As one Queen turned 90 this week, another Queen was born.
Jenny Hall, Fitness Queen. Ha!
So it was last Thursday that I had my first workout session with George at GPFIT London. It was a blast! Goodbye slummy mummy; hello Fitness Queen of Fit Palace!
Um, actually that’s not quite true. The woman in the picture above is not me (clearly). And George – marvellous though he is – has not managed to transform my body with just one workout!
BUT, I actually FEEL like a Fitness Queen. I really do. And after reflecting on it, I think I know why. I’ve taken the plunge. I’ve finally started on a fitness journey. I’ve only gone and bl**dy done it, haven’t I?
Rewind to last Thursday. I woke up with a few butterflies in my stomach. What would today bring? Would the workout be difficult? Too difficult?
My first #121toFitMum challenge – Greek pastries
I had a meeting prior to the workout which took my mind off things a bit. The meeting was in Aroma Patisserie, a lovely family-run café in the heart of Palmers Green that specialises in Greek sweets, savouries, birthday and wedding cakes. Uh oh! Somehow I managed to resist temptation, and while my lovely social media client, Alison, indulged in both sweet and savoury pastries and creamy coffee, I settled for a very respectable honey and lemon tea! I felt rather smug, actually (sorry Alison)!
Then it was time to rush back to Muswell Hill because I had shopping to do – sports clothes shopping! Not done that in, ooh 20 or so years. I’d found my (slightly too small) cross trainers the night before, and had a t-shirt, but that was it. Thankfully I remembered seeing sporty stuff in my local Tesco Superstore so Alison dropped me off so I could take a look. Nothing like leaving things to the last minute, eh?
I was rather impressed with what Tesco had to offer actually. I grabbed a pair of grey leggings in size 16, and then these rather funky Space Dye leggings in size 14. No time to try anything on so I thought I’d hedge my bets with the sizing. I also spotted some sports bras – I hadn’t thought about needing one of those – and decided on a grey/neon number that sort of matched the grey leggings.
While at Tesco I also purchased some yummy healthy treats to prepare for the weeks ahead. Raw cacao; raw honey; gluten-free oatcakes (George didn’t recommend gluten-free but I thought I’d try them); goji berries; chia seeds by The Chia Co and much more.
Once home, I showered, moisturised face and body (can’t remember the last time I did the latter), painted fingernails and … plucked my eyebrows. Because that’s key to a good workout, right?
Then I tried on my new garb. I already felt better. So, I was all set for George’s arrival.
A tidy home – essential when you have a personal trainer
Oh no I wasn’t! The house was a total mess. Dirty dishes littered the kitchen surfaces; the kids’ breakfast was still on the kitchen floor; and the bathroom needed a bit of a spruce and some Toilet Duck.
So with 20 minutes until George arrived, I rushed around the house like a mad thing, doing some cheat tidying and cleaning. Ha, an unexpected benefit of a personal trainer – enforced tidying! Brilliant! (By the way, if you ever need to do a cheat tidy, here’s a link to very handy article by the rather fabulous Mums Make Lists, called Faking a Tidy Home. It’s enough to say it was one of the most shared articles on my Mumsnet Barnet Facebook page last year!)
But enough of my domestic goddess ways. You’re wanting to know about the workout, right?
The GPFIT London platinum programme
So, I’m on the GPFIT London platinum programme, which means George will put me through my paces twice a week, for ten weeks. This works out costing only £45 per hourly session, which is less than you’d spend on a good night out drinking and eating to excess!
In between my GPFIT workouts I’ll also need to do a home workout, and perhaps another class or activity on top. I found out my local Sweaty Betty runs free pilates courses at noon on Mondays. I might sign up for that because I’ve been advised pilates is better for people like me with Hypermobility Ehlers-Danlos syndrome than, say, yoga classes. (More on this condition and its impact on my workouts in future blog posts).
I was a little concerned my house wouldn’t be large enough to accommodate a fitness workout but it was fine. George brought a few pieces of kit with him – a foam mat, step, resistance band, slam ball and light hand weights. He also brought a TRX suspension trainer, a piece of kit used by top trainers, athletes and the US military. I’d be training like the best!
The TRX works by leveraging gravity and the user’s body weight to help develop a solid core, increase muscular endurance and give a full body workout. It can be used by people of all fitness levels and set up anywhere. After warming up by doing five minutes of steps (which nearly finished me off!) and some challenging freestyle leg squats, George introduced me to this cool piece of kit. I felt a bit weird using it at first – doing exercise still didn’t feel like something that someone like me would do. Does anyone reading this understand what I mean? Being put through a fitness workout by a personal trainer still felt like being in a foreign land. And yet, when I really focussed on performing a particular exercise correctly, I soon forgot myself and the self-conscious feeling disappeared.
George also gave me some mat exercises. Push ups – on knees at this early stage in the programme; lunges and the superbly named ‘superman’! I won’t give you a full account of my workout because everyone requires a customised programme, and after your initial consultation George comes back with a plan that’s perfect for you.
It soon became clear I needed to work on my co-oordination and breathing – I kept getting my left and right confused, and forgot to do the latter! But George has the patience of a saint! We soon worked out I found it easier to follow if I stood next to or behind George, rather than facing him. Another benefit of 121 personal trainer support – the trainer can quickly and easily adapt the workout delivery to suit your exact needs.
All the while George was mindful of the issues I have with my abdomen. (If you’ve read previous blog posts you’ll know I’m concerned I may have Rectus Abdominus Diastasis (RAD). Just an update on that: my GP has referred me to a physiotherapist, although I have to wait until May so might consult a private physio in the meantime. If you have a personal recommendation please feel free to leave me a message below).
My workout lasted about one hour – if you don’t count my talking. Apparently I talk too much? Who knew? Despite finding the warm up difficult because I just wasn’t used to getting so out of breath, I was so pleased I persevered with it and all that followed. Even when I felt like my legs were going to give way, George’s firm but well-intentioned encouragement kept me going.
And wow, the feeling of achievement at the end was fantastic! My skin felt tighter, my hips and waist already felt slimmer. Also I drank LOADS of water for the rest of the day, something I’m usually really rubbish at doing.
In short, I felt bl**dy brilliant. And so very proud of myself.
And George said he was impressed with me, too. On the phone and during our consultation I’d described someone that could barely move from couch to fridge. But apparently I’m not as weak or unfit as I thought. So George is going to push things a bit more next Tuesday. Great – I think!
And what about the home workout?
Over the weekend I tried doing the home workout. I worked hard and could feel the impact, but it certainly wasn’t the same as having George by my side, urging me on. George’s easy-to-understand sheet (which included pictures) recommended three-four circuits. I managed two. That said, I kept putting things off and didn’t workout until 11pm so was very tired! With a bit of forward planning I think I can get the home workout side of things sorted. I’m yet to book a group class but that’s on the to do list for next week!
Don’t forget your post-workout protein!
George reminded me that after each workout I should consume lots of protein. After a shower it was almost time for school pick up, so I made myself a quick smoothie to get the necessary hit. I already had some raw cacoa powder (which I mix with standard drinking chocolate powder to give my fussy eater some much needed vitamins and minerals) and looked to Nutribullet UK for some inspiration. I just adapted the recipes based on what I had stashed in my cupboard: chia seeds, unsweetened almond milk, rasperries, banana and a small handful of kale leaves. It tasted amazing, and with every sip I felt more and more healthy!
A fitness workout gives a great, natural high!
I almost floated to school, I was on such a high. My entire body felt tired but in a good way, and my dodgy knee already felt less tight. It was a lovely, sunny day and I decided to take the girls to the park straight after school, where we all did a few cheeky stretches and jumping jacks to continue the fitness! Even the kids were really getting into this! On the way home I bought some sunny yellow daffodils to match my mood.
Will you join me?
If you’ve not yet started your fitness journey but want to do so, I hope I’ve inspired you to bite the bullet. Go on, just do it! You’ll feel so fantastic for just starting. And just think, if you start now you’ll be beach-ready for Summer! As an added incentive, I’m offering you a 10% discount on your first GPFIT London block booking – just quote Mumsnet Barnet or Mumsnet Enfield.
PS. Next Monday I’ll take you through my two workouts this week. I’ll also give you my downloadable ‘Protein Power’ feature packed full of ideas to ensure you consume enough protein post-workout. I’ve been a vegetarian for almost 30 years so there will be lots of plant-based ideas. Plus there’ll be more health, fitness home and style tips over the coming months, too.
PPS. OK, OK, I promised to share my Week 1 body pictures, didn’t I? I feel horrible just looking at them. Even the chin is embarrassing!
But then George said to dig out a photo of how I used to look, and to use this to motivate me, so here is that one.
Much better! I was 36 here, and it was pre-children. But George thinks I can get pretty close to it, so let’s do this!
Until next Monday!
PS. To read the previous #121toFitMum blog post click here.