Learning from and engaging with experts to ensure full understanding and successful outcomes, instead of cutting corners to save money or time, has been a bandwagon I have ridden for more years than I care to recall!
Five weeks ago I had a ‘light-bulb’ moment that made me realise I should follow my own advice and implement that advice within my personal life.
The results have left me (almost) speechless and I would like to share my experience to demonstrate and reinforce the benefits of working with experts.
As we entered 2019, I declared to my family and friends. “This is the year when I will get fit and lose those extra pounds!” I had no idea how I was going to achieve this, because over the last 20 years I have experienced varying degrees of short-term success from gym memberships, fitness regimens and health kicks.
Each time I restarted the process, I jumped onto cardio machines and watched the timers' countdown, in what appeared to be slow motion.
Within a week or two I would lose interest and became bored. I would wake up on 'gym days' with a sense of dread and with no motivation whatsoever.
On the few occasions I did go, the gym staff offered to create personal programs to help me find my way. I was handed exercises written on a card, before I was left to my own devices, which meant that I avoided certain aspects like the squats and lunges, because I was never sure I was doing them right (and they were really difficult!) I also worked around the machines like a robot, unchallenged and unhappy.
I watched others in the gym who were clearly more confident and able than me and I tried to emulate what they did, but I felt awkward and embarrassed. I would go home having ticked the 'go to the gym' box and I used that to justify eating the cake, or drinking the G&T!
Needless to say, I found myself on the proverbial 'treadmill' of trying to get fit, lose weight and be healthy, without making any progress.
I also tried looking through health and fitness magazines, but I could never work out how to copy the bodies exercising in the diagrams, so instead, I just flicked through the articles with coffee and cake!
Then, on 2nd February 2019, everything changed.
I signed up to yet another gym membership, but it didn't take long before I noticed I was going through the same patterns and routines as before. It was at this point that my mistake suddenly dawned on me.
I realised that I was a novice and I did not know anything about the way my body worked, or what was the best way to get fit, get in shape and work out.
In my professional life I am forever banging the drum about engaging with the experts so that they can pass their expertise and knowledge on, while encouraging and supporting learning in others. So why wasn't I engaging with the experts at the gym? Over the years I have invested in my own professional development and learning, so why not invest in my health and fitness? It was suddenly obvious what I had to do!
I had met a few of the gym's personal trainers, so I apprehensively contacted Dennis for an initial consultation. Within minutes it was all set up to start the following day.
That was five weeks ago and it was the best decision that I have ever made!
During the consultation, Dennis took the time to get to know me, my lifestyle and what I was looking to gain from the sessions. He also explained clearly what I would need to do outside of our sessions towards my goal, with the main focus being on a calorie deficit and increasing my daily steps. Simply turning up to the gym was not going to achieve the results alone.
The following day my new personal development journey began and we embarked on our first session.
Over the last five weeks, I have worked harder and smarter in the gym than I ever thought possible. I used a combination of Crossfit, which consists of repeated exercise against a timer to complete as many rounds as possible... dead-lifting weights for 15 reps, then jumping on and off a box for 15 reps, repeating as many times as possible within 12 minutes. Functional training builds strength, power and mobility...walking lunges with weights above my head, or swinging kettle-bells around my body!.
I was completely out of my comfort zone, but Dennis was great. He clearly and patiently explained how to do the exercises, the reasons behind the techniques and what I could expect to achieve.
I have also learned which muscles to work with, to trust the technique and that my wrists were stiff! Dennis has been by my side to guide, correct and support me, ready to step in if the weights got too heavy!
It has truly been an amazing journey so far. I'm completely motivated and it annoys me now if I can't get to the gym! It has also had a positive impact on my day-to-day life. I find I have more energy and focus, both in and out of work.
I still have a lot to learn, so I have decided to continue to invest in myself and my weekly one-hour sessions with Dennis for the foreseeable future.
There is no comparison to my previous gym experiences and I am making long-term life changes as a result of engaging with an expert.
From now on, I have vowed to practice what I preach and continue to invest in myself!
So, if you are having problems with trying to keep fit, or anything else in your life, don't struggle alone... ask the experts, it really is amazing and you never know, you may find yourself becoming an expert as well.
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