A Year With a Personal Trainer


by Don Smith

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A year ago I wrote about my first week with Jeremy, my personal trainer. Here was what I wrote about day 1…

Day 1 With A Personal Trainer

My first day at the gym, I changed and went out to see how this new adventure would begin. We immediately started foam rolling to work out the kinks, and then Jeremy asked me to go grab a pair of five and eight-pound dumbbells.

In the back of my mind, I was thinking, “What the hell, does he think I am a 10-year-old girl??? Do I really look that weak??? 5lb weights???”

We're working out with these tiny weights???

Luckily, I chose to keep my mouth shut and did as instructed. After all, this is why I hired a personal trainer, to tell me what to do!!! I didn't want to start second-guessing this guy a few minutes into the workout.

Forty-five minutes of training later, I was dying. I could barely lift my arms for the next two days! Talk about a workout! I certainly won't be complaining next time I'm asked to grab a pair of 5lb dumbbells to start…

One Year Later…

As I read my words from a year ago, I have to laugh a little. I haven't had the pleasure of working out with those five or eight-pound dumbbells for a long time, but Jeremy kicked my rear with them for a while. It wasn't like I was seriously out of shape when I started, but I had always been more of a runner than someone who worked out in the gym.

I winced as I reread my words about my shoulder pain and it being virtually gone that first day. Unfortunately, the pain still lingers a year later, but it is significantly lessened. I started training partly because it had gotten so bad that I could barely lift my arm more than a little ways from my side without screaming and was having a lot of trouble sleeping. Today I have a full range of motion back, and while it still bothers me, I can sleep, and some days I have little to no pain.

I still get nervous when Jeremy asks me to pick up a relatively light weight. These days I know that means he will say something like give me twenty down to eight, which roughly works out to around 100 reps (20, 18, 16…). But my light weights aren't five pounds anymore.

Lifting much heavier weights after a year with a personal trainer
A Little More Like It

I'd put a before and after picture here, but I hate selfies. It's a guy thing… Suffice it to say that I've gained 15lbs this year, and I don't feel any fatter.

I wish I had kept a record of my lifts, but it is clear that I'm much stronger than I was twelve months ago, probably 300-500% stronger on most exercises. I recently had to switch jeans to athletic fit as I could no longer fit into my slims, and I had to go up a size in shirts, and no it wasn't to cover my stomach. I do around 450 lbs on the leg press for three sets of ten which probably means I would lift approximately 600 lbs or so for a one rep max. Not overly impressive, that puts me in the intermediate to advanced level according to strengthlevel.com, but considering I've historically always had chicken legs, I'll take it.

Overall, I'm happy with where I'm at. I've been pretty religious about getting to the gym three times a week, 45 minutes to an hour for each session. Haven't been quite as good on the diet side of things, which explains why I still don't quite have that six pack, but overall it's been a good year.

The Bottom Line

I've made more progress in this last year than I have in many years trying to exercise on my own. I haven't lifted what I am lifting today at age 41 since my college years, actually some of the exercises I've probably never lifted that much. The fact that I've done that while actually spending less time working out and without injury speaks volumes on how important having the right coach is. I never thought I'd be the guy that enjoys going to the gym, but these days I do. I've formed friendships with the other people there, and can see this being a habit I can maintain for a long time to come.

If you're in the Springfield, Illinois area, and want to work with Jeremy, I highly recommend it. Click here for his Facebook page. If not, I encourage you to check out a personal trainer in your area. If you just want to lose a little extra weight and develop some healthy habits, be sure to check out our 30 days to a healthier you program by clicking here.

About the Author 

Don Smith

Happily married with five kids, Smith owns a technology company, is the founder of this site, has served on the board of directors for multiple companies, and loves playing soccer, hiking, and mentoring.

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