Why do I train the way I do?
Often a probing question given by many towards a personal trainer is simply: how do you work out? Since I propose to be an expert on health, wellness and physical goings on within the body it should be assumed that I can do some superhuman things with my own body and should be able to do pretty much anything, right?
I’ll let you in on a secret. I’m just like any of you reading this blog. I work – a lot – sometimes so I’m so tired I have a hard time finding time to get in my workouts since I’m normally up at 5am and with clients by 6am. I finish work most nights at 7pm. I have a wife and two dogs to help take care of. So when it comes to my own programming, it is often a bit of a challenge. The way that I tend to approach it is by telling myself what I would always tell my clients. Have goals, both short term and long term, and then work towards it. I’ll break my training up into specific phases of time, just like I would with a client. I record everything (my Iphone is a great asset for this). I tailor what I eat around when I am going to work out, just like any athlete would. I plan ahead. For example, this weekend is my brother-in-law’s birthday Saturday night. More than likely I’m not going to be in a great state to work out Sunday due to being out late, therefore I know I need to get something quality in on Saturday. Now I’m sure some of you would say “but you work in a gym, so it’s so much easier.” This is true – to an extent. Frankly after helping other people all day sometimes the last thing I want to do in the gym is stick around, just like you all like to get out of the office.
Currently I’m working towards getting back into competitive running and hopefully a few short distance duathlons this year. The only reason I don’t do full tris anymore is because I’m not a very good swimmer and I don’t enjoy it. Biking and running are more enjoyable to me so while I’m never going to be an Ironman I can still train hard. Over the summer I worked on a 16 week phase to add strength and some muscle onto my frame in order to be stronger for the endurance training I knew I would have to do for this upcoming season in 2012. At my peak (after my honeymoon – European food to be blamed) I was at 189 pounds and almost 25% bodyfat, which is far too heavy to think about running with. However, my strength had also improved by up to 50% in some movements and my lean mass had increased as well. Now that I’m getting back into running form I began with simple 20 minute jogs and half hour rides at easy pace and have been increasing my mileage, speed and power (wattage) consistently for the past six weeks. My diet was also cleaned up significantly.
So result wise so far – I’m down 10 pounds and 4% bodyfat over the six weeks, plus I’ve managed to increase my average running speed by 45 seconds per mile and my biking wattage by about 25%. I attribute that to just getting back into my old form but my improvement is good so far. My goals for the upcoming season so I can put them out there to the world:
Be competitive within my age group (M35-39) during the Somersault Running series at the 5k distance. This to me means top 3 finish at minor races, and top 10 finish in major races. If I can break 20 minutes in a 5k this year (last time was 2007) I would be quite happy. I would also like to be able to compete at the local level in the duathlon series so I’d like to be able to push as if I was a Category 3 cyclist on my bike. This means being able for someone at 165 lbs (my hopeful race weight) to be able to push 300 watts of power cycling for 5 minutes according to the charts currently published by Andrew Coggan and Hunter Allen. Obviously this will improve and if I can go higher than that this year it would be great, but for me right now that will be good enough.
I hope this provides some insight into even how a trainer approaches their program. It is just like any of you, staying consistent, having the right goals in mind and steadily moving towards them. Nutrition and rest are important as well, plus planning ahead to make sure that nothing serious gets in the way of training. During the holidays this is extremely important as well, so make sure that you plan ahead and get everything done – including your workouts.