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Personal Trainer or Not?

This is quite a personal post.  It’s pretty long, but I think it’s necessary to show how I’ve felt about exercise and my health.  It’s also as a very big thank you to people who have given me some very special time, and have recently been helping me enormously.

Ok, on with it.  None of us are getting any younger, well maybe Demi Moore, Cameron Diaz and Victoria Beckham are, but I’m traditionally ageing forwards, bulldozing my way towards retirement at a frightening speed.  I’m pretty proud of what my body can do these days though.  And that’s a decade and a half after entering menopause.  Yes, I did have the luck to enter mine early, in my thirties, so my worst days flew away with the cuckoo long ago.  It does mean that I’m more at risk of osteoporosis than everyone who hits hot flushes in their late forties or early fifties, so I’ve been desperate to begin taking care of my joints and bones.


With my weight loss, I’m feeling better than I have for at least two decades, with the odd blip of two of a runny nose and sore throat, when those pesky kids of mine take home precious germs from school, just desperate to share them around.

So, the short story is, I can run….  Very slowly, as I keep telling everyone, but that’s so I don’t have to get embarrassed when a ten-year old whizzes past me in public, or I huff and puff my way up a new hill.

Back to what I’d planned talking about.  It’s a simple question isn’t it?  Whether to consult a personal trainer or not!  Or maybe it isn’t.  What do we even mean by a personal trainer anyway?  Shouldn’t it be someone who knows more than how to train us, or someone who knows about how fitness affects overall health?

Honestly though, it’s a potential mind blower…with all the terms and confusion.

I can imagine about a quarter of you who are reading, silently thinking, ‘no brainer,’ yet the other three-quarters might either be sniggering their socks off, or wondering what else the money could be spent on.


All of the above, are actually valid reasons, as is the concern of hitting a gym full of late teens and twenty year olds, either pumped up or perfectly body beautiful.  In reality, few, if any, care about us oldies with wobbly bits, but how we feel, does often stop us from doing things that are good for us.

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and when I was young, I longed for skinny legs and the smallest clothes I could fit.  I’m eons more sensible now, having realised that being strong is infinitely more attractive to anyone with a bit of sense.  And that’s not on the outside, but on the inside, where it counts. Think about it. What we look like on the outside, isn’t going to help us age gracefully or healthily, if we’re thin but unfit, or overweight and wanting to do something about it, but can’t get up the courage to take the next step, or perhaps don’t know where to start.

That was me.  After I was asked to run the Race for Life, I just kept going, not having a clue what I was doing really, but just putting one foot in front of the other, and building it up slowly.  It was the right way to do it, and I’d read and read about strength training, but just hadn’t figured out how to go about it.  I knew I had a skinny fat type belly, and I knew I wanted to do something about it, but somehow, I still felt embarrassed.  I thought about using the gym, but thought I’d look like a numpty newbie.  Even worse…was that my husband bought himself a home gym in January, but has never used it, so I wanted to, but never felt I was doing anything constructive.

For a while now, one of my secret wishes, was to add strength training as my middle body is weak, and not in good condition.  I look fine, but I haven’t felt fine about it.

I’ve often wondered how to measure body fat percentage over the last year, but a body fat caliper seems to be very far out, as most of the fat I’m left with, is stored in one area.  It could throw those results off.

I had the opportunity to have an InBody test done at Temple Medical, by the lovely Jo, one of their doctors, and the reading pretty much confirmed what I thought.  The test, which measures our body composition, is fairly comprehensive and does far more than simply measure body fat.  I know my body water, protein, mineral and fat mass levels….  It’s an enlightening and very quick test to have done.  It’s also an eye opener.  Lots of people are telling me that I’m soon going to be too thin, yet the InBody test tells me I still have a lot of work to do.

Most of my fat is centered around my abdomen, and it’s not a great thing to have, considering my weight is inside the normal range, but I am only a smidgen under the line for dangerous visceral fat.  Yes, I have UK size 7-8 feet at just over 5 foot 4, so I’m never going to have a skeleton that lets me on the lower side of the weight scale without looking emaciated, and my InBody score came out at 72, which I am assured is fairly good.  Yet it’s not ideal either, considering that my body fat percentage came out at over 30%. That’s despite all the running and weight loss.  In other words, it was staring me front and centre, in black and white, that I’ve done nowhere near enough to be fully healthy.  I’ve had blinkers over my eyes..and stuffed cotton wool in my ears.  I knew this stuff, but whey hey, pretend it doesn’t exist, and I could fool myself that I was more healthy than I was.

Put that BFP into perspective.  In some places, they class people with over 30 BFP as obese!!  Compare that with the fact I take a UK size 8 jean in Next these days.  Usually 8-10 in most other places.

With a few tips from Jo about food, and advising me to eat at the level of 1300-1400 calories a day, with around 130g protein in 24 hours, and how to get that in, I set off to make a few changes, knowing I could ask her for more advice.  I don’t need to diet as such, as that would be daft, but what I do need, is to replace some of that BFP with lean muscle instead.  Yep, I’m back to strength training, aka weights, and lifting…

It’s laughable – lifting weights at my age, isn’t it?

Or is it?

Who doesn’t want to be strong?  I’m sure I do.  When I get to sixty, or seventy, if I make that, or even beyond, I still want to be able to climb stairs, go for walks, maybe even still run, chase around any potential grandchildren, and enjoy life to my potential max.  I’m never going to be ready for my pipe and slippers when I retire.  I’ll be blogging till I’m ninety….

Moving on, and back to the issue of personal trainers.  They’re scary…  Usually perfectly fit and able twenty somethings, who’ve never fought with life, weight, stress, or kids running around their ankles. That’s what I thought.  There are lots of gyms in Aberdeen, yet I wanted to talk to someone who’s had a bit of life struggle.  Someone who would understand that having a dodgy thyroid makes losing weight tricky, someone who had perhaps lost weight themselves in the past, and someone closer to my age. Regular personal trainers don’t seem to have that experience, even if they do have nutritional qualifications.  I can imagine they exist, but I hadn’t found them.

My one and only experience to date, a few years ago, was a very young lad, telling me to go longer and faster on an elliptical, which I hated, then onto a treadmill, where my legs wobbled like jelly and my heart felt like it would burst by the end.  I never went back.


I found what I was looking for when I didn’t expect it at all, and it’s changed my life in a single session.

Tracy is the Health and Fitness Consultant at Temple Medical, and she was my next stop.

I have to admit to being a little anxious when I first met Jo and Tracy.  This isn’t even what I initially went there to review.  I was asked to review treatments, which I naively thought were all based around the face.  On my blog, they’d spotted my weight loss and let me come to talk about the service as part of their aesthetics treatments and weight loss management.  I’ll talk about it in another post, as I’ve begun the body contouring phase of their Alevere Weight Reduction Therapy programme, although I don’t need the weight loss segment.

As an overview, I took advantage of the session with Tracy, secretly hoping she’d be able to help me decide what to do with my pathetically weak belly.

Have a giggle at the wee time-lapse below.

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I felt fine with Tracy.  She’s around my age, has life experience, and knows about the difficulty of being fit, and struggling to find the nerve to do something about it.  In short, it seems I have lazy glutes.  Those backside muscles that seem to have withered away on me.  Honestly, there’s nothing back there these days.  I’ve got strength in my thighs and calves from running, but my mid section, glutes, and almost everywhere else, is pathetically weak.


By the time I left that one hour session, I could have kissed her.  Really.  The introduction to exercise is tailored at our ability to cope, and can be built up slowly.  I don’t think I stopped talking all the way through, asking questions over and over..

In the studio, she introduced me to kettlebells, basic stretch exercises, and has given me a great idea for using the redundant weights machine in my house, by adding an extension to the front instead of needing a cross hook.

I’ve had a mat for years, that I’ve finally unrolled for my home gym (in the pic).  I’ve bought a couple of kettlebells from Amazon and I’m all the bash. I’ve no intention of joining a gym, but I would if I had to. I just can’t get to one often enough to justify the expense, and I like the idea of being able to go to my gym any time I want to.  Whatever we can stick to is what we should do, if we can.

I believe Temple Medical has classes and Tracy has invited me along to see one, so I’ll try to stop my joints popping before I mosey on along.

I’m back to see Jo in a month or so, to see how I’m getting on for a follow on InBody scan, so I’m keeping my fingers crossed I manage to make a little progress. Kettlebells and protein, here I come.

Temple Medical are introducing a new product, which includes everything I experienced, which runs initially until Christmas.

New Temple Body Health Assessment in Aberdeen

  • InBody Scan, ie Body Composition Scan and Results.  Find out your percentage body fat, protein, minerals, body water and more.
  • 30 minute session with Jo, Medical Doctor, to discuss InBody results.
  • 30 minute session with Tracy, Health and Fitness Consultant.

You get all of this for £99, initially until Xmas.  Call: 01224 869997 for current offers.

I’d often wondered how to get a full body scan done, and thought it would cost hundreds and hundreds to have it done.  I had no idea how simply and quickly it could be done and analysed.

Find Temple Medical at:

Temple Medical Ltd
6 West Craibstone Street
AB11 6DL

Thanks to Temple Medical for my consultation and treatments.  All opinions are my own, based on my experience.  Other treatments available include light therapy, wrinkle relaxing treatments, skin rejuvenation, blemish removal, body contouring, ipl laser hair removal, and many more non surgical cosmetic procedures.