Flip Your Script

John J. Schessler, Wellness Coach/Personal Trainer

Fitness 101: How do I get started?

You’ve done it. You decided to commit yourself to going to the gym on a regular basis to change how you feel about yourself, start becoming active and adopting a better lifestyle for yourself. WONDERFUL! Wait though…do you have a plan of attack? What are you fitness goals? How and where are you fitting your workouts into your weekly schedule? Are you using a pre-workout or BCAA’s? Is it medically safe for you to be starting an exercise program? What are you eating before and after your workouts? Do you need a trainer? Do you WANT a trainer?

WHOOOOAAA! Hold on there Slappy…!

This is enough to make your head spin, right? However, if you want to do things the right way, these are some of the things you need to consider before making this sort of commitment. When you take time to consider some of these things and weight them out, it will make beginning and sticking with an exercise regime that much easier.

The day is here. You walk into the gym for the first time. Upon seeing the other members, who look experienced, a few words come to mind….intimidating, uncomfortable, overwhelming. You want to run out to your car but you don’t. Instead, you check-in, go to the locker room to change and head out onto the gym floor to get started. What do you do now? The logical answer here and the one that will yield the most positive results is to just ask. A lot of you reading this are saying to yourself, “What the hell would you ask for? Just do it!” This response is where pride and ego get in the way of expanding your choices. Most people don’t ask because it’s embarrassing or ‘beneath their intelligence’ to ask how to do something because if you’re smart, why would you need to ask? Gym staff members are there primarily for this purpose and want to provide assistance to gym members when and if they need it. Although most front desk staff are not certified trainers, they still are equipped with helping members with the ‘how-to’s’. These guys are also responsible for the cleanliness and upkeep of the facility as well so give them a huge pat on the back when you see them!

Certified personal trainers, fitness instructors and group exercise instructors are professionals in fitness, certified by a national certifying organization or educational institution. These are the people who assist members on their fitness journeys by providing one-on-one instruction, fitness and nutrition education and referral services. A lot of people have concrete visuals of what PT’s should look like, the knowledge they have and what kind of lifestyle they lead. This stereotype couldn’t be further from the truth for most of us (yours truly included). I am not a muscle-bound, steroid-crazed, heavy-weight lifting behemoth, I am quite the opposite. I’m a 5’4″, 160 lbs of athletic, wiry muscle. When i started in the business, I was so hung up on how i visually looked because I had my own hang-ups on what PT’s were supposed to look like and I DIDN’T fit the bill. Over the years, I’ve found that clients and members respond more favorably to trainers who know their stuff and not so much look the part. I have seen member gain great progress, break down their mental barriers and create functioning and healthy changes in their lives. It is a great privilege to have a hand in helping people change their lives for the better.

Anyway, are you contemplating getting a personal trainer to assist you in reaching those goals but don’t know where to start? First off, know that it’s a commitment on both of your parts. I often refer to my role in this relationship with a client as the ‘showrunner’. Showrunner’s in TV shows do just that, run the show. In a personal training instance, showrunner’s design programs and execute them with the client, adhering to safe fitness guidelines and making sure the program aligns with the clients fitness goals. Secondly, do your homework. Do you need a trainer that specializes in a certain area? Do you need a trainer to help ready you for an event? Whatever the case may be, inquire at your gym about the trainers they have available and which one will cater to your specific needs the best. After you meet with the trainer, you’ll have a clearer picture if this is something that you want to invest money, time and effort into.

Okay, you’ve got a trainer and you’ve been seeing some results in your body but feel like you need an edge of sorts, right? Supplementation may be a route that you want to take. Before you take the jump, go to GNC and get those supplements, do you know what you’re buying? If you’re not educated on the science of supplements, chances are you have no idea what you’re buying or what is contained in them. The first thing you need to know is that supplements are NOT regulated by the FDA. This means that literally anyone can put some random ingredients into a canister, give it a snappy name and potentially sell it. Again, i want to stress doing your research. There are supplements that cause more harm than good causing any number of side effects when ingesting them. Talk to your PCP, see what supplements are the best fit for you and then make the purchase.

I could go on and on about Fitness 101 and what it takes to be successful on your fitness journey and you know what? I intend to do just that. Over the next month, I’m going to write a series of posts dedicated to Fitness 101 topics that a lot of members frequently ask when beginning. The more you know, the more you grow so let’s get to it!

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