You decided to use a personal trainer to boost your workout. But what about those days you’re on your own — how can you make the most of your workouts without your trainer?
According to Brian Lehner, an exercise specialist at the Sewall Healthy Living Center at Sharp Coronado Hospital, “You should start by checking with your trainer about what to do when they aren’t with you at the gym.”
“As trainers, when we program your workouts, we take into consideration many factors,” explains Lehner. “For example, intensity, rest-work ratios and focus.”
Lehner explains three important factors to consider when determining what you should do on days without your trainer:
- What are you doing with your trainer?
Know your program, and the next steps toward your goals, to plan days in between your sessions. If you want to do something extra, listen to your body. If you have an abundance of energy and little to no soreness, then go ahead and pick an activity you enjoy.
- What is your ability level?
Your ability level will have a big impact on what you do on your own. If you are new to the workout scene, keep it simple. Pick an activity that moves you toward your goals. Is weight loss your goal? Then add some extra cardio. If you are sore from your previous workout, try some body weight exercises to get some blood and nutrients to those muscles.
- Based on your goals, what phase of the program are you in?
Beginner (less than three months):
Pick an activity you enjoy and are competent in; this is usually a sport or cardio activity. It is important to build general conditioning to improve all aspects of your planned sessions. This also maximizes improvement while keeping intensity low week to week, and allows for safe progression.
Intermediate (three or more months of training experience):
Practice body weight movements to reinforce your technique and manage soreness. This may include a day or two of targeted cardio based on your goals. Intensity is moderate as more advanced recovery techniques are introduced.
Advanced (one year or more of training experience):
Choose a combination of targeted cardio and extra workouts geared toward your goals. Intensity is very high week to week because you know how to manage recovery and nutrition.
“It’d be great if we all had a personal trainer who could be with us every minute we’re exercising, but few of us are movie stars or professional sports players,” Lehner says. “Just remember that your trainer wants you to be successful, and will take the time to tell you exactly what to do when you’re not together.”
The Sewall Healthy Living Center at Sharp Coronado Hospital offers monthly and annual memberships, group fitness classes and personal training. Learn more about Fitness Center offerings.