Larry kicked my butt. To be totally honest, I thought I'd breeze through my first session with a personal trainer - I ride my bike five months of the year - but I was in for a big surprise. I showed up at the cozy gym at my Bahamas resort, and soon learned that there are plenty of benefits to having a personal trainer, even if you already have an exercise routine.
Here are five things I learned from my first gym one-on-one:
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1. It's nice to have company while working out. The lovely Larry (a perfect physical specimen, if ever there was one) showed me to the recumbent bike and we had a nice chat about my current fitness regimen, which mostly involves biking around to ice cream parlours and walking a very slow-moving Chihuahua. "You need a personal trainer," he said, with a laugh. I didn't immediately believe him. But as we moved through a varied routine, I started to.
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2. I learned new exercises. Larry took me through squats, weights, resistance training and balance exercises with a bosu ball and sliding discs and even some Pilates machines. All things I've never tried before and some I didn't even know were an option. Trying new things made the workout more fun and less boring, a challenge when you stick to the treadmill. I like the idea of someone who knows what they're doing giving me a well-rounded routine to follow. The only tough part was that I couldn't bail early on the reps which, I guess, is the whole point.
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3. I worked parts of my body I've never worked before. Did you know you're supposed to exercise your shoulders? I honestly had no idea. In manageable, yet challenging, increments Larry helped me target muscle groups all over my body. I usually feel good after a bike ride or a session on the treadmill, but this felt closer to how I feel after an intense yoga class: balanced and exhausted in all of the right places.
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4. I was forced to push myself. Larry forced me to do slightly uncomfortable things, the very things that will help someone improve their fitness level. Do I love doing lunges while holding 10-pound weights? Nope. Do I love resistance-band training that reminds me that I mostly use my butt for sitting? Nope. And did I feel absolutely amazing after my 45-minute workout? Yep.
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5. I got a great reality check. Working out with a trainer made me realize I need to vary my workout routine considerably. While sitting on the beach, examining other women's bodies (come on, we all do it), I realized I'm not really worried about sculpting any particular figure. What I would really like is to feel fit, both stronger all over and lighter on my feet. I've felt this way in the past, and I know it's a better way to live. So my session with Larry has opened my eyes and inspired me to spend a little more time on my physical health this summer. That is, when I'm not biking around eating ice cream.
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