Back when I first started going to the gym I really didn’t have a clue. I’d have no plan or idea of what I was going to do on that day - or on any day. I'd scout out the gym-floor; looking around to see what equipment or machines were available. Inevitably, I'd then choose to do the select few exercises that I felt comfortable doing - invariably the same exercises I’d done the last time I was there.
This whole ordeal brought significant discomfort. Without structure & an understanding of the exercises I should be doing as well as how to perform them, I found myself bereft of confidence and riddled with insecurity. The typical gym environment also didn’t help.
So, in this piece I’ll be providing some insight into exactly how my experience has allowed me to become the athlete and coach that I am today.
Motivation & Adherence
I’d say I’m a relatively motivated individual. There are days when I’m driven to push myself and equally there are days when I just feel like doing absolutely nothing. One of the biggest effects I felt from being coached was an increase in both my motivation & adherence to exercise.
Structure is a hugely important reason behind this. It’s something that most people just don’t have when it comes to their training. And that’s because there’s so many variables to account for - it becomes complicated! Most people simply don’t have the time and understanding - or both - to begin effectively structuring their training. This was the category I originally fell into.
By having another individual provide that structure for you, it takes the thought/decision-making process out of the equation. All you have to do is follow the plan. Less time is wasted wandering around the gym, aimlessly jumping from ineffective exercise to ineffective exercise.
Another key reason behind increased motivation & adherence is just having another person who is holding you accountable. I know that when I don’t have someone else pushing me, I can allow myself to essentially cut corners. If I’m not feeling 100% committed to working out, the idea of Netflix instead becomes appealing very quickly.
When you have someone who’s taken the time to build an effective individual programme for you that sense of accountability is increased. Not only do you feel more motivated to do it because you know it actually works, but you also don’t want to let the other person down! All-in-all, you find yourself more inclined to actually put in the work.
The ability to track progress over time is essential. Most people will simply go to the gym without tracking any performance or health metrics. That’s not to say that you can’t see progress without tracking these things - of course you can. However, your ability to recognise whether the training you’re doing is actually effective or not is severely limited without tracking progress. And ultimately, everybody wants to know that what they are doing is actually bringing the benefits that they’re hoping for.
Progress tracking leads on from structure; in order to track progress, we need a clear outline of consistent training over a set amount of time. I can easily say that the times when I’ve seen the greatest progress in my strength has been when I’ve had clear structure.
Another key benefit of tracking your progress is that it allows you to make a comparison between where you were a few months ago and where you are today. This can be one of the most motivating and rewarding aspects of fitness; realizing that you’ve made considerable progress in just a few weeks or months. Therefore, by tracking progress we are much more likely to continue with exercise and any other lifestyle adaptations we might have made.
For me, this is the biggest factor and the greatest benefit I experienced from coaching. As I mentioned earlier, previously I would enter the gym without any idea. This lack of competency had direct effects on my confidence in the gym. I would only do exercises that I felt comfortable with and ultimately these were not what I needed for what I was hoping to achieve.
Through being effectively coached, my ability to perform exercises grew and my confidence grew with it.
With increased confidence, the gym is no longer something I dread nor a place I feel uncomfortable - the opposite in fact. I know how to lift and have confidence in my ability to do so. Consequently, whenever I workout I don’t waste time deliberating on exercises or being self-conscious of what I’m doing. I have a plan and I execute it confidently. It means that I’m able to dedicate more attention & focus to my training, resulting in more significant results.
Confidence in working-out is something I know a lot of people struggle with. I can't express enough how much of a difference a bit of understanding & effective coaching can make. The great thing about becoming more confident in the gym is that it's a self-perpetuating cycle; as your confidence increases, you become more competent and see greater results. These feelings & results lead to even further heightened confidence. What's more, the confidence often transcends beyond the gym - you'll likely find that the feelings of accomplishment you discover in the weight-room leads to increased in confidence in other areas of life.
Here's What You Need
Ultimately, to get the most out of your training you need a variety of different components. Structure and understanding somewhat underpin them all. To attain these, I'd recommend you either take the time to educate yourself on training , or if you don’t have the time/interest, my advice would be to employ a good coach.
With a bit of structure and understanding you’ll see dramatic upturns in your adherence & motivation, progress, and confidence. Each of these will enable you to get the absolute most out of your training, actually enjoy doing it & experience a healthier, happier life as a result.
Christian Lawal Personal Training.
Personal training in Tunbridge Wells, Tonbridge & Sevenoaks.