Real-life Personal Training Case Studies.
Every client who commits working with me will have their diet and training EXPLAINED and set out for them and in attainable, achievable steps.
The aim is not thinking of it like a very steep mountain you have to climb but a consistent path you need to walk on to achieve your goals. As standard practice, WE will track and adjust your diet and training each week.
I will measure and weigh you, holding us both accountable for getting results.
If WE don`t track your calories and track your energy burned, YOU will be guessing.
Tracking is one factor that is non-negotiable-sorry.
If you think weighing yourself leads to an unhealthy mindset, I will counter than by suggesting not daring to weigh yourself is unhealthier.
I will help with this. It is healthful to be able to weigh in once a week.
It’s the same as regularly checking your bank statements. I presume you don’t guess there lol.
When you start tracking your calories, you face the reality of snacking on a bag of crisps and a scone! The porridge only breakfast.
Carbs are NOT bad for you, except when you get most of your calories from them.
I will explain all of this in one syllable terms if possible.
It`s not rocket science. Altho many Personal Trainers make it so!
You`re a beginner; we start at the beginning.
Give a man a fish, and he`ll scoff it down, show him how to catch it, and he`ll feed himself.
The case studies below highlight some of the scenarios that I typically deal with. They highlight the need for the right attitude, consistency and trust. I will be with you every step of the way provided you are too.
Case study 1: Matt
Goal: sorting his shit out.
I first met Matt, when I opened my gym. I trained him for six weeks and showed him how to make a basic training routine work.
He`d trained before and had a basic set up at home, so I told him to start training at home and instructed him to call me in a month when he would have added 10kg to his squats.
I didn’t hear from Matt for ohhh eight years later lol.
Three stone up and over in weight, working the doors, surviving on fcuk all sleep, two kids, very stressy lifestyle..
So we restarted and in the meantime, he built one of the nicest home gym setups I`ve seen.
We got some numbers under his belt, he changed his job, slept well and tracked his calories.
I fixed his form, and he started training at home.
This time we have catchup every month or so.
I don’t charge for this, as whilst he’s a mate, I’m happy to help most people out for free unless you turn into an “askhole”*.
He asks, I suggest. He does… he grows.
As a result, he`s an absolute pleasure to continue to work with.
Case Study 2: Hannah
Goal: To lose weight for a wedding in 6 weeks
Hannah is a professional with a highly stressful but a low activity job. The majority of her time spent at her desk at work. She had bought a wedding dress to shrink into and a set date as a goal!
Typically, her first question was – How much weight can I lose?
I start by quantifying what is possible for a perfect client and then adjust it to the person standing in front of me. But the short of it is: If you can nail your food day in day out, not miss training sessions, do your cardio when its cardio day and sleep well, you can make quite a change.
You may lose 20lbs during those six weeks like a bodybuilding competitor could, but it’s more likely to be around 10lbs for a typical client.
(I’ve had a 19lb weight loss in one week from one of my clients who started with the appalling diet. But this was an exception as she lived on Mountain Dew!)
It’s critical to keep in mind that it’s not about the pounds you lose but instead about the fat you lose. We will aim for the fat loss rather than muscle+ fat loss.
One stone of fat loss looks far superior to 2 stone of muscle+ fat loss.
I initially tried to dissuade her from training with me since I am not a fan of last-minute dieters. However, she impressed me with her attitude and flexibility. We set the goal together to drop two dress sizes during the six weeks. As I mentioned, I will match your every step!
Hannah didn’t miss a workout in 6 weeks and often came in 3 times a week even. I usually don’t recommend 3/ week, but this was an exceptional case as she was a beginner.
Hannah impressed me with how hard she trained and training hard immediately was necessary. If there are time limits I don’t have the luxury to wheedle, beg, enthuse and cajole the effort out of you! You need to bring it every day, every session.
Hannah did cardio three days a week complimenting her 2-3 weight training sessions with me. She bought a treadmill and watched boxsets while she uses it.
Even though I could not fault her for her training, her eating habits needed some improvements. She wasn’t as consistent and committed to her food. Her job and lack of planning were huge factors there. Also, she under ate!
In 6 weeks Hannah lost 10lbs and dropped two dress sizes. She realised that her results could have been even better if she had managed her diet according to my guidelines. But, we celebrated the goal we set out to achieve.
Hannah continued training with me and at the 3-month stage has dropped 25lb; however, she looks like she’s lost much more! Her body size and type have changed, and it`s continuing. Most importantly, her face looks great still, with not a hint of a gaunt face!
All this was possible because it was fat that she lost and not muscle+ fat.
Hannah is one of my hardest training clients, breaking personal bests weekly, beating existing gym records despite being very much at the beginning of her journey.
Sadly I can`t provide a picture due to the sensitivity of her job.
Case Study 3: WAYNE.
Goal: to be “hench” in 6 months
(I`m not joking)
Wayne came to me because he wanted to lose his drinking belly and bulk up. Even though he had not taken part in any sports recently, he still did have a hard graft job. Reaching his goals wasn’t an overwhelming task, but one that does take time and patience.
Wayne sounded very keen about the process even after explaining my methods in detail but still used the word “hench” frequently during our first session. The induction workout went well, and we booked him in for his next workout.
Wayne cancelled his next workout the day he was due to train because he would give boxing a “go” with a mate.
This was a typical case of giving up before you have started, and personal trainers are not unaware of this. You NEED to stick to some structure and your goals.
I could provide a picture, but that wouldn’t be cool.
Case Study 4: Penny.
Goal: to increase performance with a periodisation programme.
Penny was a serious cyclist, extremely fit, but with no experience of training with weights. She had read (correctly) that periodisation was a great way to build muscle, stamina and power.
I explained to Penny that periodisation is an advanced training style that relied heavily on the correct technique. You need to know all exercises inside out to get the best results.
Penny was in denial about the intensity of the work required from her. Still, her enthusiasm swayed me to make the best of the situation and try harder as she was one of the more advanced athletes I had the opportunity to train.
Tracking her diet and analysing her habits led me to see that Penny would operate consistently under fuel herself on her 100-mile cycling jaunts, but retained her body fat around her thighs still.
No amount of convincing from me could drive her to eat more food to fuel these rides, and she couldn’t see she was underperforming as a result. She was coming for her training session grossly under recovered.
Usually, I aim to increase the bar’s weight each week by a small percentage to determine if the trainee can consistently progress. But in her case, we were taking steps back!
You are adults, and there are only so many ways I can tell you to do something. After eight weeks of training Penny, it was clear that she wasn’t ready to listen or learn. I suggested she use other means to achieve her goals and wished her luck with her future training.
This “failure” highlights another critical element of training- Trust. If you are coming to me, you need to have a fundamental trust element to help you achieve your goals. That is MY goal, and this is where my years of training will help.
I could provide a picture, but that wouldn’t be cool.
M is a petite 5 feet 2inches tall and weighed 9.5 stones. She had already lost two stone from her third baby, but her weight loss had stalled.
Her initial goal was to train with me for four weeks and set her a home training routine. She wanted to try another diet alongside this.
I used my variation of IIFYM (if it fits your macros) and set her diet to obtain a quarter of her calories from protein. Approx 100g of protein daily.
M took to all aspects like a duck to water, because she decided to take my advice and run with it. She lost 2lbs in the first week and then consistently lost a pound a week thereon in. Even daily weight fluctuations were rare as were monthly ones. Her food was consistent, and so was her weight-loss.
After only two workouts, with her fat loss started, she decided to change her initial target of 4 weeks and instead decided to come twice weekly for another six months. Leading her to 8 stone and abs. She built muscle, looked athletic and shapely and not a hint of gaunt in the face.
She was so motivated that after week 1, she gave me her diet plan she had developed using my advice regarding the calories, protein, carbs and fats in each of the meals! I still send it to all my new ladies!
M isn’t the most gifted weight lifter or even one of the best I have seen in progress with the weights. But what she brings to the table is determination and attitude. Anyone can be a Michelle if they want it. Do you?
Case study 6: Susan.
Just help me.
Susan was 47 when she came to me, 16 stone, 5″7 and deskbound.
She had tried to improve her diet by herself, eating low GI carbohydrates. (Google the glycaemic index) It’s a good thing to do, but on its own limited regarding results.
I`d gone through her food on the first session as usual, and she was good to go!
After her third workout, however, she asked what we were doing for fat loss.
Well I said, we`re doing it now…
The penny then appeared to drop.
There wasn’t a magic formula that I was going to unveil. There wasn’t a magic pairing of superfoods: no magic cardio, just basic parameters.
She ate 1700 calories a day and burned between 2200 and 2700 calories a day. (Sometimes more and got told off)
She got approximately a quarter of her calories from protein. She created a 500-750 calorie deficit every fcuking day.
Day in day out for two years now.
She dealt with a bereavement one year in, and her progress stalled understandably, but she didn’t go backwards!
In 2 years shes lost just over five stone, and she doesn`t need surgery to fix any loose skin.
Her goal was 12 stone, but the mirror dictated otherwise.
She carried on what she was doing, nothing more, nothing less.
We`re now at just under 11 stone, and I plan to stop and reassess at ten stone, a number she never thought possible.
In fact, a number that scares her. She starved herself down to 10 stone for a wedding 15 years ago, briefly and knew she looked awful.
I suspect we will have to go down to 9 stone. However, Susan will look like a National athlete at 50 years old.
She can then maintain that weight of 9 stone and eat 2200 calories a day, 500 a day more than now, as long as she stays active.
She epitomises what is possible.
She started walking to work. She started hitting 15000 steps every day.
Then she was furloughed, but she used furlough to continue to crush her goals, as I did.
She didn’t blame the Lockdown for her physique like most of those “hilarious” Facebook memes suggest, she used it as an opportunity to focus on herself.
Like M, Susan never misses workouts, never misses meals, treats herself if she wants, always stays active, just like me.
We have pictures of every stone lost, but for now, I`m going to wait till we hit ten stone before I post them.
Although no one’s ever really quite ready to be made famous 🙂
Mindset is everything.
Case Study 7: Miss P.
Bonus Case Study: Cal.
I could fill this page full of examples of people coming to me, asking for my advice, not taking it and then asking more. As a result, I proactively discourage this behaviour.
This often happens when the client doesn’t get the advice they want to hear. They will choose a trainer that does tell them what they want to hear. This may shock you, but some Personal Trainers will tell you what you want to hear so that they can take your money.
It`s also based on anxiety and overthinking due to poor result on previous attempts.
Me- go for an hours walk. Explaining why and qualifying my choice of activity.
Client- when is the best time?
Me- It doesn’t matter, just do it. However, I walk multiple times a day, as I mentioned.
Client- should I eat beforehand or do it fasted.
Me- It doesn`t matter, just do it. However, I always eat beforehand as I walk multiple times a day; it`s hard, not too.
Client- I`ve heard HIIT is more effective than SSC steady-state cardio, i.e. walking.
Me- It doesn’t matter, just do it. However, I only ever walk due to my back. Do I look, alright?
Each question is based on the client wanting a sexier, more exciting sounding option than walking, something that will burn more fat or build muscle simultaneously and hypothetically.
Most people would die on the most productive regime if there is one, as it would be so brutal, its effectiveness would be in essence, hypothetical, which is what the online fitness world craves.
It`s overthinking/anxiety. You don’t have to think your way out of this situation; this is what you’re paying me for. I will show you how you to do everything to take control, rather than wasting mental energy thinking, what if, or, if only, I hope this works…
I will give you 1+1=2.
I know how effective someone typically is at walking for 1 hour and doing 20 minutes of vomit-inducing HIIT.
You will puke if you do it properly and you`ll underperform initially too and probably not progress and quit.
Everyones keen, till you have to get out at 6 am for your 20 mins of fasted HIIT, in the middle of winter, daily, or going for an hours walk after your tea each evening..
To quote a famous Cult Classic, “can you dig it?”
People usually promote what they like themselves. I encourage what you are most likely to do, consistently, and most likely to get the most bang for your buck.
IE you`ll get out what you put in, rather than kill yourself for little reward due to your current limitations.
This is based on my observations training real people for ten years, not based on a study, of which an opposing study is always available.
Anyhoo, I digress enthusiastically.. The vast majority of my clients are lovely! As am I!