Personal training yourself

Personal Training Yourself: The Three Tenets of Fitness Success

Personal training yourself is tempting to do.

In fact, 99.987% of people who exercise are their very own personal trainers. Have you ever tried personal training yourself?

Ok, I made that statistic up. But think about. If you do not have a personal trainer, then you are personal training yourself. And if you are going to begin personal training yourself, then you ought to know a thing or two about personal training to make sure you are successful!

 In this article, I am going to lay out three of the biggest principles for fitness success. Every great personal trainer knows these principles, and if you want to take control of your health and fitness, you need to know them too.

Here we go.

Fitness Principle of Personal Training Yourself #1: Progressive Overload

Progressive overload is really a simple concept. It means that overtime, you need to do more work in order to keep progressing.

There is a great mythological story about a man named Milo. He had a baby calf, and every day, in order to work on his health and fitness, he would carry this baby calf to the top of a hill. Just as animals do, every day this baby calf grew and grew. But every day, this man carried the calf to the top of the hill. Soon it was not a baby calf anymore, but an adolescent calf, if you will. It was getting bigger, heavier, and harder to carry. But the man carried it to the top of the hill, every day.

Soon the calf was no longer a calf at all, it was a cow.

The man picked up the cow and carried it to the top of the hill, every day. A full grown, adult, mature cow! Can you imagine?

Could he have carried a cow to the top of a hill before he obtained the baby calf? Of course not, that is absurd. But, because he started with the baby calf, he began adding strength to his body. And everyday the calf got bigger, and he got a little bit stronger. As the calf grew, it became more difficult to carry, but he was stronger because of what he had done the day before.

Now imagine if instead he carried a bag of rocks to the top of the hill. If he never added any weight to that bag of rocks, he would soon stop growing stronger. Instead, because he carried a tiny bit more weight up that hill every day, his strength, endurance, and health and fitness grew and grew.

So to it is with our health and fitness. If we do the same thing every day, we will soon stop progressing. This applies to all areas of our health and fitness. Strength training in the weight room, and “cardio” as well.

If you want to stay the same, do the same thing every day. If you want to grow, change, and the push the boundaries of who you are and who you can become, challenge yourself and keep pushing.

And if you are personal training yourself, know and apply this principle with diligence.

Fitness Principle #2: Recovery

Here is something that most people do not know. Working out is the first domino in the process of improving your health and fitness. But working out itself is not when or how your body actually improves. It is during recovery from exercise that your body actually improves.

The technical word for improvement is “adaptation.” We say that the body adapts to exercise.

Think of it like an old blacksmith making a sword. First, he thrusts the iron into the fire. The iron becomes so hard it melts. Then he fashions it in the shape of a sword. Once it cools, and only once it cools, does it become a usable sword. Until then, it is hot, gooey iron.
Working out is like thrusting yourself into the fire. You are making yourself shapeable. The type of workout you do is like deciding what to do with the hot iron. Do you want a hammer? A sword? Each type of workout has a different effect, or adaptation, on your body.

Recovery is like letting the iron cool. It happens after the work is done, and that is when the gain is actually realized.

Ok, Kyle, that is a great analogy. But what the heck are you really saying?

If your recovery sucks, you will not reap the most benefit from your exercise. Instead of getting 1% better from your workout, you might only get 0.1% better. Now compound that effect over years and decades, and your overall quality of life will be significantly hampered.

You need to maximize recovery in order to maximize your health and fitness.

How can you do that?

There are three primary ways to maximize your recovery: sleep, nutrition, and stress management.

Look, I don’t make the rules. I would love to be able sleep two hours and be just as healthy as if I slept eight or ten hours. But that’s just not the case. If you don’t sleep, you pay. Plain and simple.

Nutrition is also key. As our body is trying to rebuild from a workout, it needs building blocks. Those are the foods we eat. Our food nourishes us. If you are not well nourished, your body is not healthy enough to rebuild from exercise maximally, and you leave improvement on the table.

Again, I don’t make the rules. It would be great to eat terribly and still be healthy and amazingly fit. It just doesn’t work that way.

Stress management is the last critical element of recovery. Plain and simple, when you are stressed, your body is in fight or flight mode. When your body is in fight or flight mode, it is not in recovery from exercise and become more bad ass mode. That is a problem.

So whatever stressors you have, be it from work, financial, relationships, or whatever, try and resolve them as best you can. Or, at least, try and find stress management techniques, like massage or otherwise, so you can enter the recovery mode and not be stuck in fight or flight mode for life.

Sounds crazy, I know, but trust me, it is the real deal. There is a great book called Why Zebras Don’t Get Ulcers that details how stress actually causes basically every illness known to mankind (except cancer. Go figure.).

If you are personal training yourself, then know how to manage your stress levels for optimal results.

Fitness Principle #3: Grace

Look, nobody is perfect, right? You are going to have hiccups. You will miss a workout or two, or have a piece of cake. Heck, some days you will feel tired, and you may even skip a whole week of workouts.

But you know what? Being a personal trainer is a lot about being motivational and inspirational. So if you are personal training yourself, motivate and inspire yourself to get back on track!

Because the people who have the most success are not the ones who never deviate. No, those people are robots (in a good way).

Instead, the people who have the most success are those who give themselves grace. When they get off track, they pat themselves on the back, say “that’s OK,” and then get their butts back on the program.

If you are the person who has one cookie and then says “screw it. It’s over. My fitness is ruined. I’m never working out again.” Well, then, you probably will never workout again.

But what if you had one cookie, and then went on to complete 150 workouts that year? Then guess what…who cares about that cookie?

These are the three tenets of fitness success. (H1)

If you’d like expert help in your own personal training, schedule your first session with us for just $1 today!