All the savvy fitness fans are ditching the treadmill and the aerobics class and taking over the weights room. So, obviously I had to take up the challenge presented by John Dwyer of the newly-opened gym in Naas Town Centre. Could four weeks of training on a free weights programme help me tone up and build
My programme incorporated the benchpress, squats, deadlifts and shoulder presses, plus stability and core work.
Each session, and there were two a week, lasted about an hour. Here’s the thing to note about personal training
sessions – there is literally nowhere to hide and no fooling yourself that you’re working out when you’re really faffing around the back of the gym watching telly. Every angle is measured, every posture is corrected and every attempted cheat is spotted.
Week one, and who’d have thought rolling some tennis balls down your back could cause such agony? The foam rolling warm-up was definitely working out the knots in my back. One exercise had me simply crawling in a straight line up-and-down the floor, to work on my balance and coordination.
My eight-month-old niece would have been embarrassed at my technique. Hat tip to all babies out there, it’s harder than it looks.
The first ‘proper’ weights workout was very challenging, in that it takes repetition and concentration to get the
movements down correctly. It didn’t seem at the time like I was working hard, but my legs were like jelly and my heart galloping after it.
Week two and I was whingeing because the deadlifts were taking the skin off my hands. I decided it would look too girly to invest in a pair of gloves, so I take to the proffered bowl of chalk and channel my inner Soviet gymnast.
Switching grips during lifts helped immensely.
In my days ‘off ’ from the gym I incorporated as many long, brisk walks into my routine as possible, such as quick 40 minute spins in the evening, or opting to get the bus to work and speedwalking the 15 minutes to the stop.
By week three, my mobility had improved immensely and I could finally do a split squat. Foam rolling also didn’t hurt as much as at the start. Hitting weights targets become an enjoyable mental challenge and I’m thrilled to bits when I smash my number of squat reps.
John also spotted that I have a slight pelvic misalignment, and gave me some exercises to do which might prevent me developing a hopalong gait in the future.
Four weeks in and my movement was much more fluid and the challenge of doing just one more rep or at a slightly heavier weight had become addictive.
Unsurprisingly, at my retest, I’d lost inches all over and had gone down a jeans size. My stress levels have decreased and my joint mobility feels significantly smootherand the joints less achey. More importantly, I’m thinking I’ll be keeping this up – I’m not quitting without hitting that 50kg bench press and 80kg squat