry? Not sleeping right? Thirsty, ALL THE TIME? Unless you know of another cause for these, you might actually be doing too much at the gym.

It’s easy to think that a morning workout and an evening workout is fine. And that High Intensity Training 7-days-a-week will get you the body of your dreams. In fact, maybe it will. But, it could come at a cost. I studied the ‘over training’ chapter at a time when rest just was not an option for me and I refused to believe it was necessary. But it is. And the side effects of too much exercise just aren’t worth it.

Personal training certification lesson 6: It’s totally achievable

Sure, it was a lot of hard work – but I did it, and so can you!

Keen to train as a PT? Find out more at Train Fitness.