New Gym Membership + Personal Trainer and Q&A

Where to begin with this post... As you might have noticed on IG, I've been working out with a trainer as of this month and wanted to break down why, what I'm doing, etc, etc and answer some of your questions you submitted as well.

(first image: DYI set // second: Beach Riot set)

My routine before signing up at the gym:
So let's start from the beginning: last year, I decided to do BBG with Andrew, and we completed the program and it kind of reenergized my love for working out. It was hard, but the results were there, and it was an overall great way to get into the gym and get into shape. But it was hard on my joints. It was a very high impact program and actually caused some injury to my knee, so I didn't continue.

Then a few months later I fell into the world of workout classes: yoga, barre, pilates... you name it! And I was hooked. I was on a roll and was getting into the routine of doing Barre3 just about 3x a week, 305 for my cardio and Y7 for my off days. I loved it, and it was a great routine. And February of this year rolls around, and I decided to get into reformer Pilates, and again loved it and saw great results.

The primary issue was all of my classes were in Chelsea or the West Village, and the more I worked from home and the busier my schedule got, the harder it was for me to justify getting down there. I was basically taking a little under 2 hours out of my day to go workout. And while I have a flexible schedule, it wasn't able to hold up as the months got busier. It takes me via bike about 10-15 minutes to get down to my classes (15-20 via car), an hour in the class itself and the same commute back. It just was becoming less and less attainable. 

But it was something I needed to keep up with! I wanted to look my best on my wedding day, and working out was the way to do it. So I started looking for options a little closer to home, and while I have a gym in my building, it didn't offer the things I needed. So I signed up for a gym much closer to me -- one that I knew from my past (was my first place of employment!) and knew was reputable with everything I needed: Lifetime Athletic. 

Signing up at Lifetime Athletic:
So I signed up June 1st and was basically hitting the ground running. We're in the 90-day stretch to the wedding, and this is when it matters the most, people! In addition to the classes offered, I knew I wanted to sign up with a trainer and see a nutrition coach. I just need someone to help guide me, specifically, in the right direction for my body. I only know so much so having someone certified and knowledgeable was something I needed.

When you signup at Lifetime, you get a free intro training session, and that's what I did. From there, we talked about my past, my present, and where I want to be and did a physical assessment. I communicated that I wanted someone to help me get in shape for my wedding, help me with food and proper nutrition, and someone I was able to reach out to outside fo the gym. After that, they suggested the trainer I'm with now, and the rest is history (kind of).

See the thing about BBG and classes is that they're tailored for everyone. And that is great! I loved it, I still go to classes, and I always recommend them. But I wanted something tailored for me and my needs. I wanted someone to correct me and show me how to properly do a workout, someone I could ask about food and what I should be eating after a workout. I just needed a person who knew my goals and was there to help me. So I signed up for a trainer. 

Getting a trainer:
Having a trainer isn't for everyone, and it is for sure, not a cheap option, but I thought for three months, I could swing it. I could get to learn what I need, I could have someone hold me accountable, and I could be motivated to really work hard. There's a saying that no one is more motivated than a soon-to-be bride! #itme

So I'm currently strength training 2x a week (sometimes 3 if I have a rollover session) with my trainer, doing cardio 3x a week (a little more on that below), being more mindful of what I'm eating and trying to stay as active as I can outside of the gym. I'm also going to classes here and there, and I will soon be doing them on a more consistent basis leading up to the wedding!

I'm really locked and loaded here. My goal? It's to just be healthy and happy on my wedding day. I'm not trying to lose any weight, but I am trying to turn my excess fat (that is not needed) into muscle in my body. I love how I look, and I'm just not trying to change that. But I'm trying to be more knowledgeable in areas I'm not like eating and cardio.

I don't run. I don't like running, I never have, I don't have the stamina for it, and it's just not my cup of tea. So I would just skip cardio all together -- I thought it was running or bust and I chose the former. I used to swim here and there or do a cardio class, but probably never enough that it would do anything. But cardio is a big part of working out, and with that, my trainer suggested I do an Active Metabolic Assessment (which is an added fee but very much worth it).

Basically, what the assessment does is it tracks your breathing during a controlled workout and sees at what heart rate you burn the most fat vs. carbs. It's a very in-depth process that I do suggest you read about (or do!), but for the sake of this blog post, I'm just going to link this for you to read on your own time. I remember doing this in high school with my trainer and remembering how high my heart rate is resting (and even higher running) and how hard it was because I had to run for it. Again, not a runner.

So you best believe that when my trainer offered the walking portion of this test, I about jumped for joy. Is it easier? No. But it was something I was able to do. Fun fact: you don't need to go on 8 mile runs to lose weight (it's actually not how you lose weight at all!).

After the test, you go through it with your trainer, and the computer basically gives you your ideal heart rate ranges for workouts, tells you when you're burning the most fat and assigns you a warm-up and daily cardio workouts to fit your lifestyle. We decided to do cardio 3x a week, 30 minutes each session. A 12-minute warm-up (that I also do before training) and a 12-minute cardio interval -- each day changing the routine. Mondays are my easy days, Wednesdays are my hard (like 13% incline at a 4 pace), and Fridays are my in-between. 

What's great is that each day you're set up for cardio, it emails you your workout, and over the weeks, it changes to fit the new you and is designed to help you grow within your routine. I just pop on my apple watch, sync it to the machine and throw on some Bravo, and I have myself a workout. What I really love is that I can just pop over during the day to do it -- 30 minutes roundtrip and be done with it for the day. It's the best. 

What's next:
I plan to continue with my trainer 2x a week, my cardio 3x a week and a sprinkle of classes in between until the wedding in September. I'll probably cancel my training in September and keep the membership until the end of the year -- just to see how often I'm still going and using it. I just know that after the wedding and then the holidays are going to get super busy for me, so I don't want to be spending any extra money on something I'm not taking advantage of. But then again, who knows! Maybe I'll get addicted and keep it up. We will see!

OK, this turned out much longer than planned, so let's hop into the Q&A from Instagram:

Q: Why did you end up getting a trainer?
A: I decided to get one for a variety of reasons, but the main being I want to be in my best shape for the wedding and I needed someone knowledgeable in my goals and nutrition.

Q: What are your objectives? 
A: To be healthy and to look great on my wedding day.

Q: How much running do you do a week?
A: I do cardio 3x a week, and I actually don't run, I walk high-intensity intervals throughout the week based on my heart rate assessment.

Q: Do you have an ideal heart rate to achieve during cardio?
A: I do! It varies each day and within that, each interval but I have a sheet that tells me what heart rate I need to be at for how long.

Q: What time of the day do you workout?
A: It depends on our schedules, but it's usually in the afternoon before my workout. I'm lucky that I control my own schedule. When I had an office job, I worked out after work. 

Q: How many days per week are you training?
A: I train 2x a week, but my schedule has been a little off as of late, so we're rolling over the sessions and making it 2x during the week and 1x on the weekend. 

Q: How did you find your trainer?
A: I found him through my gym (Lifetime). I took a free assessment training session (free with all new sign-ups) and after we talked about my overall goals and wants in a trainer and they suggested someone for me.

Q: Have you worked with a trainer previously?
A: Yes. I used to have a trainer in high school and for a short time in college.

Q: Why a trainer vs. at home/alone?
A: I like having someone more knowledgeable than me helping me target and train for my specific body. It also holds you accountable and helps to have someone there to help you!

Q: What are the costs associated?
A: This is going to vary gym to gym, trainer to trainer, location to location. I will say that it's not cheap -- no one-on-one sessions for anything (pilates, yoga, training) are. 

Q: What is your diet?
A: I'm not dieting. But what is great about my trainer is he is also a certified nutritionist, and he's helping me eat better. His goal for me is to double my protein, cut back on carbs.

Q: Has your appetite increased since working out?
A: YES omg haha I'm ravenous on days when I train. But instead of just filling up on snacks like in the past, I eat double my protein and try to fill up on veggies.

Q: Are you following a nutrition plan?
A: No. We're looking into counting macros during the day to become more knowledgeable about the foods that are good for me and what my body needs but outside of that, no. 

Q: Are your workouts harder than class workouts?
A: I guess this is all relative to the class and the person but my sessions are definitely more challenging because my trainer likes me to be working out at a difficulty of 7 or above (on a scale to 10) and during classes there are times you don't push hard enough and work out at like a 3-4.

Q: Are you still going to classes?
A: Yes! Not as much as I was before, but I'm still doing classes. I hope to get back to 2-3 classes a week -- the issue is just finding the time to go downtown. 

Q: What are some advantages/disadvantages to taking classes?
A: Advantages: they're readily available and accessible. They are affordable, there are a TON of different options, you can go with friends, you're not locked into one workout, it's something different... the list goes on! Disadvantages would be that it's not tailored for you, it doesn't always hit all parts of your body, they can be crowded, you can slack in class and get away with it. 

Q: Do you like it more than classes?
A: It's like comparing apples to oranges -- they are totally different and excellent in their own right. 

Q: Do you see changes?
A: You tell me! It's only been a month, and I was traveling for two weeks during that, but my numbers are excellent, and I feel good!

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