It happens all the time. Sometimes it’s a text Jess receives. Sometimes it’s a comment during a training session. Sometimes it’s a non-verbal reaction. However it’s communicated, it’s the thing that motivates Jess to hop out of bed at 4:30 in the morning to meet someone. Trust me, the fact that she’s willing to rise that early is a minor miracle.
But, she does it, and then she comes home and tells me about the big wins for the day. The stories of her clients who are making breakthroughs, sometimes crying tears of joy because they are doing things they never thought they could or they are no longer feeling pain they had struggled to shake. I can’t speak for her clients, but witnessing the passion Jess has for helping people achieve their goals has inspired me. I’m fortunate to hear those stories but also experience the work she does first-hand.
Moving From Home Workouts to Studio Training Sessions Speeds Recovery
For those of you that read the first article, you know Jess wasn’t training me in person at the beginning of my post-surgery recovery. Instead of meeting with me, she would write some workouts down, and then I would do them by myself in the basement. For me, that was a good place to start. I had done enough of this kind of workout before that I could confidently do what was needed. Plus, even though she wasn’t there, the training was specifically designed for my situation and struggles.
However, as good as that was, after a few weeks we decided it was time to transition to in-person training sessions at the studio if we wanted to take the next steps in my fitness recovery. To be sure, you can exercise by yourself, but it will never match what you will accomplish with a personal trainer. Here are a few of the reasons why going to the studio was the best for me:
I just don’t go as hard when no one else is in the room. That’s just an unfortunate fact.
Ability to Focus:
When you’re in the studio, there aren’t the same distractions, whether it’s my phone (which I put away), my kids (or neighbors’ kids), or the dog. And honestly, I can use a break from the regular day-to-day.
Adjustments for Muscle Deficiency:
Sometimes, especially with a muscle deficiency, an exercise will recruit the wrong muscles to do the work. In my case, I have an abdominal deficiency. Recently, I was attempting a core exercise, but I was mostly activating my hip flexors instead of my lower abs. Instead of plowing through with an exercise that was ineffective, Jess switched me to an exercise that was able to target the abdominals more successfully. This is so important not only to build the muscles that need it but also to help avoid injury.
Correcting Exercise Form:
Under Jesse’s watchful eye, she’s also able to correct my form, which helps maximize efficiency and reduce the risk of injury while doing an exercise. One example that sticks out is my form on the renegade rows. I’ll let Jess explain it below with the aid of some pictures from our basement during the pre-studio phase. We only caught this correction because I was taking photos for the first article. She saw my renegade row from one day of photos, and she informed me that we couldn’t use that photo—unless we wanted to show how not to do it!
“Nope, that’s not right, Tightpants,” Jess said. “I want you to reset. Let’s focus on three changes. First, bring your feet in, align them with your hips. You’re cheating having them wide. Second, your head is making me nervous. Tuck your chin for me. (In the first attempt, it’s dropping toward the ground, which can wreak havoc on the cervical spine, especially since you’re already a desk jockey and cyclist.) Third and most importantly, row the weight back, instead of straight up. In the renegade row, we are targeting the mid-back. When you row up, you’re getting more bicep and upper traps. When you row back towards your abdomen with your elbow tucked, you’re going to get the gains for which I put you on the floor in the first place. Another reason for rowing back is that it will make the exercise much harder on your abs to fight the rotation in your hips. Both should point towards the floor at all times. Now, let’s go again.”
Of course, I listened to Jess. The exercise immediately became a little more difficult, but that was the point as I work toward recovery. I defaulted to a motion that made the exercise easier, but in doing so, I sacrificed the objective. It’s a little ironic, because Jess typically makes my life easier.
More Exercise Equipment:
The equipment in the studio provides so much more variety. This helps both with keeping it interesting and hitting all the muscle groups in different ways.
The photos are a few examples of the equipment you won’t find in my basement.
Activity-Tracking Shows the Recovery Process
For those following along, here’s an updated graph of my monthly calorie burn. As we saw before, the numbers dipped dramatically in August because of the surgery. The ramp up continues, and as of November 24, this month is on pace to be one of the best of the year—in large part because of the work I’m doing with Jess.
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