Week 19 : The trials and tribulations of  Personal Trainer/Entrepreneur ‘in training’

Week 19 began after a whistle stop 30hour trip to Stockholm in order to see Bruno Mars in concert at the Globe Arena. My friend Laura really wanted to go and see him, so as non of the UK dates were possible for us both, we investigated whether it would be possible to jump on a plane and see him elsewhere; hence why we ended up in Sweden’s capital for the night. He was incredible live. I wasn’t all that fussed about seeing him to be honest, but he surpassed my expectations and then some.

Stockholm is a beautiful city, and we were extremely lucky with the weather, sunshine and 24 degrees meant just walking around the city was so lovely and pleasant. We stayed on a boat. Yes you read that right. Our hostel was STF AF Chapman, an old ship which had been renovated and is now a hostel! Our ‘cabin’ was bunk beds. It was such a lovely setting on the water, spotlessly clean and certainly an experience. If you are looking for somewhere to stay in Stockholm, check them out for sure! People had told me it would be expensive, and all I will say is I am glad we were only staying one night! But the people, the food (see restaurant recommendations down below!) and the ambience were fabulous and I would highly recommend to anyone (just make sure you have some deep pockets!)

stf af chapman

The weather has been absolutely beautiful in England this week, unfortunately I think I have only managed about 40 minutes sat outside though due to work and clients. However just having the back door open and the sunshine streaming in has been so nice and my mood certainly alters with the weather. I walked to work and back for the first time this year and it is something which I need to start doing more. Just the simple act of popping on a podcast and 10 minutes in the fresh air does wonders for me.

I don’t know whether it was the sunshine or just one of those weeks but I had more than a few client cancellations this week. This is quite rare for me. It makes me question everything and probably gets to me a lot more than it should. There is usually a valid reason for the cancellations and they do all get rebooked in again, but it just reminds me not to get too complacent as this is my livelihood, if I don’t have clients then I don’t get paid. It has forced me to really think about my business model this week and what I could be doing better to ensure things like this don’t affect me as much.

Speaking of business, I have been working away at planning for my group sessions which took place again in week 19. More new faces amongst returning regulars has been brilliant. I put so much pressure on myself to make these sessions amazing, waking up in the middle of the night fretting and worrying that they won’t be good enough and people will leave disappointed. When planning I can sometimes just stare at a piece of paper for hours and not get anywhere, but then other times inspiration will take over and I will come up with something which I am proud of.

I really do enjoy putting these sessions on. The ability to be able to get in front of and help more people is one of my goals. Without giving too much away, there may be something on a larger scale in the pipeline sometime soon…..

Week 19 was rounded up by an extremely proud moment for myself. My sister was home this weekend and took part in her very first powerlifting competition; Lift for Cancer at Scarborough Spa. Hannah has been training for this for months and she did absolutely brilliantly. It was a Bench Press and Deadlift only competition. There were a couple of hiccups in the Bench Press, but she came away with a 42.5kg lift which is brilliant. In the afternoon, she hit a new PB of 125kg on the deadlift which was one of her goals so we were both incredibly happy and chuffed. I train Hannah online, she is probably one of the best clients I have in terms of adherence and following a plan! But seeing her succeed and being so happy got me all emotional.

I am so proud of her.”

lift for cancer

What have I been learning in week 19?

21st: There is a car accident every 18 seconds in Barcelona

22nd: In 1903, Australia became the second country in the world to grant the vote to women, New Zealand was the first, granting it in 1893.

23rd: One in every three people sitting in jail in Berlin are there because they didn’t pay their fare on transport system.

24th: 95% of black people who go to Ivy League Universities in America come from Africa for their further education.

25th: 60% of the US population have less than $1000 in savings. 60% of NBA professional basketball players go bankrupt once they have retired. 40% of divorces in America cite money problems as one of the main reasons.

26th: Nestle uses a different chocolate recipe in each one of its chocolate bars.

27th: The most expensive flower in the world is the Kadupul Flower which is only found in Sri Lanka. It is a white flower which blossoms at night and survives mere hours, meaning catching even a glimpse of it is next to impossible. This near-mythical species has never been up for sale, making it literally priceless.

Love Abi xxxx

This week has been tinged with huge sadness after the events of Monday night at Manchester arena. All acts of terrorism are completely barbaric, but this one certainly seemed to hit home and affect me a lot more. The number of concerts I have been to at that venue and used that exit to get out, I would have been in that exact spot had I been to see Ariana Grande that night. A concert is supposed to be a fun night, an evening enjoyed with friends and family, not something which we will forever be worried about going to. Frightful of what may or may not happen. My heart is heavy thinking about the number of lost lives and their affected families. May they rest in peace. 

Stockholm Restaurant recommendations:

Barrels, Burgers and Beers: We had one of the best burgers I think I have ever had at this little restaurant in the old town of Stockholm. It was hugely popular but luckily we got there early and were able to get a seat without much waiting! You can also get your burgers ‘naked’ i.e. without the bun and served up in a huge lettuce leaf.

week 19 update - greasy spoon stockholm

The Greasy Spoon: This little cafe is run by two english guys who saw a gap in the market for a proper breakfast in Stockholm, and it most definitely is not what you think of when you hear or see the words ‘greasy spoon’! We had read reviews online and knew that this was the place for us. Serving up classics like Eggs Benedict or your full english, but with a modern twist, this hugely popular spot was just great. There was a waiting list when we arrived so we knew it must be good. I had the Eggs Florentine and then we shared the Apple Pie pancakes special. Hunt this place down!

Pharmarium: Fancy a cocktail to remember in a backstreet swanky bar? Then this is your place. We found this little gem out after the concert for a late nightcap. The bar also serves food, but the cocktail menu will blow your mind. I don’t think I recognised over half of the ingredients on the list, but on recommendation from one of the waiters I opted for what would be ‘The Best Espresso Martini you will ever have!’ After the first sip, I agreed. Must visit for sure if you are in Stockholm!

Motivation Monday 8

motivation MONDAY coach somers

I love this motivation monday quote from Coach Somers which I picked out of the book ‘Tools of Titans’ by Tim Ferriss. You can get it here on amazon if you haven’t read it, I would highly recommend it!

It is so important to enjoy the little things every day rather than finding yourself saying ‘ I will be happy when X happens, I will be happy when I lose X amount of weight; I will be happy when I earn X amount of money; I will be happy when it’s summer; I will be happy when it’s the holidays’ etc etc etc.

You won’t be happy when that time arrives, you will probably recognise it, then move on and strive for something better. We are programmed to always want more.

I am loving documenting my #30B430 project by taking a photograph every day as it is really making me think about what is making me happy each day, what is my motivation that day. Photographs have ranged from a bowl of porridge, to meeting friends, to liking my leggings that day, to simply the sun coming out for 10 minutes! I think it will be great to be able to look back on the full year and see it!

Stop wishing away your days and focus on being present here and now. Look for the little things in each day, the things which make you smile and really appreciate them.

Yes it is great to have a goal and a plan on how to get there, but don’t go full steam ahead with blinkers on to get there. Be mindful and present and enjoy the process.

Love Abi xxxx

 

I love a routine. I like knowing what I am doing every day. However, sometimes these routines can get us into a little bit of a rut. The key to reaching goals is progressive overload, consistency and adherence. If you aren’t achieving these then I am afraid you are just plateauing.

I see it so often at the gym, people coming in doing the exact same workout, using the exact same weights, lifting for the exact same number of repetitions and sets, week after week. Then they wonder why they are not waking up looking like Tom Hardy or Jessica Alba?

‘A goal without a plan is just a wish.’

hollywood hike sign

You do not need to change what you are doing every session or every week, there is absolutely no need to shock your muscles by doing something different. However there are times when a change is necessary. If any of these points ring a bell then maybe it is time you did something about it!

#1 Progress has stalled
Is your workout helping you get closer to your goals? If not then you need to reevaluate and think about getting a new plan that will. Your goal will depend on you, it could be muscle gain, fat loss, strength, running time, but if you are not getting any closer to achieving it something has to change.

#2 Boredom has set in
If you are going in to the gym doing whatever fitness activity of your choice, but you are bored then I think it is time to find something which excites you. Fitness should be fun. There is no point in doing something if you are not enjoying it. Boredom means you are probably more likely to skip a session, or two, which is a slippery slope to be on. Find something new which you enjoy, the possibilities are endless. Rope a friend in, sign up to a new class, ask somebody to write you up a new workout programme, but don’t get bored!!

Boredom will affect motivation which will affect adherence which will affect results.

#3 Your goals have changed
If your initial goal was fat loss, but now you are happy with your figure and want to start gaining some strength, it is time to change programme. A plan to improve your 10km run speed will not help you reach that 100kg deadlift that you are now after.

#4 Your workout no longer challenges you
Every time you enter the gym you should be aiming to do better than the previous occasion. This could be in terms of lifting more weight, doing more sets, trying harder exercises. In order to make progress, your programme needs to challenge you so that your body has to react and adapt. Don’t go in and do the same 3 sets of 12 reps at the same weight every single week, your body will adapt and progress will stall.

abi durrant personal trainer

#5 You have been doing the same routine for longer than 3 months
Like I mentioned, you do not need to ‘shock’ your muscles by changing it up every workout or even every week. To see some form of results you need to be on some sort of progressive plan for a certain period of time. But if you have been following the same plan, with the same exercises, weights and reps for longer than 3 months, it is probably time to find a new one.

#6 You are getting injuries and feel beat up all the time
It may be time to take a little bit of time out and give your body time to recover. This doesn’t mean that you need stop doing everything all together, but it may mean that you take a step back for a couple of weeks. Try incorporating some yoga and stretching; change up your rep scheme and exercise choice. Yes your muscles may hurt after a particularly tough gym session, but you shouldnt consistently feel like you have gone 10 rounds with Mike Tyson.

Your body is the most valuable asset you have, so look after it.

Make sure you are taking time to rest and recover. I do this by scheduling in a deload week every 4-6 weeks.

golds gym venice

#7 You don’t have any sort of plan at all
If you don’t have any sort of plan then it is time you got one. How do you think you are going to reach your end goal if you don’t know how to get there. If you are just going into the gym, hopping on whatever machine is available, lifting random weights and reps each time, and generally just feeling defeated and unmotivated once you have left, then it is time you got a little bit of structure.

Ask an instructor at your gym to help, it is what they are paid to do. Or failing that there are so many resources available online. I recommend www.bodybuilding.com if you want to find a routine. Youtube is great if you are unsure of how to perform exercises or just want some inspiration. But get a pen and paper, write something down, and have something to follow next time you enter the gym. You will feel much more accomplished afterwards.

If any of the above apply to you, then set aside a little bit of time to doing some research. Rather than just spinning your wheels and getting nowhere, freshen things up and jump back on that wagon!

If you are in need of any ideas or help then just drop me a comment or a message!

Love Abi xxxx

January Blog a Day 21/31

You have just embarked on your fat loss and fitness journey, killing your workouts in the gym, eating great, your friends are telling you how well you are looking and you’re feeling a whole lot better about yourself…you then jump on the scales and the number staring back at you isn’t what you expected; this leaves you feeling deflated, frustrated and questioning everything which have been doing. Ring any bells? You are not alone that’s for sure.

Motivation is a key success factor in fat loss, and there is no bigger motivation killer than the scales not moving. But I want to explain to you in this post why it shouldn’t be the only factor that you base your progress and happiness on.

scales 1

Five Reasons why you shouldn’t rely on just the scales to assess progress

1)Muscle is denser than Fat
You may have heard people say over and over again that muscle weighs more than fat, it doesn’t; muscle weighs the same as fat; 1lb of fat = 1lb of muscle. However as muscle is denser than fat it takes up less room in the body. Although the scale may have stayed the same, your body composition may have completely changed and you will look noticeably different in the mirror, your lumps and bumps will have been replaced with some smooth muscle tone instead. So when you begin a new weights routine at the gym with the aim of building some muscle, don’t be freaked out if the scales even go up a little bit, you may have lost 4 lbs of fat but gained 4 lbs of muscle in the process, you look and feel tons better yet that little number is telling you that you have stayed the same. Not cool.

fat-vs-muscles
2) Your weight will fluctuate day to day depending on many different factors
The scales measure your total bodyweight, which takes into account muscle, fat, water, bone etc. If you weigh yourself one week at 7am just after waking when you are dehydrated and have been in a fasted state for 10hours and then the following week you do so just before bed after consuming 3 litres of water and 4 meals that day, the readings are bound to be different. This is not a consistent accurate measurement. If you are insistent on tracking your scale weight, I recommend that you do so every morning when you wake up and once you have been to the toilet, write it down and then at the end of each week work out the weekly average in order to gage how you are getting on.
Bodyweight will be affected by how much water you drink; how much salt you had in your meals; how many carbs you have eaten; how stressed you are; how well did you sleep; amongst many other different contributing factors which are simply out of our control.

Water Weight

3) It doesn’t define you as a person
Nobody can tell from looking at you how much you weigh, so why do we place such importance on such an insignificant number. You will hear people say all the time; ‘I will be happy when I reach 10stone’, does that mean that they wont be happy if they are 10stone 1lb yet look incredible in the mirror? A number shouldn’t reflect your own self worth and happiness, so don’t place such importance on it. Nobody cares what you weigh, they only care about what you are like as a person.

scales 2
4) Other methods to track progress can be a better marker of your health and fitness journey
I always take body measurements and progress photos of myself and my clients as a method of tracking progress. Take a set of photos every month, front, back and side, in the same lighting at the same time of day and compare. It is important not to simply rely on the mirror, because as we look at ourselves everyday it is hard to see any changes which are taking place even from week to week, but if you look back on what you looked like a month ago…the differences will be much more visible and gratifying.
Taking measurements goes back to my initial point of muscle being denser than fat, your scales may have stayed the same but if your waist and hip measurements have gone down a couple of inches then that is certainly positive progress which you should be ecstatic about!
How your clothes fit is also a great way of knowing how you are getting on. What feels better, the scales saying you have gone down a pound or being able to fit into your favourite pair of jeans without doing some sort of weird wriggle dance to zip them up? I know which one I would rather choose.

54.4kg.jpg

My sister looking incredible once again and showing how different your body can look at the same weight!

5) The number on the scales doesn’t measure everything
That little number doesn’t show:

  • that you can now row 200m without stopping whereas before you struggled with 50m
  • that you can now squat with an Olympic Barbell across your back confidently when you had no idea what a squat even was 4 weeks ago
  • that your favourite dress is now too loose for you to wear
  • that you managed your first set of 5 full press ups yesterday
  • that your work colleagues complimented you on how well you are looking
  • that you now can go and run about without your kids at the park without getting breathless
  • that your blood pressure has decreased from the danger zone into the normal zone
  • that you are a happier and more confident person

 

scale 5

Fitness isn’t just a number, it encompasses a whole range of things in regards to your health and wellbeing. So if you are finding yourself focusing all your results on one little number changing, take a moment and look at how far you have come in other aspects of your life, chances are you have come a lot further than you first thought.

Love Abi xxx

#trainwithabs

*Disclaimer* I am not going to lie and say that the scales are completely useless. They are certainly a good progress indicator if your goal is fat loss, muscle gain or even just maintenance, but they should be used in conjunction with other qualitative and quantitative measurements for a truer reflection on how you are getting on…