Putting the ‘personal’ back into Personal Training
When you think about personal training, what does it consist of?
- You meet with your trainer.
- Your trainer takes you through a workout.
- You part.
- You meet again for the next workout.
Does that sound about right?
What’s ‘personal’ about it? You get your own trainer to take you round, you don’t have to think about it, you just do what they say. Anything else?
Not really. In many cases, you’re simply paying for a training buddy. That trainer may not
- Help you and support you through all the other changes you need to make.
- Set goals and then measure and monitor your progress.
- Give you constant support both in and out of the gym.
- Measure your movement and posture and then improve it.
- Have the knowledge and experience to help you reach your specific goals.
- Be able to take you through the workout they have designed because the equipment is being used in a crowded gym.
The experience you’ll receive at Life Force Fitness is very different.
To show you why we’re different, we’ll take you through the experience of one of our clients.
But first, this is why we’re different…
Why we’re different
Why do we get good results? Because reaching your health and fitness goals, and weight loss in particular, is much more than just ‘training’. Training is important, but does it guarantee results? Absolutely not. You can train hard, but you may not get results if you:
- Eat badly.
- Lose focus and drop off.
- Get injured because your movement or posture are poor.
- Can never find the time to make your sessions.
- Don’t define your goals and measure progress towards them.
- Have complex requirements and your coach does not have the experience.
- Can never seem to get on the equipment you need.
Our approach and our programmes are designed to give you everything you need to succeed. You’re given all the tools you need to overcome these challenges.
Let’s take you through a typical programme.
Typical Client Journey
This is the standard client journey through a Life Force Fitness Programme
- Appointment 1: Set up for Success.
- Appointment 2: Nutrition Coaching.
- Appointment 3: Movement Screen.
- Ongoing Programme
- Programme Element 1: Training sessions.
- Programme Element 2: Weekly report.
- Programme Element 3: Check-in and check-in report.
We set you up for success
All our clients go through an on-boarding process that greatly improves the chances of success. This on-boarding includes the following elements.
Onboarding appointment 1: Set up for Success
In this 90 minute session we will take the following benchmark measurements
- Body parts – chest, waist, hips, shoulders, arms, legs.
- Body composition – taken using our Accuniq body composition scanner.
- Health markers, including blood glucose and blood pressure.
- Nutrition coaching and planning.
- Posture and movement screening.
In the Set up for Success, we’ll also perform
- A lifestyle evaluation.
- An activity analysis to determine calorie burn and opportunities to create time.
This session enables us to design a programme that is entirely bespoke. There is nothing that is ‘cookie cutter’. We gather all the information we need about you to enable us to design specifically for you.
Onboarding appointment 2: Nutrition coaching and planning
Nutrition is at least half the battle with any health and fitness goal. Most of our clients say this is the bit they need more help with.
In this 2-hour session, you will receive
- Some ‘theory’. That is, purely educational facts and figures about food. It includes tips and examples for eating the right way.
- Food planning. It’s you and the coach, figuring out your calorie allowance, what you can eat, what you like to eat and putting together an eating plan that hits your calorie and nutrient targets.
- A personal calorie target; a recipe book; meal ideas personalised to your calorie target; a recommended foods list; ongoing activities to practise and embed the learning for life.
Onboarding appointment 3: Posture and movement screen
We need to know your capabilities and your limitations. That way we can keep you safe and work you hard on the things you are able to do. We use the Functional Movement Screen to measure your movement and we use static photos to assess your posture.
During the programme we’ll help you move better and look better by straightening you up.
You’ll get everything you need on the journey
Once the on-boarding process is complete, then the training begins. You’ll find everything you need to keep you motivated and on track.
Programme elements 2 & 3: Measure, monitor, motivate
We don’t just set you up and then train you. We give you ongoing support.
On our private programmes you will receive
- A weekly progress report charting your progress against goals and issuing any adjustment to your calorie target as a result of losing weight. See below example of weekly report.
- A monthly check in where we take some more photos and re-measure everything
- A monthly report detailing your progress in all the things we’ve measured – see below example of check-in report
- Ongoing support through texts, emails, and ad-hoc conversations and investigations.
The right environment
We have a private studio. There is no gym membership, nobody can come and go. The only people training in there are private clients. That means there will be, at most, 3 clients and 3 coaches at any one time. No hordes. No intimidating people. No prying eyes. You can be as noisy and as undignified as you like.
And what’s more, our studio is well equipped. It’s not just a few dumbbells in the corner. We have a lot of kit and everything you could possibly need to reach your goals. And because there are few people in the studio, you’ll always find you have access the equipment required for your workout plan.
Visit our home page to have a look at the panorama and see what we have in the studio.
A Case Study: Ray
To bring all these components to life, we’ll take you through what we did for a real client: Ray.
When Ray came to us, he had been living a sedentary lifestyle since finishing his football refereeing career. He
- Was overweight
- Had type 2 diabetes
- Was very stiff and immobile
- Had poor posture
- Was worried about his health
- Had lost his mojo
He signed up to train twice a week for 6 months.
Here’s what we did first when Ray first signed up…
Ray’s set up for success
In Ray’s Set up, we:
- Took some photos – see below.
- Measured his weight: 13st 10lbs or 87.2kg.
- Took some body measurements (in inches). Chest: 40.5; Waist: 41; Hips: 39; Arms: 11.5; Legs: 19.75.
- Measured his body composition: Muscle mass: 35.2 Fat mass: 24.2; % body fat 27.8.
- Got to understand his drivers and motivations in detail.
- Established his goals. He wanted to
- Get to 12.5 stones.
- Get his blood sugar in normal ranges.
- Develop flexibility and strength.
- Look better.
- Feel better.
- Be more active.
- Found out all about his lifestyle – alcohol intake, caffeine, sleep, stress, activities, diet.
- Talked through his list of previous injuries and current pains. We learned that he had previously broken a leg, torn his calf and hamstrings, had had lower back pain and currently suffered from neck and shoulder pain.
Ray’s nutrition coaching
Ray’s nutrition education had four parts. The first three were done with Ray in the same room on a big screen. The last was done by Ray during the programme, but with our support.
We took Ray through our standard nutrition coaching, which includes facts and tips on
- Energy balance and macronutrients.
- Hormones, especially insulin.
- Glycaemic index and sugar.
- Feeling satisfied whilst in calorie deficit: good food choices.
- The reward response and cravings.
- Adherence and permanent change.
Calorie target and meal breakdown
Based on Ray’s weight, lean bodyweight and activity levels, we were able to specify Ray’s targets for calories, protein, fat and carbohydrate.
We also helped Ray devise a meal schedule that fitted in with his lifestyle.
Finally, we constructed a meal plan that enabled Ray to hit his targets within the structure of the meal schedule. The meal plan is simply a set of numbers to aim for. At this stage, no actual foods had been discussed. That bit came next.
This is what we came up with for Ray. It has enough protein to help him build or maintain muscle, and the calorie target would enable him to lose just over a lb per week.
Example day’s eating
Using the meal plan just devised, we worked with Ray to come up with a sample day’s eating. Although we encouraged Ray to swap out foods that would hinder his ability to achieve his goals, we made sure that the chosen foods were actually something Ray would eat.
By the end of this session we had sample meals for an entire day, each meal hitting the targets and aligned with the advice given in the food theory.
With any new approach, it takes time and practice to become good at it. And so it is with eating well to reach your goals and maintain. Although the food coaching and sample meal creation is critical, it’s a bit like passing your driving test: it doesn’t make you a good driver. You only become good when you practise.
That’s why we ask our clients to log their food and weigh it. Doing that helps them really learn about food and portion sizes. That’s how they educate themselves for life and develop good habits.
Ray dutifully logged his food and we passed comment on his log from time to time to make sure he continued to make the right choices.
Posture and movement screening
Static posture assessment
At the start of the programme, Ray’s posture looked like this. We’ll use four orientations – front, right, left, rear – to fully assess a client’s posture. In this instance, based on the right and front views, the obvious postural issues Ray has are:
- Rounded upper back and forward head.
- Anteriorly tilted pelvis.
- Hands rotated inwards indicating shoulder internal rotation.
- Left shoulder higher than the right.
- Hips externally rotated as indicated by the knees.
The early part programme was designed to address these issues.
This was Ray’s movement screen at the start of the programme. You’ll see that Ray scored badly in a lot of movements. In short, he lacked mobility. Years of being sedentary and sitting a lot had bade him stiff.
We use the FMS system for assessing movement, as well as the FMS approach to correction. Usually the posture assessment aligns well with the movement assessment and the correction approach will address both. And so it was with Ray. We devised a correction strategy that would address both posture and movement.
The aim of the programme design was to
- Initially emphasise movement correction, with some strength work on movements that were safe for Ray.
- Gradually shift the balance from correction to strength.
- Enable Ray ultimately to move well and build strength and stamina.
Training has to be at the right level for the individual. For Ray, we made sure there was sufficient challenge that progressions would be made. But we also made sure the challenge was not so great that failure would be frequent. We needed to build confidence.
Ray was often trepidatious about new exercises but, invariably, he did a great job and rose to the challenge every time. He developed a mental toughness that carried through into his everyday life. In that way he became less sensitive to, and more able to cope with, stress.
We gradually got Ray moving, and moving well, with confidence.
Take a look at the first video below to see what Ray was able to do by the end!
Here’s a summary of Ray’s achievements
- Weight: Ray lost just under 2 stones and smashed his 12 and a half stone target.
- Body fat: Down from 24.2 to 16.1kg.
- % body fat: Down from 27.8 to 21.3%.
- % muscle: Up from 40.1 to 44.2%.
- Visceral fat: Down from 3.9 to 2.3kg.
- Biological age: Down from 62 to 61.
The eagle-eyed amongst you may have spotted Ray’s muscle mass numbers are down. This is a feature of the bio-electrical impedance (BEI) approach to body composition analysis. BEI is very sensitive to hydration and, since water is stored in muscle, muscle mass figures tend to rise and fall with the water numbers. When Ray signed up he had some oedema caused by his type 2 diabetes. As his blood control improved he dropped some of that water. For this reason his muscle is showing down. In reality, he will likely have retained or even gained muscle given the increases we observed in his strength.
What we see with other clients is much more stable body water. When body water comes in the same, we see very accurate and reliable figures for muscle. There’s a good example in the sample check-in report above which shows that Sara’s water is identical in the final and first check-ins and that we can reliably say that Sara gained 0.3 kg muscle during her programme.
To ensure our clients get consistent readings from check-in to check-in, we ask them to come in at the same time of day and observe the same kind of prior eating and drinking pattern each time, with a request to arrive hydrated. In Ray’s case, because of his alleviated oedema, he was never going to return to previous body water levels.
Ray lost over 5 inches off his waist. His other measurements – chest, arms, legs – were a little bit smaller than at the start, which is consistent with small amounts of body fat reduction and muscle retention. Interestingly, his shoulders increased in width by over an inch!
Ray achieved a healthy Body Mass Index and improved his hip to waist ratio. Most importantly of all, he achieved a blood sugar reading which was normal.
This is how Ray looked after the programme. You can see that most of the observations have been improved or removed. There was still work to do but the observed improvements helped Ray to stand taller, feel more confident and move better.
As you’ll see in the video, Ray was moving well by the end. In fact he was doing things he never thought he’d be capable of.
The impact on Ray
You only have to see the quotes from Ray and hear the testimonial so understand the impact this programme had on Ray’s life.
This is what he had to say:
“The whole programme has been totally life changing for me”
“If you are focused, determine, self-disciplined and committed, and with the expert support and advice of this programme, then you can achieve the impossible”
“I’ve lost over two stones in weight. Really importantly, I have reversed my type 2 diabetes which is absolutely fantastic, I’m over the moon about that”
“I will be eternally grateful for the part Life Force Fitness has played in saving my life”
Watch the video to hear it directly from Ray.
The key message
If you want to achieve your health and fitness goals, you need more than just ‘training’. You need
- The right training tailored to your capabilities.
- Food knowledge and adherence to a calorie plan.
- To avoid injury caused by poor posture on inappropriate activities.
- To make it sustainable with permanent lifestyle changes.
- Goal setting, goal monitoring and ongoing support.
A good personal trainer should be more than a drill sergeant or a training buddy. They should offer a service that is much more than that. It should educate, support and inspire but, above all, it should be personalised to you.