My First Weekend with the Training Room
I set my alarm bright and early on a Saturday morning and headed off to the station. I was about to start the first day on my journey to becoming a Personal Trainer. I arrived at Fulham Broadway tube station with just 10 minutes to spare according to the route planner on my phone. I had killed some time earlier sitting in a Starbucks at Embankment. That hadn't gone too well either as no sooner had I got my latte than we parted company when I managed to drop it and had to queue for ages to get another one.
I got out my phone as I arrived on the pavement outside the tube and set the search map and then, bang, my phone died. I had forgotten to charge it. I looked at my watch, I only had 5 minutes to go, I ran like a lunatic along the road, not having a clue where I was going, but then got a stroke of luck as a black taxi appeared. I managed to flag it down and begged the driver to take me to David Lloyds as quickly as possible. He looked at me rather strangely and just 50 yards later I was back outside Fulham Broadway station, the driver hadn't changed his expression and pointed above the building I had left 5 minutes earlier. I felt like a right idiot but he was kind enough not to charge me. I raced up the escalator, making a mental note to myself that there was actually a Starbucks in the building. I needn't have panicked though as at that point it was just me and two other guys there.
We were greeted by a lovely young woman who introduced herself to us as Kerri and was then joined by another tutor called Dean. They appeared laid back and quickly put our class of twelve at ease. You know what it is like when you meet a group of total strangers for the first time, it is all rather quiet. Kerri then got on with it by saying, turn to the person next to you and find out their name, where they are from a bit about them and one secret we wouldn't know about them. Now this was an easy task for me as I was born just plain nosy and am not afraid to ask. When it came to our turn I proudly introduced my new found friend as Pia, a dance teacher. I went on to talk a little about Pia, she had told me her secret was she had studied Agriculture. So, I chose my moment and came to the punch line "and Pia's secret is...she used to be a man!" Well, you could have heard a pin drop as all the smiles on people's faces started to evaporate. So I quickly added "not really". The class erupted into laughter and Pia also found it funny, which was just as well. The good thing about this method of finding out who your neighbours are is that it was a good opportunity for me to tell Pia my secret. I am disabled and this is an issue as I find it very hard to tell people that I can't hear or see too well. I recently completed a massage course and couldn't bring myself to let the tutors or students know. I tried to bluff it and instead fell way behind the others as I didn't hear or see what instruction was being shown. I failed and had to go back and re-sit because I didn't have the courage to let anyone know.
With the ice broken, Dean and Kerri then started the class by diving straight into the manual and it wasn't long before I thought that I was in the wrong class and that this was a course to become a doctor or a surgeon. We weren't just learning about bones and muscles but their composition in a dissected state and numerous names I couldn't pronounce let alone spell. Dean then turned off the screen and told us he was going to test us on what we had just learnt. The class then reeled of a quick list of the longest names in history. Meanwhile I was still staring at a shoulder blade thinking "that's a shoulder". I glanced across at one of the other students though and caught him sneaking a look at his notes and was relieved that I wasn't the only one that hadn't managed to memorise all those names instantly.
After an hour or so of tibias and fibulas and their function, even the resident skeleton looked overworked as Dean reached for its arm which fell off in his hand. Dean looked a little embarrassed but in true professional style carried on holding on to the detached arm.
I was so impressed by Kerri as, not only was she easy on the eye, but she kept stopping and asking If could hear and see okay and then re-adjusted her position to make sure I could. For a person so young, I found her pretty amazing. In fact, they were both really good and knew their subject inside out.
After a short break, and just when I thought I had grasped the muscle system, we then moved onto the lungs. "Does anyone know what the lungs do?" Kerri asked. There were lots of blank faces so I took my chance, put up my hand, and blurted out "help us breath?" Kerri agreed and then reeled of another catalogue of benefits and Latin names that we had to remember and that I couldn't pronounce let alone spell.
I sat there and wondered how I was going to make tomorrow. I know how to make people fit by using different techniques; do I really need to know what's in a muscle fibre? But I reminded myself that knowledge is power, you would be impressed if your personal trainer could tell you why and how a muscle is injured etc. My wife works for the NHS and is medically trained but even she was surprised when I told her about what we had learnt and thinks I will end up knowing more than her. That's when I realised this isn't any normal course where you are issued a certificate and told to get out there and get on with it. The Training Room is obviously linked to top pro gyms and health clubs for a reason and their standards are high.
When I got home that night, some of what we had learnt seemed to have sunk in, I know I still have a month to revise, but I was proud of what I had learnt so far and I went on twitter to talk about my day. My poor friend had to listen to me twittering on "did you know a muscle is made up of 70 per cent water, 23 percent Protein and 7 per cent salt..." She is 60 years old and wheelchair bound and the make-up of a muscle to her is about as useful as a builder with a paper hammer although she kindly humoured me.
I have my own gym and train about 10 people; I use free weights (dumbbells and barbells), boxing and kickboxing in my routines and have achieved some amazing results. I was pleased to find out that I am not too far adrift from The Training Room's methods. Kerri showed me a few things that would make some of my routines a little harder though, I put these into practice and a couple of my clients begged me not to return to the course!
To be continued...