I started to share one of my personal training sessions each week with a friend who has been inspired by my development. It’s a very recent thing and something I would recommend for a few reasons (pros and cons listed below please comment if you can think of any more). I find it flattering that I’ve inspired someone to make a change in their life and so I welcomed the request to share a session but secretly wasn’t flattered enough to want to share them all so I’m hoping that awkward ask never materialises. More than being flattered though I’m happy for my friend, she has made excuses about a thyroid problem for so many years and we all know that there are very few true medical problems which make us fat and leave us with no way of addressing the issue. It can be a relief to have a medical condition diagnosed so that we can hide behind it, I’ve often wished for a thyroid problem myself and actually been disappointed when my bloods have come back normal. That’s so sad and I can’t believe I’m admitting it but it’s true and admitting it shows how much I’m winning with this whole obesity nightmare.
So I’m pleased for her, she’s already lost a lot of weight by making dietary changes and moving more so for her to be ready for a beasting at Darren’s hands is great as I know that it will have a huge impact on her progress.
So the pros of sharing your a personal trainer:
1. It makes it more affordable for both of you as most trainers will give you a reduced rate if you are sharing a session or introducing a new client
2. It’s a good way of trying out trainers before fully committing to a long contract with one. I sign a 6 monthly contract with Darren but he was happy to let my friend join in contract free for 8 weeks which is great for her as not every trainer is right for every person. We’re all different which is why one size fits all approaches to diet and exercise are not right for everyone.
3. You can add in the competitive factor to your work outs which makes you give that extra push and work that little bit harder
4. Your trainer can get you working out using one another’s weight and resistance to enhance your exercise… my friend had to drag me on a kids plastic sled around the big classroom in the gym the other day, tied to her waist on a harness. It was a really good laugh and she did so well, so much better with me giggling and cheering her on than if it has been sandbags.
On the downside:
1. It can be difficult to find someone who needs exactly what you need or who is at the same level of fitness you are although a good trainer will manage this well (mine does) without either of you feeling left out or unchallenged.
2. I found that grueling sessions with my trainer brought out a lot of emotional pain and he was often more of a counselor for me in the early days. He got behind my mental barriers and broke them down, he understood that I’d had a lifetime of never believing that I could or that I was worthy and he pushed me to the edge and picked me up when the tears started to pour and the anger locked away in me started to show itself. It may be difficult to do that with a witness so you could miss out on that element of personal training which to me was invaluable. That physical expulsion of years of emotional hurt was a major turning point in my attitude towards food, life, exercise, self image, self esteem, confidence for me and I would not have achieved what I have so far without it.
3. You will have another person’s schedule to work around so there may have to be some give and take with timing of sessions. I know that routine is of huge importance to my success so far and I also know that in the past when I’ve lost weight and been a gym regular, deviations from my usual routine have often been the first step on the road back to hell. So if you do share a session with a friend try to agree a schedule weeks in advance… planning again as I always say, is so important to staying on the right path.
4. Whilst I agree that some healthy competition can be an incentive when working out, sharing a trainer could find you and your friend competing in a less healthy way. I hate competitive weight loss I really don’t think it works, at least not for me. It’s great to get those awards and to be announced slimmer of the week but those weeks when it isn’t you can be really hard and damaging to your progress and also not a true reflection of your efforts. So I would avoid at all costs going into a weight loss comparison with a training partner even thought it could be tempting to do so. Congratulate yourself on your losses, be proud about them and shout about them but don’t compare them with anyone who is doing better or worse than you are.
To end on a positive… the more people you have in your life who get what you are doing, who are trying to do the same, the more support you have and the more people you have to invite round, visit or go out with for healthy lunches and dinners where you can discuss fat content and nutrition to your hearts’ content without anyone getting bored or mocking you is a bonus. Sad but true, people do mock fat people and our enthusiasm for healthy lifestyles, even those who love us the most. I guess some of that comes from us never having succeeded before but each time they should believe and hope and pray that this is the time that it will work and we do deserve their support. In the absence of that, a friend who is going to get as excited about sharing your latest wheat grass harvest with you as you are or who is happy to talk you you through a raging craving to consume your former body weight in chocolate is a real ally in the many battles we fight as we try to win this war.