My personal fitness pal

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Spring term is here; the UW population can finally shed their winter coat cocoons and bare their arms and legs, not in fear of frostbite but of suntans.</p>

Yes, soon everyone will be able to wear shorts, not just those guys around campus who go all year round. Or maybe you’ll be one of those people, like me once upon a time, who are a little hesitant to show some skin.

Whenever I go to the PAC gym, I often see people wearing a T-shirt saying “Look good naked.” I think that’s a pretty clever shirt that encourages a healthy lifestyle. I’ve got to say, I’m pretty lucky I’m not overweight; up until fall of 2014, I was rarely active. I spent the latter half of my high school life focusing on grades, so I never did after-school sports, and honestly I was pretty lazy so I barely went outside. If not for my incredibly picky eating and my mother’s lack of grocery shopping, I probably would have had my freshman 15 the summer before first year.

Now, however, I’m being regularly active for the first time in a long time, and I can attribute it to getting a UW personal trainer.

Posters and advertisements for UW personal trainers can be found around AHS buildings and the UW gyms. There are three packages available for purchase, and sometimes UW Athletics will have a promotion where one session is free, or people already with a trainer can bring along a friend for free.

After doing some research for Mother’s Day, I’ve discovered that the price for personal training at UW is incredibly, ridiculously, reasonable. For comparison: three one-hour sessions at UW will get you a single 90-minute session at UOttawa.

Every package comes with a consultation where you will be matched to one of the various trainers available. This consultation also covers workout goals, any areas of the body you may want to focus on, exercises you are interested in, and any injuries that you may have.

From there, you will meet with your trainer for a free assessment where you’re put through some physical tests to get a measure of your athletic ability. This may include how much you can lift, how long you can hold a plank, how many pushups you can do, et cetera, et cetera.

All of this buildup allows your trainer to create a workout around your likes and abilities. I’ve seen my trainer more than 10 times over the past eight months. Just recently, he gave me a new workout (versus the original one he gave me) that takes into account some pain I’ve been feeling when doing kettlebell swings. So as long as you tell your trainer your concerns, they can easily accommodate your needs.

All UW personal trainers are students; as it turned out, my trainer and I were once in the same psychology class. The trainers, however, do go through interviews and certification, so everyone is professional and knowledgeable.

My good friend Alexander Fernandes also has a personal trainer — he wanted a new workout instead of his usual routine.          “Walking into the gym can be very intimidating with all the equipment,” Fernandes said via email. “The main reason I wanted to try personal training was to feel more comfortable in the gym.”

Walking into the gym can definitely be intimidating your first time, especially if it’s the PAC gym where most of the UW Warriors exercise. If being in such a situation makes you anxious, your trainer can definitely help you out; they are there to train you on how to properly use the various machines and equipment.

A typical session entails you and your trainer going through your devised workout, explaining the exercises and working on form. I have a terrible, terrible habit of shrugging my shoulders during upper body exercises, so my trainer will often stand behind me and hold his hands at my trapezii. Small things like this help me realize where I should keep my elbows or what muscles should be activated.

The UW personal trainers are also able to help any clients out with nutrition goals or concerns. For my most recent sessions, my new goal was to lose weight. My trainer and I became friends on the calorie counting app MyFitnessPal, where he was able to see what I ate throughout the day. Through this, he gave me a daily habit for my diet: replace one source of carbohydrates with a lean protein at breakfast. I have found that because of this habit, I get less hungry as lunch approaches, and I’ve already lost some weight.

My good friend Elizabeth Kalles was my greatest influence to getting a personal trainer — she has had a trainer since her second year of university and I consulted with her on what it was like. Kalles was an athlete in high school, and thus had a more strenuous workout schedule. “[My trainer] helped me create nutrition plans to complement my exercises,” she told me via email.

From first-hand experiences, I saw Kalles prepare some meals her trainer had recommended, and through continuous contact with her trainer, I saw her stick to a regular schedule that resulted in healthy habits.  

UW personal trainers are an excellent way to begin a healthy lifestyle. The gym can be an intimidating place and having a trainer is a comfortable means of entering it. For anyone who has been hesitant to begin working out, this is the perfect time to get started.

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