Have you just signed up for a marathon, a half-marathon; a triathlon or your local Iron Man competition?

And right around the time you signed that dotted line, you remembered that you only go running twice per month.

With that level of training, you'll never cross the finish line!

Now is the time to pick up the pace. How are you going to do that? Motivation helps, of course, but you have to find your way back to that natural rhythm, the one your body functions best at.

A professional fitness trainer, one who specialises in overall fitness conditioning, is what you need. A coach who will stand by you, no matter what discipline you see yourself practicing.

Sports Disciplines that Require the Guidance of a Fitness Professional

Many sports demand training with an athlete specialising in that field. On the other hand, plenty of physical fitness activities do not.

In fact, there are three major categories of sport that we recommend pursuing under the guidance of a fitness instructor.

  • Running – marathons, cross-country, track and field; tennis and other racquet sports, and combat sports
  • Team sports: basketball, handball, football, rugby and others.
  • Extreme sports: mountain biking, Parkour, snowboarding – especially off-trail

If you think a coach is not needed, especially for extreme sports, you would be gravely mistaken. A coach is necessary, especially for extreme sports, for you to grasp every aspect of the sport s/he has mastered.

Bear in mind to seek out an athlete who is specialised in the field you are passionate about.

It is vital to choose a personal training programme specifically designed for the sport you want to participate in.

A Pilates instructor may well know how to abseil, but unless s/he has undergone official certifying in the sport, s/he is not qualified to teach anyone how to rappel.

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Running with your coach will build your endurance
A running coach can help improve performance and endurance Source: Pixabay

Types of Physical Conditioning

Do you want to increase your athletic ability and improve your athletic performance?

Any sport demands a firm commitment and anyone who trains assiduously stands to perform better.

Here, we highlight two distinct performance categories.

General Physical Preparation, otherwise known as GPP

This is considered fundamental physical training. This type of conditioning is necessary because it instills three key elements of physical fitness and health that every fitness instructor should stress throughout training.

  • Endurance: to increase your staying power in any sport, you need to gradually increase the number of reps during your training sessions.
    • Be reasonable! Do not take great leaps in your regimen; make incremental gains. Your fitness trainer will advise you to step up your routine when you are ready to. S/he will take into account your overall physical state, with an eye toward your goals. Increases to your workout should happen gradually.
  • Gaining muscle mass: working your muscles – pectorals and deltoids, abdominals and lats, thighs and glutes, biceps and triceps.
    • Connective tissue is conditioned through repetition, with moves such as squats, crunches and pushups. These training techniques render your body trim, fit and healthy to engage in the physical activity you wish to pursue.
  • Strength training: not only helps you gain muscle mass but helps build you up for greater athletic performances.
    • For this aspect of physical training, your coach will guide you through bench presses, squats with weights, resistance training and isometrics. Strength training workouts inherently build muscle as well as condition you to a higher level of personal fitness.

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Specific Physical Preparation, otherwise known as SPP

At this point in your physical training, things start getting serious. Training is amplified and your coach will boost your workout sessions to competition level preparation, or champion grade sports meets.

An accredited sports professional will clue you in to training methods and exercises geared toward the sport you wish to compete in.

In competition, it is not unusual to see badly trained, and even over-trained athletes.

That is why it is absolutely vital for your exercise program to develop the requirements of the discipline you wish to engage in.

Because your certified personal trainer works you to an exactitude, you will be drilled to the specifics of your sport.

You will come to realise that not every exercise – and too many reps are not necessarily the best course of action in your training regimen.

Professional intervention: your training coach will get you to peak performance by working your weaknesses all while exercising your strengths.

Objectives of a Physical Preparation Session

No matter your level of fitness or your chosen sport, your fitness and exercise coach has only one goal in mind: to improve your performance.

After a physical assessment, you and your fitness trainer should hammer out objectives to realise, to reach your short-term and long-term goals – be they running a marathon or winning a tennis tournament.

Your goals may change the more you are exposed to exercise science, but these facets of fitness training will always remain. By working out regularly, you will enjoy:

  1. Improved performance
  2. Increased competitiveness
  3. Greater speed, strength and endurance
  4. Less chance of injury.

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You will learn proper form by copying your coach's example
Your coach will demonstrate proper form Source: Pixabay

Selecting The Right Personal Fitness Trainer

Fitness programs align themselves to the sport they are designed for, and there is a multitude of trainers for every discipline!

It goes without saying that your mentor should be well-versed in the kinesiology and rigors of your chosen sport.

What type of coach do you need?

The fitness industry is a relatively recent social development. Thanks to increasing awareness of personal health and fitness in Britain, it is fairly easy to find a trainer for any given sport these days.

Your schedule, budget, needs and objectives all play a part in deciding what type of workout guidance you target, be it: one on one with a certified personal trainer in a gym, small group sessions, an in-home fitness expert, or with a Superprof fitness coach online.

Each of these scenarios can play a part in your overall fitness, but if your passion is competitive sports, it would be best to engage with an instructor in a gym or fitness center, or hire a trainer to come to your home.

It is possible to engage in fitness training online, such as dance, aerobics or yoga.

However, to attain a level of fitness suitable for competition, you must demonstrate a high level of motivation and a willingness to go the distance: two aspects of physical training that your sports mentor will match and, should you lag, stoke.

What Trainer Certifications Should You Look For?

Just like any profession, a certified trainer must undergo specialised education and obtain proper credentials.

  • Level 2 training certification: any athlete leading workouts in a gym or other fitness facility must have earned at least this certificate
  • A Level 3 certification from an accredited program allows exercise specialists to practice as personal trainers in-home, as well as work in a gym.
  • Level 4 is a master personal trainer diploma, the highest fitness qualification attainable.

Every trainer, no matter what level, is required to obtain a First Aid at Work qualification. As per the Health and Safety Executive, it must be renewed every three years.

Athletes dedicated to teaching sports, health and fitness can obtain personal trainer certification for specific disciplines, especially those that demand a high level of physical preparation, and a thorough knowledge of exercise physiology.

What Competencies Should Your Trainer Possess?

Obviously, your sports coach should be well-versed in every aspect of the discipline you wish to train in. His goal is to aid your progress while setting short- and longterm objectives. S/he should establish a specific nutritional and workout regimen for you to follow.

Your fitness education professional should be a source of motivation.

You have appealed to him for competition preparation or a unique aspect of physical conditioning. It is his job to motivate you physically and mentally.

Mental conditioning is vital to your athletic evolution. A firm mindset will encourage long-term development of your physical being.

Besides, thanks to his training, safety will be a prominent feature of your athletic development.

S/he knows how to work your body without risk of injury: the proper movements, poses and number of reps you can safely do at every stage of your training.

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To prevent injury, you should never do more than your coach prescribes
Your coach should monitor your work to prevent injury Source: Pixabay Credit: Alex Van

How Physical Training Works

Your coach should take a three-pronged approach to your developing fitness for life:

  1. Primary phase: s/he should identify your strengths and weaknesses, conduct a diagnostic assessment in line with your past physical activity and the objectives you wish to attain.
  2. Planning phase: now clear on your current abilities and objectives, s/he will establish a plan of action tailored to you.
  3. Physical phase: your training sessions follow requisite steps.
    1. Some disciplines require intensive work of certain muscle groups while others permit a more relaxed approach and milder conditioning.

At every stage, your exercise sets correspond to your physical condition. Rest assured that your coach knows your physiology and would not put you at risk of injury by overworking you.

Regardless of the sport, your physical training will develop your strength, endurance, agility, coordination, and flexibility. All are necessary ingredients of any sports discipline, but they will also help improve your daily life and well-being.

Your trainer maintains a duty to revise your regimen.

At the start and again at the completion of every session, s/he should measure your gains. Should you develop faster than anticipated, s/he can increase workout intensity to attain your training goals sooner than expected.

Conversely, if development is more gradual than anticipated; s/he must downgrade your routine, in keeping with your current physical capabilities.

Most likely, your coach will assign you work to do between sessions.

Bear in mind that your personal fitness trainer has developed a bespoke regimen, which may include your taking the stairs instead of the lift to get to your office. S/he may prescribe walking to your local grocer's rather than driving your car.

Quite possibly, you may be assigned a few dozen sit-ups and lunges, to be done after breakfast.

Your fitness instructor only wants for you the best physical shape you can have - a toned and healthy body. Observe and follow all of his instructions and you will come out ahead.

After that, all you have to do is reach for the brass ring!

Next: work your way to a new, ripped abdomen!

Fitness Classes Available (And How To Copy Them At Home!)

So while a fitness trainer is ideal whilst you train for a sporting event, there are a few other physical activities you can do alongside their coaching to raise your heart rate, either at the gym, a local class or at home.

Fitness classes are all the rage right now.

If you fancy trying out a few fitness classes to improve your physical conditioning in a sociable environment, then here are a few popular trends that are worth considering. Group classes bring their own benefits, such as challenging you to keep up with others and being able to socialise with a group of like-minded individuals.

  • Zumba: Zumba is a high cardio, dance-based workout that combines Latin and hip-hop steps with martial arts and resistance training by formulating fast and fun choreography. A typical class lasts 40-60 minutes and can help you to tone muscles, burn calories and relieve stress because of its uplifting properties. The dance moves are often not hard, nor are the sequences hard to remember so people can join at any time. It's appropriate for all ages and fitness levels too. Zumba at home: You can get your Zumba on at home by watching a Zumba fitness video on the Internet or on a relevant TV channel as well as by quite simply dancing to an upbeat record. If you want to do Zumba both at home and in a class then why not practice in between by downloading the tracks you dance to with your coach?
  • Barre: Barre is a ballet-inspired class that uses repetitions of small, precise ballet movements to help you to tone muscle, build strength and control, and improve your overall posture (just as you would in a ballet class but on a smaller scale). Not all classes are slow, however. Some sessions are quicker and make you feel the burn much more, especially in your arms, abs, bottom, and thighs! Barre at home: It's not always easy to practice ballet at home unless you have a suitable handrail but you can get portable barres if you are serious about keeping fit in this way. Then, you can purchase DVDs, watch videos on YouTube and download audio podcasts to guide you through your workout routine.
  • Bikram Yoga (Hot Yoga): Bikram yoga is every bit as strengthening as your usual yoga class, yet it's even more challenging because you are positioning yourself in all those yoga poses in a room measuring more 105 degrees to make you more flexible. Whilst other fitness classes focus more on a cardio workout, Bikram Yoga is concerned with breathing techniques and the flow of oxygen through your body. The fitness craze includes 26 hatha yoga postures and two pranayama exercises. Bikram yoga at home: Doing yoga from home is easy enough if you have a yoga mat and the right video tutorials, but getting the heat element of Bikram Yoga isn't as straightforward. Some fans have been known to take their yoga mat to the bathroom and switch the shower on for a little while to get the temperature and humidity rising without wasting money on gas bills!
  • Pilates: Similar to yoga, Pilates is a conditioning workout that is designed to sculpt the body by toning muscles. All you really need is a mat and a positive attitude so doing Pilates at home is relatively easy. Having a trainer, or at least following a lesson online can be beneficial as the instructors are there to help you connect your mind and body with the series of movements, which focus greatly on aligning the spine and improving the overall posture. Pilates at home: Pilates is a great workout to do at home because you can work at your own pace and it requires little space or equipment.
  • Boot Camp: This intense fitness class involves a bit of everything: cardio, strength training, and agility.  The military-inspired workouts are put together to help you burn more calories by varying the pace, exercise styles and movements. Doing short bursts of circuit-style workouts with little or no rest in between is the perfect way to work up a sweat and has a positive effect on the body in terms of strengthening and weight loss. Boot camp at home: You can do boot camp-style workouts at home if you want to. Why not build your own circuit training area out in your garden from moves you already know, or by moving yourself from one room to another in your house for each different fitness type, if you have space?
  • Spinning: Spinning is a form of indoor cycling where you perform intense and high-cardio workouts on a stationary bike.  With the tough, unforgiving sequences, you work on strength and endurance, usually in a group guided by an enthusiastic teacher. Don't expect to be sitting on your saddle for the full 30-40 minutes - you'll have your glutes up in the air and working hard throughout the session! Spinning at home:  Spinning bikes aren't the same as your usual workout bicycle, but you can definitely apply some of the lessons you've learnt in a spinning class when cycling in your home gym. You can, if you are really dedicated, buy an official spinning cycle for at-home use.
  • Boxing: Everyone nows what boxing is but do you know why it's so popular as a sport nowadays? Increasingly popular among women (as well as Box Fit), this exercise is empowering and allows you to exert lots of force and therefore stress, through punching as well as hopping and jumping to maximise calorie burn, weight loss and increase lean muscle mass. Boxing at home: As long as you've got the gear, you can buy some light dumbells or a pop-up punch bag to practice your endurance at home. Make sure you put these in a safe place away from anything valuable that might break should you miss!
  • Bounce: Bounce is probably the newest fitness craze to enter the scene and involves performing exercises on mini trampolines in order to enhance the workout. Normally a group exercise class performed to loud and upbeat music, this fun all over body training combines simple movements whilst bouncing up, down and around and therefore raising your heart rate. According to the website, 10 minutes spent at Bounce is the equivalent of a 30 minute run. Bounce at home: If you happen to have a trampoline outside in your garden or you don't mind investing in the small round ones used during the class then you can have a fun time jumping (or exercising) at home as well!

Why Opt For A Personal Trainer

While there are many advantages to joining a gym in your city or starting out at a class like the above: the flexibility to go whenever you have a spare moment, the variety of equipment you can use, the diverse schedule of classes being held in the studios and so on, there are some things that only a personal trainer Edinburgh can bring to the table.

First of all, the nature of personal training is educational. Exercise regimes and nutrition plans are led by the professional's expert knowledge in the science of the body and catered to what result you wish to achieve, whether that is weight loss, muscle tone, training for a particular sporting event or other goals.

Secondly, a personal trainer is there to be focused solely on you, so rather than that feeling of being in a class and not knowing if you are doing to positions or moves correctly, your personal instructor will be on hand to analyse your workouts and ensure that you are getting the most from them. They will evaluate your unique situation and why you have chosen to take this approach to your health and fitness and working out what is the best way for you to proceed. Helping you form good habits, they also help you to make your mind fitter as well as your body.

What's more, isn't it better to be involved in a personal training programme which you feel obliged to keep at rather than telling yourself you'll go to the gym three times a week and then letting yourself down each time you are feeling lazy or seem too busy to fit it in?

Knowing that someone is relying on you to keep up the hard work other than yourself (yet still holding you accountable if you begin to lag behind) can be a huge motivator!

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