Did you ever think about working out with an personal trainer? When you can count down the weeks until summertime, it’s the perfect time to give it some serious thought. I have always felt I didn’t need a trainer because I really love the group exercise programs at Equinox, but I have been slightly curious about personal training. Some people I know swear by it because having that appointment makes them more accountable, they love working with their equinox trainer and they get personalized attention. Lately I have been so busy, I have not taken the time to exercise as frequently as I did in the past. I also see the signs of aging creeping up and I would like to look and feel better.
So I jumped at the chance to meet with Amanda Pelluzzo, Personal Training Manager at Equinox Chicago Gold Coast. She informed me they have 31 trainers and part of her job is to match clients to the right trainer. This is based on their schedule, their fitness needs and if they prefer a male or female. The trainer will ask a series of questions regarding your fitness goals, workout history, what exercises you love (and hate) to do, and if you have any injuries or ailments. Amanda listened to me patiently about how I would love to “find a cure” for aging skin and sagging elbows and knees. “Our readers would love it,” I told her! I know there is no complete cure but she agreed that exercise and diet can definitely help. I told her my goal besides toning up for summer is to get on a consistent program.
That’s where the Equinox 3-day a week personal training program comes to the rescue! Recently the UCLA Exercise Physiology Research Laboratory did a clinical study on the effectiveness of the 3-Cycle System used by Equinox trainers. Those studied over a 12-week period working out with a personal trainer 3 sessions per week increased their body mass by 3.3 pounds, increased muscle strength by 42%, increased muscle power by 10% and 30% were motivated to train 3 extra days a week (6 total).
Amanda walked me through and demonstrated a series of exercises starting with “Movement Prep” to test out and promote flexibility, then “Strength” moves using kettlebells and a ViPR, followed by “Metabolic” training using a Jacobs Ladder. She started me off slowly but explained that intensity will increase as the weeks go by.
What I do in Cycle 1 will prime me for the workouts that follow in the next cycles. For example, I worked out with kettlebells in each hand and simply walked with one foot directly in front of the other – which totally tested my balance! As I improve, Amanda said she would increase the weight and only give me one kettlebell to lift on one side, increasing the core workout when I am ready in the next cycle. All of the exercises are set up as a stepping stone that will be built upon in the next level.
For the last part of the the session Amanda gave me an excellent stretch! This is when I took the opportunity to find out how she became a trainer. (Now I see how people get to know and love their trainers!) Amanda was in gymnastics (my favorite sport) since she was 4 years old, and went on to a receive a scholarship for the University of Missouri Gymnastic team. Fitness and training just naturally followed since it is has always been a part of her life.
Immediately after my PT workout I felt somewhat exhausted, yet invigorated, and I could feel every muscle in my body was worked. No muscle was left untouched! It was an amazing workout. I didn’t even care about my (perhaps superficial) desire to tone my knees, because I realize the good feeling that comes along with being strong, healthy and energized is really most important.
“Since first meeting Amanda (5 years ago) I lost 20 lbs, increased my endurance and have dedicated my time and energy to maintaining a healthy lifestyle. She listens attentively, she is extremely dedicated and worked a fitness program around my shoulder injury. I am forever grateful for her knowledge, energy and professionalism.”
“Not only does Amanda have a significant amount of knowledge in her field, she is very inspiring. She taught me that you are never too old to begin incorporating exercise into your daily life. I am over 50 years of age and never ever ran in my life. Now I have run several 5K’s and am gaining for a 10K. Keep up the good work Amanda. You are truly a gem!”
– Carol Calacci
Photos: Equinox and Second City Style
Training session received for review but the opinions expressed are my own.