Putting the personal touch into training at St Albans gym

Personal Trainer Sam Hart coaches Herts Advertiser's Sophie Crockett at Westminster Lodge

Personal Trainer Sam Hart coaches Herts Advertiser's Sophie Crockett at Westminster Lodge - Credit: Archant

January inevitably brings the annual wave of ‘New Year, New Me’ mantras, the resolution that this year, this one will be the year that you get ‘into shape’.

Personal Trainer Sam Hart coaches Herts Advertiser's Sophie Crockett at Westminster Lodge

Personal Trainer Sam Hart coaches Herts Advertiser's Sophie Crockett at Westminster Lodge - Credit: Archant

Your gym membership is purchased, your cupboards cleared of the last remaining Quality Streets, and if you’re really committed, you’ll have even attempted the dreaded ‘Dry January’.

I began 2015 in the same way, but come February the allure of the office biscuit tin and posing muscle men parading around the gym was enough to make me sink back into the sofa.

Getting to the gym required motivation enough, but when I was there, actually attempting to use the wide array of equipment was a whole other challenge.

Once again, I’d find myself resorting to my comfort zone with a (not so) long stint on the cross trainer, embarrassed at the thought of attempting the other machines and failing miserably.

Personal Trainer Sam Hart at Westminster Lodge

Personal Trainer Sam Hart at Westminster Lodge - Credit: Archant

Cue Sam Hart, Everyone Active trainer at Westminster Lodge.

I’d always reserved the idea of a personal trainer for celebrities or the super fit, and the notion of laying my extreme lack of fitness on the line for someone to assess made me feel nervous.

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That’s why I decided to try the double personal training sessions offered by the leisure centre, where you share not only the cost, but the pain, with a friend (and in this case my sister, Ella).

We took the plunge in April and the not-so-scary Sam eased us in, tailoring a workout for the whole body in line with our fitness levels.

He first took down our measurements, weight and used a body fat analyser to assess our muscle mass and body fat.

I’d heard of a BMI (Body Mass Index) before, but Sam explained that isn’t an accurate indicator of a ‘healthy weight’.

He said: “BMI is rubbish. The body fat analyser does loads, including a waist to hip ratio and assessing your metabolic rate.”

We then spoke about our fitness goals and the areas we wanted to tone up. Ella and I differed slightly, but Sam said that he’d balance each session to keep us on track for our personal targets.

Following the consultation we warmed up on the all too familiar exercise bike- except this time I actually worked up a sweat. There was no slacking with Sam.

The ‘total gym’ machine, the most popular piece of equipment according to Sam, was the second stop. It enables you to use your own weight to work on all areas of the body.

We started with chest, and then worked our legs, before moving onto the Power Plates for a core strength and arm workout.

Often referred to as the “microwave of fitness”, this machine gives the body’s muscles a high-speed workout which promises to give the results of 60 minute workout in just 10.

The final stage, and one I was always guilty of leaving out, is stretching. Sam showed us how to warm down and ensure our muscles weren’t left in a ‘shortened state’, something that leads to added pain the next day.

Before we knew it, our 45 minute session was up and I left with an unfamiliar feeling of accomplishment.

Ella and I, both on different work schedules, had to work around each other, and Sam happily fitted in sessions around us.

Over the next few months we met with Sam on numerous occasions; he increased our knowledge of not only the gym equipment and floor exercises to do at home, but nutrition too.

We soon had a routine and ditched the notion of calorie counting in favour of ‘healthy swaps’ and limited sugar intake.

The idea of getting fit suddenly didn’t seem so intimidating and eight months later I’m down nearly two stone (and it’s post Christmas).

Sam helped kick-start both me and Ella’s transition into a healthy lifestyle, arming us with the knowledge we needed to feel confident in the gym and the kitchen.

With sessions that fit around us (and at a reasonable price), we’re out of excuses not to get fit - but for once in our lives, we don’t need them.

Sessions can be bought in 15, 30, 45 minute and one hour slots. Call 01727 763080 for more information.