Meet Tony, back in November Tony came through the doors of Pure Fitness, took up a membership and purchased 10 personal training sessions with myself. He claimed to be a beginner and didn’t really know what to do. From session 1 I opened up a whole new world to Tony, changing his whole outlook on training and how to approach every rep, set and session. It was safe to say he had the fitness bug from day one.
Being a very intelligent man, I don’t just see him take one step closer to his goal, I see him sprinting towards that goal from session to session. Tony’s progression has accelerated impressively; taking in new knowledge every session launched him from beginner to intermediate in such a short time. He’s an amazing client to work with and brightens up my Wednesdays without fail! Here’s Tony’s story, enjoy!
Why do I need to get fit?
I’d been a maths teacher for 35 years so I’d stood up for most of that time. If you’re pushing your students as you should then there will always somebody with their hand up asking for help so you’re walking around the classroom all day. I wore a pedometer for a few days once and I covered at least 5km at work every day. I was at a big advantage because I didn’t sit on my backside at a desk job all day for 35 years, but now I’d retired I was worried that I would lose that advantage.
I nursed my father last year just before he died aged 85. Since retirement, he’d done little but watch TV. He hadn’t gained weight (people of that war generation tend not to over-eat) but his muscles were wasted to the extent that he didn’t have the strength to get out of the chair.
I went for a BUPA assessment and was really pleased to hear that I had the lung function of a 35 year-old (not bad for 60) but I was also warned that my upper body strength was a cause for concern. I thought of my dad’s inability to get out of his chair and decided it was time to do something about it. I was a regular walker – preferring to leave the car at home if I wasn’t going far – but that wasn’t doing anything to help my core, let alone my upper body.
Why join a gym?
I’d never been encouraged at team sports at school (me and the fat lad were always last to be picked) but I was good at cross-country running. At university in the 70’s I took up jogging around Woodhouse Moor in Leeds with a mate of mine (jogging was just beginning then), but once I started work that ended. I swam from time to time but found it boring. Over the years I had joined various gyms but I’d never kept it up for long. As I was slim I think it lulled me into a false sense of security – but I clearly wasn’t really fit.
A lack of core strength might come from Yoga (which I tried) but to really increase my upper body strength a gym was the answer.
What’s special about Pure Fitness?
I gave up on another gym last year. I’d signed up for 12 months but rarely went. It was miserable, not very clean and the changing rooms were freezing. I was given a workout plan to be getting on with and left to my own devices. It was boring as hell and I didn’t seem to be making progress so I gave up.
When I walked into Pure Fitness things were very different; everything was so clean, organised and efficient. It seemed that no expense had been spared to install great gear – from the gym equipment to the changing facilities to the showers. One of the main impressions that sold me on it was of the staff. Apart from being friendly, welcoming and cheerful they looked great. At my previous gym the staff looked like Michelin Men and more than a little intimidating. I know they were well-qualified and I’m sure they were great at what they did but they looked as though they would get you lifting 50kg on your first session and leaving only when you were muscled enough for your thighs to rub together. First impressions are important and the men and women who work at Pure Fitness are so approachable. I’ve only been going for a few weeks but everyone knows me by name and asks me how I’m doing all the time and that makes me feel great before I even begin.
Why pay for a Personal Trainer?
Having used gyms before – but not kept it up – I decided that a personal trainer might be the way to go. I bit the bullet and paid for 10 sessions on the same day that I joined; it was the best thing I ever did!
Before my first session with Oliver began we went through what I was hoping to achieve and discussed any medical or fitness concerns that I had (I had issues with a knee and a shoulder that had both undergone physiotherapy in the past but that still caused problems). Oliver’s first session was clearly an assessment of what makes me tick, but he expertly pushed me to tease out the fine details. As a teacher myself I know how important initial assessment is, otherwise it’s impossible to ensure progress. I left the gym feeling exhausted, happy and very impressed; personal trainers know their stuff!
I booked Oliver for three times a week – Monday, Wednesday and Friday – for the first 10 sessions, and it really paid off. It enabled him to assess areas of development for every part of my body yet focus on those needing particular attention when required. It also made sure that I got to know how to use most of the gym equipment quickly, rather than being tempted to try things out that I’d seen others doing when it might not be right for me. I practised what he’d shown me on Tuesday and Thursday and had the weekends off.
Both my knee joint and the shoulder where I’d broken my arm a few years back soon began to cause me grief but Oliver had exercises that worked wonders – strengthening the surrounding muscles to offer support as well as showing me how to knead the muscles with everything from a golf ball to a foam roller. Six weeks later my knee and shoulder are working brilliantly; Oliver has done a much better job on them than the weeks of physiotherapy I’d had previously.
I’d always suffered from cramp in my foot when kneeling and sitting back on my heels and this cropped up again when he was getting me to do some stretching after a gym session. My Yoga teacher had told me to avoid that exercise but Oliver laughed and insisted that cramp is to be defeated not simply avoided. Sure enough he was right, and the exercises he taught me soon eliminated it altogether.
In summary, I’ve learnt that a personal trainer can really tailor exercises to improve your stamina, to target problem areas and train you to exercise safely and efficiently. I now see Oliver once a week and apart from tweaking my exercise programme he shows me something new each week – challenging muscles that I didn’t know existed, coaxing more out of me in terms of cardio work and generally keeping me motivated. The hour session flies by.
My Personal Progress
I’ve now been attending Pure Fitness for 12 weeks, usually 4 times a week. I arrived aged 60, reasonably fit for my age but with very poor upper body strength (I couldn’t manage a single push-up). My pectoral muscles must be there somewhere but had never shown at all.
I’d never used free weights in a gym before – only machines – and I soon recognised their benefits. Firstly they ensure that the weaker limb has to work for itself rather than being assisted by the stronger one, and secondly they really engage your core muscles as you struggle to lift or push cleanly. I started with dumbbell bench presses and was shocked when Oliver gave me a pair of only 2.5kg weights to use. I couldn’t believe how difficult it was to control them, my uncoordinated arms wobbling all over the place as I wasn’t used to free weights at all.
Over the weeks I’ve progressed to 4kg, 6kg, 8kg and am now finding 10kg too light so next week it’ll be 12kg. I’m really pleased with that – I’m about to lift almost 5 times the weight I started with just 12 weeks ago. I’ve Googled exercising for 60 year-olds and there’s very little information out there. There’s plenty about still being able to build muscle mass effectively when you’re 50, but nothing about being in your 60’s. I’m not concerned though as I’m really pleased with my own progress.
I don’t want to look old and unfit so I’m really happy that so many of my friends have noticed that my shoulders are looking broader and my chest has filled out.
My first leg day with Oliver was a killer. I’ve always done a lot of walking but after that session I could barely walk for 3 days. That’s not happened since so I know that those muscles are being hit regularly and I’m really feeling the difference.
I bought a heart monitor and when I first started on cardio exercises it was easy to get my heart rate up to 95% or even 100% of maximum. That’s becoming harder and harder to do as my heart continues to get stronger, but it’s the recovery that is now so noticeable. After the 3 minutes cooling down period on the treadmill, bike or stepper my heart rate is back to normal these days; that wasn’t the case 12 weeks ago.
Oliver challenged me to climb 50 stories in 10 minutes on the stepper machine 3 weeks ago and it was very tough – these days it’s a standard warm-up.
Here’s to my next 12 weeks. It’s onwards and upwards for me. To quote Oliver: “Beast mode, Tony!”