Lessons Learned From a Personal Trainer

On the weekends, I go to my local gym to shoot some hoops and get a good session of cardio in. Last Saturday, as I approached the front desk, the employee assisting me who happened to be a personal trainer mentioned that I hadn’t used my free personal training session. I agreed to schedule an appointment with her next the week then went on my way to play some hoops.

The next week, I arrive to my appointment and she sits me down discuss my overall fitness goals then from there, we’d determine how we would attack. During this conversation I learned a few things. I mentioned to her that I was taking a class with Stacey at my college gym, which was a circuit training course. What I didn’t expect to hear from her was how detrimental circuit training would be to my fitness goals. As it turns out, 95% of people working out at the gym do some form of circuit training and are all unaware that this method of training over time would actually increase a body’s fat percentage.

At first, this information was a bit annoying and frustrating to hear, but as she went on, everything began to make more sense. Before I began this circuit training class, I was aware of the obvious when training your muscles, and that was to let them recover. I used to be on a routine where I would be in the gym for hours training a specific set of muscle groups for hours and repeat on a different set the next day, etc. Over time, I just couldn’t get myself to the gym because I was spending hours and hours every workout. After failing to follow that routine, I began to gain weight and here I am now, trying to lose it again.

I chose circuit training to keep myself on an efficient and effective routine, opposite of what I was doing in regular strength training for purposes of time. This is where my personal trainer stepped in and showed me what I was doing wrong. In circuit training, while I am getting a good workout, going once a day, or every other day was not giving my muscles the adequate amount of rest they needed. Since my program is tailored to a full body workout, I am tearing down every muscle while failing to let the recover. When it comes to muscle growth, recovery is where takes place the most.

With my old strength training routine, I was seeing the muscle gains I wanted. My routine however, was completely inefficient. So my personal trainer showed me a couple workouts to train specific muscle groups on specific days, and most importantly, she showed me how to make it the most effective in the least amount of time. The biggest lesson I learned was that, you want to work your muscles, and give them adequate time to recover. One or two days is simply not enough time for that to happen.

To understand this better, let’s say I’m on a basic routine, with three sessions per week. On Monday, I’d work out chest and arms, Wednesday would consist of leg workouts, and Friday would be back and core. Obviously, each day in between would be considered a “rest day.” The difference between this type of routine than that of a circuit routine is that I wouldn’t be working out the entire body every gym session. You would think that if I did circuit training 3 days per week just like the basic strength training routine, I would still have a rest day in between. While this is true, the difference lies in how you’re resting your muscles. In strength training, a specific muscle group is worked out, right? The next session trains an entirely different muscle group, and so on. This means that the next time you train your chest and arms, a whole week would need to pass.  Seven days of recovery time as opposed to two.  I’d personally choose seven. This type of training promotes better muscle growth which leads to a lower fat percentage, since muscle weighs more than fat, and muscle burns more calories and increases the body’s metabolism.

After all of this new-found information, I can’t really discredit my circuit training routine too much though. It is an effective and efficient work out and I’m sure I’m burning tons of calories per session. I’m just glad that I gained this new knowledge about muscle growth and recovery. My future blog posts will now consist of comparisons between circuit and strength training and the results they both yield.  Hope this helps out anyone who reads it.  Peace.

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