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How to be your own Trainer (part one)

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Let’s be honest for a second, a lot of people NEED a personal trainer or coach but affording one is not an option. Over the years I have had countless people say that they “Wish they could afford a personal trainer”. Now whether they actually could or not is an issue for another day (i.e. the bloke who can’t afford training but buys a Mercedes 3 weeks later) but I’ve noticed that a lot of people use not affording a trainer as an excuse to do nothing!

So I thought that this article could help those of you who can’t afford a trainer by giving you the tools to succeed.

First Things First

​ You will need a gym membership, I am sorry but training at home will produce poorer results (unless your home gym is worth more than £5000). Make sure that this gym is well equipped and that the equipment is properly maintained, you don’t need to be spending £100 per month but nor should you be searching for the cheapest gym in the area either. Think about it, if all goes to plan you will be spending up to 5 hours per week in this place, so you had better enjoy it!

​ You might also look into buying some equipment to take with you, a gym bag is a good idea (I just use an old rucksack because I have fuck all style) and helps you organise yourself. Squat shoes are a good investment if you’ve been squatting for a while and feel that you could benefit from the extra 1% they offer. Otherwise I’d avoid these.

​ A weight belt is a crucial investment but not necessarily an expensive one (mine cost £12 from Amazon). Liquid chalk is excellent and again CHEAP, just make sure your gym allows it before covering every inch of the gym in it!

​A notebook to record your workouts is also a superb addition. Costs a couple quid and will make a huge difference to your training.

You will also need a calorie tracking device, I use myfitnesspal but there are many out there. Telling people that they should count their calories is quite controversial at the moment but lets cut the bullshit for one second …

If you are not keeping record of what you’re consuming day by day then you will struggle to diet safely*. Cutting foods at random because you think that they are high calorie is a pretty piss poor way to lose weight.

*Now if you have a history of eating disorders or get stressed at the idea of tracking your foods, then please do not use the device. You can still lose body fat without them, it’s just harder to do.

​Goal Setting like a trainer

The first thing you need to establish is why you’re training in the first place, what do you want to achieve? And how long do you have to achieve it? Many people don’t have a specific outcome in mind when they join a gym, yeah they want to lose weight but how much? by what date? If you aren’t measuring progress, and you have no target to aim for how do you know if you’re doing well or not?

So write down a target. It should be:

    • Specific “I want to increase the size of my biceps”
    • Measurable “I want to increase the size from 10 inches to 11 inches”
    • Achievable, in other words don’t expect 42 inch biceps as it is not going to happen.
    • Relevant, why do you want to achieve this target? Do you want bigger biceps because it will make you look better in t-shirts? Is that a good enough reason? If not, should you find a goal that is more suited to you?
    • Timed – When do you want to achieve this by? Make sure you give yourself enough time to achieve it, but not too much time or you will get complacent

These are known as the SMART training principles, and you can apply them to any goal setting exercise.

​ Part Two will contain info on Program Design and Diet, whilst Part Three will look at macro-nutrients, supplements, and motivation

Matt

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