Monday 5 December 2016

Shape up: Slim chance without good guidance

If you're searching for inspiration in your health quest, look no further than Padraig Harrington

Damien Maher

Published 11/01/2010 | 05:00

A personal trainer can help you achieve your goals Photo: Getty Images
A personal trainer can help you achieve your goals Photo: Getty Images

As NEW year's health resolutions begin to wane, there are many who are considering seeking the services of a personal trainer to help them achieve their health and fitness goals. But how do you choose the right one for you?

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Starting with a personal trainer or coach is a bit like drilling for oil -- it's fraught with risk. Nobody in their right mind would simply go out in their backyard and start digging with the hope of hitting a gusher. The same can be said of walking into a gym hoping to find the right trainer for you.

Oil companies invest their time and do extensive research to analyse seismic and geological maps. They take samples of rocks and soil, study fault lines, and look at the surrounding area to see if there are other formations that would justify poking a hole in the ground.

They compare all this and decide that if everything looks favourable, only then will the company proceed to drill for oil.

That is how your search for a trainer should begin. You should do extensive research into finding your coach or mentor because it is like any relationship. A long-term romantic liaison does not begin by walking into a random bar and having a lucky dip with the available clientele before embarking on a relationship that could change your life.

That may happen in fairy tales, but the reality of finding a partner or your personal trainer is entirely different.

The best in the world at anything, from swimming, golf, ballet or business, all studied and apprenticed under someone who was a master, to learn the critical skills and tools to become better at their craft.

Masters allowed them to do the right things first time and simultaneously avoid making the most basic and stupid mistakes. It's the mistakes and setbacks that keep people frustrated and unhappy in their quest to lose weight or improve health. Just about the time you are starting to climb out of the last hole you dug, you promptly start digging another.

So you should find a mentor who never stops studying. The best in the world know they must practice to improve on a daily basis if they are to retain their greatness.

The single biggest mistake of people desiring to achieve weight loss is to believe in the existence of the weight-loss fairy. If you think you can just work hard enough or put in longer hours, or have the appropriate amount of positive thinking, the weight-loss fairy will come overnight and help you lose a few pounds, you should realise that the reality is entirely different.

Yes, weight-loss success will be a result of your hard work and a positive mental attitude, but most important of all will be your training and nutrition programme.

Golfer Padraig Harrington, recently voted Ireland's best athlete ever, is a great example of someone who is achieving greatness and the common denominator he has with every other person at the top of their game is he surrounds himself with coaches who can, in his case, watch him swing.

Padraig has the exact same problem you and I do -- he can't see himself when he swings his golf clubs. So he surrounds himself with people who watch -- who can coach him on where he's going wrong.

How much money have your fitness and nutrition mistakes cost you throughout your life? How much anger and frustration have you left in the gym and at home as you didn't know how to achieve and sustain weight loss?

People who rely on themselves and trial and error, instead of admitting they need help and coaching, are rarely successful. Instead of making the necessary investment, they would rather keep slugging it out in the trenches.

Again, that's a loser's game played by people who are hoping to get lucky.

A good coach should understand programme design and how to manipulate the variables of repetitions, sets, tempo and rest periods.

They understand nutrition and they can explain it to you so that you know which levers to pull to achieve your desired outcome.

www.bfit4life.ie

Irish Independent

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