Exercising can be as easy as walking around the block or putting time at the gym on the bike and doing a few rounds of lifts. But it can get a lot more complicated, especially if there are specific fitness goals you’re working towards.
Seeking professional help can be one way to elevate your workout; it can also set you on the right path to developing a sustainable and effective routine that will help maintain the results you’ve worked hard on.
But more importantly, working with a personal trainer can help mitigate chances of injury and ensure that you’re exercising correctly and efficiently. Hiring a personal trainer for the long term can be costly, and it may or may not be the answer to optimising your workout, depending on your goals. There’s also the question of finding the right trainer.
Personal trainer Gabriel Carroll shares his take on setting realistic fitness goals and questions to ask before committing to an assisted fitness journey. Carroll is the general manager of the Hybrid Gym Group in Hong Kong and has launched the personalised 18-week
Hybrid x Asaya 360 training journey together with the Asaya wellness hub at The Rosewood Hotel Hong Kong. Carroll gives pointers on what questions to ask and what one can expect to achieve when working with a personal trainer.
Who needs a personal trainer? Is it for everyone?
The primary job of a trainer is to improve the health of an individual. Regardless of the individual, be it the CEO who will never work less or the Mum who will never sleep more, the majority of the population live in a state of sub-optimal health. It is [the job of a trainer] to figure out what that is because personalised nutrition and training are for everyone – no two people are the same and both are integral to living a healthy life.
What are some of the most common misconceptions you come across with new clients that hinder their progress?
Often clients do not realise that if it is missing in your diet, it is missing in your body. We entertain a narrative of overfed and undernourished for men in particular who are wishing to build muscle mass. For women, over-restriction is the number one misconception – starving oneself to achieve a leaner physique will never produce sustainable results.
What’s the most important question a client should ask when they have their first consultation?
If you could wake up tomorrow morning having achieved all your health & fitness goals, what would that look like? Understand why you are starting this journey because a trainer can sit in the backseat, direct, guide and support you but ultimately you’re driving the car.
What questions should a personal trainer be asking during the first consultation?
Before you invest your energy and life into something, you must consider whether in 10 years it will still matter. What are your biggest roadblocks in achieving your goals? What style of coaching/mentoring do you respond best to? What is the highest value of your time? What is the goal-setting process like? We refer to it the Disney Process – sit down with your client, set the timeline, set the goal and set the expectations. Use a whiteboard and brainstorm as many ideas as possible. That’s how Disney curated all their finest ideas and visions.
What does a typical first session look like?
It should be individual to the clients and their goals. Most will undergo a general movement assessment, determining any issues in their physical frame as well as the body fat/nutrition assessments. Day one is about collecting data and ensuring we can individualise the plan to the client. We work closely with the team at Asaya to establish a fully comprehensive health & wellness journey over three to four months.
Will personal trainers advise on diet and nutrition plans?
Any good trainer will know that the three to four hours you spend in the gym training is less than 5 per cent of your week – the rest of that client’s life is spent at work, eating, socialising or at home. It’s vital we control the variables outside the gym best we can and nutrition plans are a wonderful tool to achieve this.
What does a typical fitness program look like if someone only has time to train three days a week?
Here’s a simplified plan to follow which should cover all bases so you stay active, sustain fitness and introduce a novel training stimulus:
Monday– Interval training/circuits – integrate some speed work on a patch of grass with some high heart rate bodyweight circuits. Work hard for 60seconds, recover, and repeat.
Wednesday – strength work/core conditioning. Bands, objects, steps – focus on pairing upper and lower body movements – plenty volume and ensure each working set eclipses 45-50seconds.
Friday– endurance day/mobility – regulate your pace, move slower than you think and focus on a sustainable output that doesn’t require you to stop every 5 minutes for a breather. A good coach should be able to programme the basics and offer a solution that doesn’t require a state of the art facility and can mean you train on your own.