Estimated Reading Time: 2 minutes
I’m approaching this from a fairly biased viewpoint, however, I don’t think I’m understating anything when I say that exercise is probably one of the top 3 most powerful tools you have at your disposal for improving your health and well-being, both long and short term.
Within exercise as a whole, one specific discipline has benefits unique to it that you can’t get from any other form of exercise, which is why I’m such a personal advocate for it.
That being resistance training. The best approach would be to have a mixture of both cardiovascular exercise (heart/lungs/circulation) and resistance training (muscles, bones joints). Which should hopefully shine a light on the popularity of things such as circuits, CrossFit, Hyrox.
They are not for everyone, however, and keeping them in separate workouts also has benefits.
Weightlifting helps increase your overall day-to-day energy, there are a few mechanisms involved in this, but at the most basic level, if you are stronger, you’re more efficient at moving yourself through your daily non-exercising tasks. Walking the dog, picking up kids, and doing household chores, and if those take up less of your total daily energy, you’ll have loads more left to do with whatever you want.
Lifting weights builds muscles and helps you reduce your body fat. Both of which will affect your appearance in and out of clothes, which is what a lot of people begin their training with in mind. Dieting can only get you so far if you aren’t lifting weights, you can drop all the body fat you want, but if there’s nothing under it to provide shape, you may not get the appearance you’re looking for.
It also makes any reduction in body fat easier. Muscle is a metabolically active tissue, it requires caloric expenditure to stay around and function, whereas fat has a far lesser demand.
Lifting will also strengthen, not only your muscles but all of your connective tissues as well. I realise there’s a bit of a dark cloud over lifting weights regarding form and making sure you’re ‘doing it right’ but this (like a lot of stuff) has been blown up a lot more than is realistic, normally to attract attention to content, or to sell specific things. Is there potential for increased injury risk if you do silly, non-appropriate things relative to your level of ability? 100% yes. Are you going to immediately snap something if you try and do a beginner program using appropriate loads and maybe just need more practice on your form? 100% no.
If you are still concerned about getting some advice or oversight for your training or technique, then you should hire a coach. You don’t have to think of this as a long term commitment, plenty of people visit us for some consultations on certain aspects of training, and then go off and continue on their own, to great success.
Hopefully, this has convinced you that this year is the year to try out lifting! If it is, please consider coming down to ATS and giving it a bash. Feel free to get in touch on 07843024606 or @atsapproved on all socials.
Estimated reading time: 3 minutes.
With the turn of the new year, a lot of people are going to be looking to start or restart their fitness journeys to try and achieve their health and fitness goals.
One of the most efficient ways to do that is to hire a coach or personal trainer. You don’t have to go trawling online to learn how to do everything, you just pay them and they tell you! Easy peasy right?
Sadly not, much like any profession, the skill and professionalism (and cost) of PTs vary wildly, and it’s not always clear who would be the best fit for you so here are some tips for what to look for before hiring a coach.
Qualifications. Do they have a valid level 3 personal training qualification from a reputable service provider, do they have valid professional insurance? Typically people will display their qualifications on their website (not having a formal website and only having a social media page is a bit of a red flag).
How experienced are they? Have they been working in the industry for a long time? Most people will cite their industry experience, and if they don’t, it usually means they haven’t been going long. This is fine, everyone starts somewhere, but the less professional experience should be somewhat reflected in the price.
Personality. This is where social media can come in very clutch. Realistically you’re going to be spending a fair amount of time with this person, and if their personality doesn’t gel with you it isn’t going to be an enjoyable process, and will likely hinder your motivation to go to sessions as well as your enjoyment of them. It’s worth following people’s socials for a bit and seeing whether they’d be a good fit for you.
Professionalism. Personally, this one hits home the most, since everything to do with it takes literally no talent. Are they punctual, arriving early? Are they organised, do they get paperwork and programs to you ahead/of time? Are they reliable, do they give you plenty of notice for any schedule changes, or payment deadlines/processes? This one you really only get from references or once you’re already working with someone, but I strongly advise not sticking around if they struggle with stuff.
Specialisation. If you have a specific health condition or are training for a specific sport, or level of sport, you may wish to investigate to see if they can facilitate your needs. Not everyone will be a specialist and that’s fine, it doesn’t mean they aren’t great coaches, but if you are concerned that you may require specialist/bespoke help, I’d do a lot of looking around and asking questions to find the right person.
References. Ask them for references, or find former clients and get a vibe check for them. I particularly advise people who no longer work with them for this purpose, as they’re not under any great pressure to sugarcoat anything, so you’ll get an honest take.
Price. As I alluded to earlier, the price for PT varies wildly, from the sceptically cheap to the eye-watering/celebrity-level price tags. Realistically the actual difference in service between the two isn’t as big as the price would suggest, certainly at the top end. It’s also a good idea to clarify ahead of formal sign-up the full payment option you are selecting, just so you’re aware of any additional fees or contractual obligations like cancellation policies or fees.
That’s my list for helping you find a coach or personal trainer, I hope you found some of those tips helpful and if you’re looking for a PT in 2023, consider getting in touch with us! @atsapproved on all social media, and visit our website for our introductory offer that’s frankly ridiculous value.
Estimated reading time: 2 minutes.
With the fresh start, the new year brings, many people will be taking their first tentative steps into pursuing health and fitness, perhaps stepping inside the gym for the first time ever.
It was once everyone’s first time in the gym, and there will be some nervousness and anxiety about going anywhere new, especially when you are a beginner.
Here are some practical tips for your first few visits to any gym.
Check online or over the phone before going to see if they have any inductions or paperwork that need filling out prior to becoming a member or using the facilities. This will save you from having to feel rushed in your session or having to cut it short on your first visit.
If you have any health concerns about specific exercises and how they relate to you, especially if you have pre-existing health conditions, consult your GP or PPC first before engaging in any formal exercise program.
Wear clothes that you feel comfortable in. Whatever you feel comfortable, or the least uncomfortable in will be the best bet to start with. Try to pick things that won't impair your movement and you won't mind getting sweaty in.
Remember to bring a water bottle and towel. Staying hydrated through your sessions is important, and having a towel to help clean the equipment after you’ve used it is just gym use courtesy.
Once you’re done with a piece of equipment put it back where you found it. Most gym kit has a designated storage place and it’s just good manners to put things back where you find them. Even if some people struggle to follow this one....
Do your best to minimise using your phone during your session. Yes, there are use cases for apps, and some people like to record themselves to check their form or technique. But scrolling away on social media is a massive time sink and will not only lessen your focus on your session but will also likely mean you use a piece of equipment for longer than you probably could have.
Hopefully, you found some of those tips helpful, and if you’re just starting out on your fitness journey this year I wish you all the best and hope you stick with it!
If you’d like guidance and support on getting started, or how to get the results you want from your fitness and exercise, feel free to give us a shout. @atsapproved on all socials, except Tik Tok because we’re old.