I started a series last year called – So You Want To Be A Personal Trainer? – with the first (and so far only) post being about memorising your session plans and I’ve been meaning to share a ton more but you know, life.
But now seems as good a time as any to share this post about fitting in your own training as me personally, well, I’m struggling. I don’t have a schedule as heavy as many studio instructors I know but to be honest, I don’t know how they do it. Currently, my main issue comes from teaching a double Lift class every Thursday morning. Lift is as I say, “the Frame version of Bodypump”. Each class is 45 minutes and although I usually use intermediate or even beginner weights sometimes, it still is quite a workout. Twice over.
So this post is sharing with you the issues I’ve dealt with around fitting in my own training and the choice I’ve made to get the balance right…
I’m Over The 5am Alarm
After sharing all my survival tips for those early wake ups on the blog, I’ve come to the realisation that I can’t actually do it anymore. But maybe can’t is the wrong word. I won’t do it anymore. My schedule since being at University has meant I’m often in classes till 9pm for up to two nights a week plus teaching in the evenings so early mornings don’t make sense for me and don’t in any way help me to create a routine. My Thursdays became half a day as I’d have to travel back home, have a nap and then spend a few hours working before getting ready to head back into town for lectures. So as I’m about a month away from starting my second year at University, I made the choice to no longer teach in the mornings.
Your Body Comes First
This one might need to be a blog post on it’s own when I think about all the small injuries I’ve racked up! Right now, I have a fair bit of discomfort in my neck and shoulders (from pulling a tiny muscle in my neck while in bed) and a hip flexor / rectus femoris which reminds me of its painful existence each and every time I lunge. Thinking back, there were a few weeks where I could barely move my wrist without pain; I just about managed to squeeze some rest in along with some treatment with a Sports Therapist and doing the prescribed strengthening exercises. Then there was the pulled rotator cuff which meant I couldn’t move my arm at all. And most of this, I had to teach through.
Anna, a Personal Trainer and class instructor made a great point when she said that “having an injury is already draining physically and mentally and so it’s harder to find the energy [for fitting in your own training] when you’ve been focusing on your clients”. Like me, Anna has had to continue working through injuries and rehabbing around her teaching schedule.
Fitting in Your Own Training is a Nightmare
If you’re lucky enough not to pick up any injuries then there is always the issue of when to fit in your training and then finding the energy to do so. I remember last year when I was training for my ride to Paris, I had to schedule my rides around my Lift classes to ensure I was recovered enough. Usually my long rides were on Sundays so when it came to leaving for Paris on a Friday I forgot how sore my legs would be from class the day before! Right now, I want to focus on my cycling, get back to running a little more and lift weights / go to crossfit style classes around my cardio / endurance training rather than the other way round.
Running Coach, Lauren shared with me that “I’ve resigned myself to the fact that now isn’t the time for me to push for my PBs. If they come that’s great, but I get as much joy seeing my runners achieve their goals.”
But It’s Not All About You…
I know exactly where Anna is coming from when she says “I get as much joy seeing my runners achieve their goals [if I’m not getting my own PB’s]”. For me, I love seeing women especially, come to their first lift class and get to grips with everything and within a few weeks, then months, are smashing the moves they never thought they could do! And the lack of confidence that comes when someone says “it’s my first time in this class”... I love seeing that disappear after getting the 30 minute MetCon class, or 45 minute Power Row class done and with a smile on their face!
We preach to our clients that overtraining is not cool, so as professionals we should surely practice what we preach?! But it’s also important to remember that different people have different tolerance levels for the amount and intensity of activity they can do in a week…
If teaching your classes means that you have to do the workout too then be mindful of the movements you’re doing. If you’re carrying an injury limit the demonstrations you do and reduce the weights for exercises that may aggravate the injury.
If you don’t have to train when you work then fitting in your training at the start of the day or later in the evening may be the way to go. Running Coach Nicola suggests tacking on some extra miles (or reps) at the end of your group session… She say’s “It can be hard to fit in my own training when I’m running twice a week with my groups as I run at their pace or the pace of the slowest runner (I make the faster runners do out and backs). What I have done in the past is do the group session and then add another mile or two on at the end just on my own. It does mean I’ve had a pause in the running to do the cool downs and chat but it has worked out in the past.”
If you don’t have any specific goals then it’s worth thinking about balancing out your own sessions with what you teach. So if you teach Pilates multiple times a week, then try adding some cardiovascular training in with activities like running, cycling or swimming. Even scheduling in training sessions with friends is one way to stay accountable, and social!
If you already teach, how do you find balance?