PT Session, Strong Heart Training

THE BASICS: A 1:1 introductory PT session with Tony from Strong Heart Training who I had previously met during my Total Boxer class.


THE CLASS: I was excited to be heading back to the Total Boxer gym, and all the more excited that I would be attending my very first 1:1 personal training session. This is the big time, people!! No way of hiding at the back and kind-of-sort-of doing the press ups in a session like this!

I haven’t ever had someone pay particular attention to my form or foibles whilst working out in the past, and so this session was going to be an excellent opportunity for me to make sure I was doing things right, and more importantly to have some guidance about correcting anything I have been doing wrong. This was something I was particularly looking forward too following my recent injury.

Before the class, I had a peruse of Tony’s website, and it was nice to see a section on women’s personal training, and so I was happy to be heading along to someone who would know what my body was capable of without breaking me!

I arrived at the end of a Boxing Yoga class (note to self- must try this) , and crept into the changing room to say hi to Tony. We had a laugh about the fact that he had finished his cup of tea before my arrival so I didn’t mention his tea addiction in this blog post. Oops, looks like I just did!

Anyway, we headed out to a quiet corner of the gym to get started! First was some warm up stretches, including some yoga-esque downward dog poses and lunges, and some stretches with an elastic resistance band that I am now becoming au fait with. He also had me doing a kind of weird crawl on my feet and knuckles, like a bear slumbering out of hibernation (I’ve done this in other classes so I assume it has an actual official name) but for the purposes of the blog we shall call it sleepy bear crawling.

All I could think of during Sleepy Bear Crawl was that my enormous derriere in the air must have been a delightful welcome to all of the people coming in for their boxing class. (sorry guys).

Warm ups done, and Tony informed me of the session he had planned- we’d be focusing on weight reps and resistance work. Just as his explanation was finishing, the main gym kicked into life and a Jay-Z soundtrack went on. A hardcore PT session and the voice of a rap royalty serenading me whilst I sweated. My life officially became complete at that second.

We started on some squats- I tried a couple unsupported but Tony was quickly able to tell me that my knees were pointing too far outwards when I was going into the squat. He said that this wasn’t really doing anything to work the muscles it should be. Time for a correction!

To get my positioning correct, he popped a weighted ball on a little step, and I stood in front of it with my legs hip distance apart. The goal was to squat down and end up sitting on the ball. He then crouched in front of me and supported my knees so they stayed pointing straight as I dipped into squats all the way down to the ball, with my arms outstretched. I then had to squeeze my thighs and glutes together to rise from the ball seat, and back up into standing.

What a difference! So those are the muscles a squat should be working! Looks like I have been doing them wrong for a very long time, oops.

We did several reps of this before I had the positioning perfect and then an 8kg kttle bell was introduced into the equation.

We kept the kettlebell involved as we moved onto some lunges. We used the wall as a balance/support aid, and we concentrated on the hamstrings and glutes. These were a killer, my little leggies were shaking by the last rep.

Onto something that my mind struggles to comprehend the concept of. Chin ups. Now I once did a chin-up. Once.

It was in Times Square in NY and I had enthusiastically volunteered myself to race some marines around an obstacle course. They were highly amused and allowed me to challenge them out of pity more than anything. Chin-ups were first.

I hung on the chin-up bar like a bewildered chimp, in front of a braying crowd of New Yorkers. This was my moment…. and as the whistle went, I realised I couldn’t even hoist myself up. So thankfully several marines ran to my aid (swoon) and helped me to complete one pathetic little chin-up before changing my mind and slinking off before I could be embarrassed any further. I still haven’t lived it down.

So, yeah, when the phrase “chin-ups” was uttered, I had some traumatic memories to deal with.

No getting out of them- but Tony had a cunning plan. A magic stretchy band to help me! I adopted swinging-chimp pose and he secured one of the giant elastic band around the chin-up bar, and then stretched the band down so I could hold it taut with one foot. It was basically making my foot into a catapult- if I had stopped pushing the band down, it would have snapped back up and I would have been pinged upwards. I resisted the urge to ping myself into the air and across the gym.

Seriously- this band changed my LIFE! Chin-ups were difficult, but with the help of the band pinging upwards, as long as I pulled myself up to the bar in a controlled fashion, it really helped to make me seem lighter and I could do LOTS of chin-ups!

We did several of these reps, interspersed with some heavy shoulder weight work. I was personally keen to keep doing elastic band chin-ups until my arms fell off but Tony politely told me that my arms were starting to buckle and it was time to step away from the human catapult device.

After the joy of chin-ups, we moved onto our final section, which was to throw some punches to get the heart rate up. My work from the previous Total Boxer class came into play as I popped on some gloves and punched the pads held by tony. By this stage my punches were pretty weak and it was obvious I had been worked to within an inch of my little life. Tony took no pity, made me do approximately a thousand punches, and then allowed me to flop on the floor like the exhausted athlete I am and helped me to stretch my horrendously tight leg muscles. I tried to make conversation but all that came out was “mnuuuuh”.

Then I crawled home to die.

THE VERDICT: This was an awesome introduction into the world of personal training. I had no idea what to expect, and I think Tony took the time to work out how to push me but without exceeding my limitations, which was perfect. I was very grateful for the advice and corrections, and Tony really knew his stuff. One great example of this is that my elbow was starting to really hurt whilst doing the chin-ups, and the next day he followed up with some info which I thought was above and beyond!

THE EXTRAS: Circa 2010, Project Hot Bitch talks the big talk and says she will beat the marines at an obstacle race, and then hangs from a chin-up bar like a stranded, scared chimp during the first obstacle. True story.

Chimp 2

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