Back to the gym in January: Straight shoulders and jelly legs...my start to a healthier 2019

The PFG Team
The PFG Team

Yes, I am one of them. Just like many others after a festive period, where the diet is anything but and the exercise mainly consists of reaching for a glass of something alcoholic, January is finally that time. The time for me to get to the gym.

I have dabbled in the past but it would be a stretch to say I have ever stuck to a set programme. I like to swim and I also practice yoga but I tend to remain in my comfort zone. This time, I was determined to see it through. As a 40-something, I wanted to feel stronger and I wanted and see the benefits of sticking to a fitness program that’s individually made for me.

Maria Howard

Maria Howard

I spoke to coach Scott Halliday (left) from Eastbourne Herald’s Gym of the Year, Performance Fitness. He has trained many male and female powerlifters/strongmen to British, European and World successes. I knew I was in expert hands. We devised a schedule that would fit around my work and home life and I agreed to attend three one-hour sessions each week for the next two months.

I was shown around the facilities and I was quite relieved to see all ages, both male and female, working out. Scott seemed to know all the members by name. It’s a very friendly and healthy environment to be in and also to meet people working towards their own goals. I couldn’t help but feel a little inspired.

I had my body measured and weighed so my progress, or lack of it, could be monitored and I also had a seven site skin fold test, which, I was reliable assured, calculates body fat more accurately than a body mass index (BMI) calculator. Mine came in at 29 per cent and I am interested to see what improvements I can make in a two-month period.

My posture was also checked and I was told to watch my shoulders as they are hunching forward too much. Scott will design exercises to address this and any other muscle imbalances.

The first sessions are all about getting to know my movements, my strengths and my weakness. After a warm-up on the treadmill I was into it. First of all it was the squats and it turns out I have been doing them wrongly all my life. I was taught the correct movement and also to breath at the right time. I did 10 squats, three times and each time the weight was increased slightly in order to find what was comfortable and what made me pull weird faces. “There’s no point in overdoing it so you can’t walk the next day,” said Scott, much to my relief.

I also did some leg extensions, which involved working the thigh and leg curls to strengthen the hamstrings. The machine that worked the inner and outer thigh certainly made an impression. I was using muscles I don’t move in everyday life. I enjoyed it and I liked the fact the sessions are completely designed for your body. Not a one size fits all.

I walked out off the gym on day one, slightly jelly-legged and doing my best to keep my shoulders back. I also said I was feeling positive and looking forward the weeks ahead. “See you tomorrow,” replied coach Scott. “Upper body day.” Perhaps I spoke too soon!

For more details on personal training packages at Performance Fitness Gym, contact: 01323 412498 or visit www.performancefitness.co.uk