Thinking about booking in with a personal trainer? We caught up with Fernwood’s most awarded personal trainers for the low-down on what to expect and how you can achieve your best results.
Lucinda Burr - Fernwood Carindale
FW: Why are goals important?
LB: Goals make us push ourselves and continue to achieve. How many people do you see walking on the treadmill, day in, day out, going through the motions? If you don’t know where you’re going, you’re not going to be in a rush to get there. When I walk into the weights room, I have in my head what I can achieve now and what I want to achieve next. It makes me want to keep working out.
FW: How do you approach goal setting with clients?
LB: I follow the SMART acronym (specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and timely) as a guideline. If they [the client] want to lose weight, it’s important to be specific and have a timeframe. “I’d like to lose weight” becomes “I’d like to lose 15 kilograms and fit into the size 12 dress that I have bought for my son’s wedding in April next year”. Then we have something to work with!
Performance-based goals can help people to appreciate all the extraordinary things that exercise is doing to their body and mindset, instead of getting caught up on a number on the scales. For example, “In six weeks I want to be able to dead lift 70 kilograms” (she did it, too!).
Setting smaller goals within a long-term goal can keep people motivated and discourage them from giving up. Non-food and non-alcohol rewards, such as massages and new gym gear, are good motivators along the way. I also encourage my clients to write their goals down and put them up somewhere they can see them daily, like the bathroom mirror or fridge.
Jackie Sukkar - Fernwood Underwood
FW: What can someone who has never trained with a PT expect?
JS: Firstly, we discuss health history. Have they had knee replacement surgery or suffered from whiplash or weak pelvic floor muscles? Then we look at exercise, what they’ve done in the past and what they are doing now. Then we jump straight into it – usually two leg exercises, one chest and one back exercise, focusing on what the client can do properly. If they can already squat, then great, we’ll add some weights, then we’ll add squat and shoulder presses, then we’ll throw in the bosu ball.
I design a plan to measure their weaknesses and measure their progress. In the first three or four weeks, we work on breathing, technique, switching on the muscles and getting everything right. Each week I’ll make it harder. You’ll be surprised at what you can achieve in four weeks of personal training.
FW: What do you encourage your clients to do outside of the gym to help them reach their goals?
JS: Have a healthy breakfast or lunch before coming to the gym! Weight loss and health is 70 per cent food, so you can’t come to PT after a burger and fries and then wonder why you’re sick during the session. Getting enough quality sleep is important, too.
I give clients exercises they can do on their own in the gym. I also ask if there’s anybody supporting them through the process – anyone at home doing the same sort of thing. I’ll also introduce them to other clients at the gym so they can go to a class together. I try to get them with people who are on the same wavelength as them.
Bring a water bottle, towel, appropriate shoes and clothing for exercise, and a positive attitude!
Hayley Williamson - Fernwood Salisbury
FW: Which exercises do you favour?
HW: I really love full body compound exercises because they are time efficient and burn far more kilojoules than isolation exercises. Because they work multiple muscle groups at a time, you can work your whole body in five to 10 exercises. My favourites are renegade rows, clean and press, front squat and the dumbbell chest press.
FW: What attitude is needed to get the results you are looking for?
HW: To successfully train with a PT, you need to be open-minded and have a “can do” attitude. There is a wealth of information available on the internet, but not all of it is accurate, so to get results you need to forget what you might know and listen to and trust your trainer. You also need to need to be willing to put in the hard work – not only during your PT session, but also with the homework your PT will give you.
FW: What are some of the biggest transformations you have seen?
HW: My most memorable transformations are of clients who have come to the gym feeling unhappy and overweight, and once they start personal training they slowly start to change their lifestyle. Before you know it they have dropped a few dress sizes, but most importantly, their outlook on life has changed and they become confident, happy and outgoing women. Being able to use exercise as medicine is also very rewarding. Clients come in after an operation with little movement and lots of pain. We work together and they go from struggling to walk, to running, pain-free.
Liz Yochum - Fernwood Mitcham
FW: What are the advantages of training with a PT?
LY: A personal trainer will usually push a client further than the client would push herself, and keep her accountable. It’s easy to talk yourself out of going to the gym, but much harder when you know there is someone waiting for you!
A PT can help with correct technique during exercise, to minimise the risk of injury. They can also assist with adhering to physiotherapist programs and rehabilitation following injury or surgery.
There’s the social aspect of not training on your own, too. We can suggest classes that best suit a client, or introduce her to potential gym buddies.
FW: How do you keep ideas fresh and ensure clients are challenged and enthused?
LY: I know that if I am starting to feel stale then I know it won’t be long before that will show to my clients, so I regularly research for exercise ideas, rehab exercises, information on injury management or prevention, and I attend courses during the year in to maximise their training experience.
Watching how other personal trainers design their programs can change the way I may look at a client’s goal direction or exercise program. And I can’t emphasise enough how important it is to listen to my clients. Learning about injuries, health issues, emotional balance and other things which impact on their life and on their exercise program can be enlightening.
FW: How do you get clients back on the horse if they are struggling to attain a goal?
LY: I never use the word “fail” in my vocabulary! I always stress progress. If a goal is becoming too stressful or life is taking over, then we discuss strategies to cope with the stress or what is happening in her life. We may focus on something else until she is ready to revisit it again.
I try to make sessions enjoyable and challenging, but also a time when the client is doing something for herself. We revisit small fitness tests, positive food and lifestyle changes regularly to maintain focus.