This is the burning question we all want to ask our trainers, so I did just that! The short answer is: it depends. According to Trainer Tom, a personal trainer should provide structure, guidance, and accountability, but ultimately it’s up to the individual to put the work in to see results. His ideal is to challenge and support. He fully understands that life happens despite our best intentions, but don’t think he’ll let you off scot-free! While Tom will never judge you for an extra piece of cake or a missed workout session, he will talk it through with you. This is one of the things I’ve loved about my personal training sessions with Tom; through casual conversations during our training, we often get to the root of my ‘snaccidents’ or missed workout days. For instance, I now realize when I stay up too late I tend to eat poorly the next day, which makes me feel more tired and often leads to skipping a planned workout. The solution? Get to bed on time, of course! However, I do admit that’s not always realistic, so now I have quick healthy snacks on hand for those low energy days. If I still can’t bring myself to climb onto the bike for a spin, then instead of skipping all together I'll swap it for yoga, a walk or something else active, yet low energy-friendly.
Open communication is one of the main ways that Tom keeps his clients on the road to success. As he's fond of pointing out, your trainer sees you more than your mom so they are in an excellent position to keep things in perspective for you. If you're really struggling with a workout, it’s easy to fall into negative thinking like: “I’m so bad at this!”; “I’ve been training for so long and I still can’t do this.”; or “Other people make this look so easy!”. Your trainer (who’s been with you every step of the way) can remind you how far you’ve come — “Struggling with 30 lbs? Amazing! Remember when you started and couldn’t do it with 10 lbs?”
Another famous Tom philosophy is: “When in doubt, zoom out!”. This definitely helps with planning your present and future fitness goals. Feeling sluggish and not sure if you want to workout? Zoom out—does skipping this workout help get you closer to your goal of looking shredded? Obviously that is a direct workout example, but it works for all aspects of life, not just within athletics. Try applying it to your career and social life; ask yourself if that one thing can get you closer to where you want to be within five years and see how things start going your way.
Clients also benefit from nutritional coaching. In order to be effective, diets need to be sustainable for the long term, and with diabetes and obesity being huge risk factors for disease, all of the MoveForward Fitness coaches aim to help their clients understand their nutrition and eating habits. One way to do this is to track your daily calorie intake; another way is to simply be aware of the different food traps out there and learn how to avoid them. A lot of food is marketed as healthy when, in fact, it’s addictive and full of sugar or other unhealthy additives. A great example of this is Cheerios. Plain Cheerios are sold in a brightly coloured yellow box; it looks very kid-friendly and makes us think sugary and addictive, whereas Multigrain Cheerios have “multigrain” right in the title and come in a dark purple box with a heart healthy symbol on it. Of course when we’re trying to choose healthier foods, we’re drawn to the adult-oriented box with the words “multigrain” and “heart healthy” on it! However, can you guess which one is filled with sugar? It’s actually the multigrain ones! Learning to read the labels and understanding what you’re reading can help a lot.
MoveForward Fitness is a firm believer in healthy movement AND healthy diet. The research is ever growing that North Americans don't have the healthiest of diets. Type 2 diabetes used to be referred to as adult onset, as it is caused by diet and was mostly found in adults after years of eating poorly. It is now commonly found in children. Tracking calories and reading labels help ensure a better diet, but that can also be time consuming and not all that easy in our busy lives. A good question to ask yourself is: “Does this food grow in the ground, on a tree, or come from an animal?” Generally speaking, food that fits any or all of the criteria will be better for your health. Fast food is convenient in our fast-paced lives but absolutely does not check off any of the ‘from an animal, ground, or tree’ options. You can try having your meals prepped in advance to better avoid the fast food trap. This is not an easy habit to get into but once you do, it will save you time and ensure your healthy food is just as quick to grab as fast food.
So to reiterate the answer to our question, it will depend on the client’s efforts and mindset towards fitness and nutrition; people with trainers are better prepared for success with guidance, as well as having support on difficult days. So if you are willing to put the work in, you WILL see results!