Pizza, pain and progress: My experience of using an independent personal trainer for the first time

Standing on the scales, looking at the scales, and then wanting to throw the scales out the window after discovering they’re not actually broken, is a situation many of us can relate to.

After a year of working in an office and creating a lifestyle where I simply moved from my bed to my car, then to my desk and back again - all whilst enjoying an ever-growing penchant for pizza - it’s safe to say when I finally stepped on the scales I was utterly horrified and ready to march back to Argos for a full refund.

Fast forward two years from this rather appalling moment of realisation, and I’ve tried every exercise app and eating plan you can think of. From the Atkins and 5:2 diet, right through to Joe Wicks’ HIIT workouts and the NHS app ‘Couch to 5K’ – with plenty of failed ‘quick fix’ weight loss attempts in-between. Despite my best efforts however, I still found myself firmly on the couch, heavier than ever.

Naturally at this point, I decided to sign up to the gym. Of course, it seemed like a great idea at the time, but it wasn’t long before the novelty soon wore off and I realised that I was virtually terrified of everything other than the running and cycling machine.

I then realised that if I was really going to make a go of this exercise business that I needed two things. The first was a private environment where I’d feel comfortable, the second was someone understanding who‘d show me what the hell to do with all the equipment I’d never touched in a gym. It had finally dawned on me; I needed a personal trainer.

After plenty of internal deliberations and some online research, it wasn’t too long before I’d found a local trainer with their own studio. After analysing their website approximately 25 times, I finally plucked up the courage to book a free consultation. To say I was nervous when I turned up is an understatement. I was nothing short of petrified – what if they shouted at me? What if I couldn’t do the exercises? What if my lungs packed up? Judging by my last attempt at running, all scenarios were likely.

Thankfully, I had nothing to be scared of. The initial consultation comprised of a series of informative health and fitness assessments and while I did some exercise, I wasn’t pushed to a point where I felt uncomfortable.

By the time the consultation was over I wondered why I’d spent so much time worrying. Thanks to the personal trainer’s professionalism and enthusiasm, I felt well informed, encouraged, and most importantly, at ease. I realised they were someone I could trust and get along with – pretty important factors considering I’d signed up for 20 one-hour training sessions shortly after the initial consultation.

I’d booked in for an evening session twice a week, and after a flat out Monday at work before I knew it I was about to begin my first proper session. I was already exhausted and after years of being borderline inactive, I wondered if it was actually physically possible for me to work out for an hour.

It goes without saying that the first session was incredibly tough, but ultimately I was never forced to do anything I couldn’t do. My personal trainer was both motivating and understanding, whilst also being incredibly patient as they carefully talked me through new exercise routines and I badgered them with endless questions. Once again I felt comfortable and empowered to push myself, whilst also thoroughly enjoying being able to work out in a calming, private studio away from the gaze of other gym goers.

The next few days after the session were certainly nothing short of uncomfortable as my body adjusted to life with exercise – but I couldn’t deny the sense of achievement I felt. Over the next few weeks I continued with the training sessions which incorporated everything from barbells and kettle bells, to boxing, running and cycling. There was always something new to learn, and my personal trainer was always there to guide me through it, as well as offer helpful yet realistic nutritional guidance based on the food diary I had been keeping.

Thankfully it wasn’t all chicken, eggs and protein shakes - just manageable changes and no judgemental looks when my food diary happened to include a Domino’s pizza.

Soon, I had been training for one month. Yes, there were a fair few mornings where I’d wake up sore and wondering how I’d ever manage another session – but I’d done the first few weeks, so I thought it was surely only up from here, right?

 Well, not exactly. I’m now six months down the line, and I still get those same aches and pains. It doesn’t get easier, but I wouldn’t want it to – it’s a sign I’m constantly being pushed to improve, and without that constant drive and enthusiasm from my personal trainer, I wouldn’t be where I am now.

Thanks to regular health assessments I have been able to track my progress clearly, from my body composition through to my blood pressure. Before, all I cared about was losing weight, and while I’ve managed to lose over a stone, using a personal trainer has enabled me to do so much more.  I’ve also been able to reduce my blood pressure, gain muscle mass and most importantly of all, finally change my lifestyle to be one that’s much healthier, much more active and actually happier.

 So who is the personal trainer that’s helped make this possible? His name is Romain Greze.

Romain set up his Hampshire-based YOLO Fitness business after a highly successful career in advertising. It was his understanding of the pressures on our bodies and minds as we navigate the stresses of modern life and business expectations, which motivated him to set up YOLO Fitness. Having also undergone his own personal transformation, Romain’s endless enthusiasm, dedication and understanding of how to achieve a happy and healthy lifestyle is not only infectious, but life-changing.

It’s safe to say having Romain as my personal trainer has been a fantastic experience – one that has surpassed all my expectations as he continues to help, encourage and support me to achieve new fitness goals I genuinely never thought possible.

Throwing caution to the wind is never easy. When you choose to start personal training, there is going to be pain, there may even still be some pizza in your diet, but without a doubt there will be incredible progress. So if you’re thinking about using an independent personal trainer, put your worries to one side and forget any preconceived ideas you may have – if they’re anything like Romain, it’ll be a decision you wish you’d made much sooner.