Weekly column by fitness experts Adam Wright and Jacqui Watson for the Waterford News & Star, in association with Kingfisher Fitness Club
HI everyone! My name is Adam, I’ve been a personal trainer for the last 10 years and whenever I have trouble thinking of things to write about I fall back on the basics because there’s always someone just starting out on their fitness journey that hasn’t heard them yet and/ or someone for whom they haven’t sunk in yet because they haven’t heard them expressed in quite the right way for them. So let’s talk about…
Why you should have more metrics for progress than just scale weight
The overwhelming majority of the people I work with have some level of fat loss as a goal. And they associate fat loss with weight loss. This isn’t necessarily accurate as you can lose fat and gain muscle at a similar rate as a beginner but still, if a change in scale weight is desired initially as a trainer, in my opinion, you have to meet people where they are and not just try to make them forget about the scales.
What I try to do instead is encourage my clients to monitor the scales but also other metrics like body measurements, progress photographs, how they feel and improvements in performance in the gym (see the next heading). This way, when the scale doesn’t show a decrease or fluctuates up – everybody’s weight fluctuates, it’s normal. Thinking it’s not going to for you if you try hard enough is like thinking you’re never going to be sad again – you have other things to look at for progress: “Oh, the scales didn’t go down but I’ve lost inches, I’m getting stronger and I feel great in my clothes so I’m ok!” and ever so slowly the scales start losing that emotional hold on you.
Why you should be strength training
If your main goal is fat loss: strength training can help burn calories and provide another metric for success… getting stronger (as mentioned above). If your main goal is something else, like being a better runner, strength training can help there too (if you have two runners who are alike in every other way except one has stronger legs who do you think has an advantage?). Your program would need to be specific to that goal but you should still be strength training. And even if your main goal is just a general improvement in health I can’t think of a single place where being stronger will be an unhealthy thing.
And, in the nicest possible way, not strength training because you’re afraid of getting big and muscley is like not learning to drive because you’re afraid of becoming an F1 driver… It isn’t that easy to get big and muscley and you can get stronger without getting bigger.
Why you should be prioritising protein
In 10 years of doing this job I have never met someone that has accidentally been eating the recommended amount of protein for muscle building. Most of the people I work with are eating nowhere near the recommendation (1.6-2.4g of protein per kilo bodyweight) and those that already are when I meet them are only doing so because they’ve already made it a priority.
Your muscles are made of proteins. They’re not made of carbs or fats. Whether you want to be a huge bodybuilder or are just looking to shape and tone your arms a little: protein is important for you.
Side note: “protein” does not mean protein powder. Protein as a nutrient comes from many sources including meat, fish, poultry, eggs, dairy, beans, tofu and can be obtained in large enough amounts to not have to worry about supplementing with protein powder if you don’t want to.
Those are some basics. If you’d like to discuss them further message me on Instagram or Facebook @AdamWrightPT or come in and see us at the Kingfisher Club on the Tramore Road. Have a great week. Stay safe. Talk soon. Adam.