What Personal Trainers Always Do (That You Don't)
No matter how strong your gym game, it's a fair bet you're not at personal trainer level. (Unless, of course, you actually *are* a personal trainer...) PTs don't just talk the talk, they farmer's walk the walk. Which is to say, they breathe, eat, sleep and live fitness. Constant research, daily learning, formal study and personal experimentation are all part of the job, which naturally produces dozens of hacks that put the pros over the top.
Ahead, we've tapped a few of our favourite PTs for their trade secrets so you can cycle your fitness up a level. What follows is the kind of insider intel you'd normally have to pay for. Our lives have changed for the better since learning them, but the real question is, are you ready for this?
You'll want to take notes, so grab a notebook ($35) then keep scrolling for ten things personal trainers always do (that you don't).
Ben Payne, Platinum Fitness
They never fail to plan.
"I plan my training phases and programs in advance, I plan my training week in advance, I plan my meals, weekly food shop and food prep. I leave nothing to chance and make sure I have everything I need for success."
They stick to the plan, and track their results.
"Most people have the attention span of a gold fish and want results, like yesterday. They tend to try something for a week or two, don't really see the results they're after then bang, they're onto the next new program/diet/supplement. I write a program and follow it to the letter for the prescribed amount of time and I record every weight lifted, every rep, tempos, rest periods, daily calories consumed, water drank, sleep, supplements, etc. I want to know if something has worked or if it hasn't and unless you keep record of what you're doing, how will you know what to change? The journey is sometimes slow and painful, so stick to one thing and ride it out."
Phoebe di Tommaso, Nike trainer
They work out on holidays.
"Holidays might mean time off work, but they definitely don't mean time off from working out! I often train most days I'm away travelling, whether it's a run, or a workout in the hotel gym. The Nike+ Training Club app is my holiday go-to for workouts. I don't need too much space (hello hotel room training!), can train with minimal equipment. I also don't have to put any thought into WHAT I want to do for my workout."
They always warm-up and cool-down.
"This often gets forgotten about. A proper warm-up means a better performance, and in turn, better results from your training. And the cool down (stretches/foam rolling) helps your body recover faster, so you can perform better again next session. Recovery is essential for performance. Taking care of your body in-between training sessions is an integral part of a balanced training program. I really like to look at my training sessions holistically, the 'main workout' part of the training session, is just one piece of the performance puzzle."
Benjamin Lucas, Flow Athletic
They train even when they don’t feel like it.
"It's not every night that you get a great sleep. It's not every day that you feel 100 percent. Personal trainers train on days that they don’t feel awesome because they know results are about consistency not heroics."
They say no, and don't feel bad about it.
"Clients may say they can't refuse certain foods/drinks/desserts or events because they will feel bad about disappointing someone. PTs stick to their nutrition plan no matter what is going on, and they don't feel bad about it."
Stef de Castro, Nike trainer
They mix it up.
"We all have our favourite type of sport or activity and have been told since childhood that 'practice makes perfect'. This saying is definitely true, however we don't have to exclusively train in this particular sport to become better at it. In fact, it is often a variety of training types that will ultimately help you improve in your specific sport or activity. For example, I teach Pilates to a lot of runners. They usually come in and are extremely tight in the hamstrings, weak in the gluteals, and tight through their ITBs. These runners often find significant improvements in their performance after training in different areas such as Pilates."
They drink water...at the right times.
"Something I like to think about when training is proper hydration. Most people are really good at drinking water during their workout, but it's also pre- and post-workout that you need to stay on top of your hydration levels. I used to get headaches quite a bit after training, and I came to the conclusion this was due to poor hydration pre-workout. So a tip from me is to stay hydrated before, during and after your training session."
Ben Young, Platinum Fitness
They move in different ways.
"Movement is so much more global than being 'fit', going for a run, or lifting weights. Most of us move in highly linear ways—we stand up, we sit down and we rarely move our arms away from a keyboard. The stiff tree easily cracks, and when muscles become immobile or weak, the result can be a sore back, tight neck, shoulder impingement or rotator cuff tear. Interestingly, all of these can be ignited by or made worse by common exercises in the gym. Most people can and should draw upon less well known movements to keep their knees, hips, back and shoulders healthy. One of these is the passive hang. Hanging has an amazingly beneficial effect on reversing the destructive forces of gravity on the shoulder. To hang for optimal shoulder health, raise your arms up onto a bar with your palms facing away from you. Squeeze tightly with your grip around the bar and relax every other part of your body. Hold for as long as you can, as often as you can."
Rod Cotty, Platinum Fitness
They make each workout more challenging than the one before.
"Your body will only adapt if you increase the stress/stimulus incrementally—even if it is only one more rep or one more kilo added to the weight."