Gym, at home vs. not at home plus trainer

Ok, this one is tricky for me. Overall I am motion challenged (Biking and Skiing the only exceptions). So getting gym style exercises right is tricky for me to say the least. I happen to have a gym around the corner in walking distance, but they are short on personal trainers. Driving to a gym adds quite a bit of time to my daily schedule, and does not seem to be practical, at least not every day. One option would be to plan for only once or twice a week in the real gym, and focus more on the trainer …

So I would like to see how others are handling that.


Very interested to hear what others say on this - I’m in a similar situation and just ended up not doing it!

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What @Mikep does is pretty good - certainly well balanced the off-the-bike work.

Hi Miffe and thanks Pav

The programme Pav put together for me works well. I am 62, work quite long cerebal hours. My training focus is August 2023 Paris Brest Paris and the bigger qualifiers.

The weeks training Pav has done is built around turbo sessions most days, zone 2 ride for 3 to 5 hrs on Sunday, 30 min yoga 5 days a week, rest day on Saturdays.

Pav usually puts in at least two strength sessions a week. i try to do one with a gym class for the community aspect, which I find is good for the mental wellbeing. Often the classes are full so i have some kettlebell at home or be creative and turned house jobs into strength sessions, for example i shifted three jumbo bags of firewood and used those as three strength sessions.

I have also found the Joe Friel guides really helpful to structure a workout as generally I’d avoid doing such stuff, however i am feeling the difference 6 weeks down the track and enjoying it far more than I thought.

Earlier in the year I hired a personal trainer for four sessions to help with lifting, squatting technique.

The investment was well worth the money because I now know the difference between targeting where to build and use tension in the body to lift versus just lifting. That helps build strength better and critically prevents back, knee injury from poor lifting technique. At my age avoiding injury is a key criteria.

Understanding it all helps me have confidence that the sessions i do at home help build strength correctly and protect my body, surprisingly I am finding I get a lot more enjoyment from trying to master technique. Who knows weight lifting could be next.

Knowing technique also helps use the imagination to turn those house jobs into strength work, I have some slabs of concrete to shift a fair distance so I’ll think about how to structure a session with them.

If you can afford it I’d highly recommend getting one to one guidance on technique, it is well worth it and opens up loads of possibilities.

Feel free to come and do a session shifting concrete slabs.

Hope that is of help. Mike

Here is the Training Peaks link to the Joe Friel guide

Mike, not quite sure it helps :wink: I am mostly after the logistics.

How did you go about finding a personal trainer to get you started ? Shopping around for gyms and then looking for the trainer there ? My concern is that I probably do not want to actually visit the gym a lot as I just don’t have the time. Sorry to sound so naive there, I had avoid gyms all my life …

The Joe Friel guides, that is a good recommendation.

Investment. Don’t like to waste money, but spending in the right places is always wise.

I’ve never been fond of gyms but am fortunate to live in a small town that has a gym dedicated to cycling so I asked their recommendation.

My wife uses a typical gym and asked the opinion of the gym users. Word of mouth, personal recommendation.
Local social media, Facebook groups or cycle clubs may know PTs they’d recommend.

It helps to be clear what you’re looking for from a personal trainer. I was clear it was technique and learning enough to structure my own sessions and that it would be a short relationship.

Money wise, we arent flush and it was a big spend for what we’d normally purchase. I rationalised that I’m benefiting from their years of knowledge and experience and I’m maximising my remaining years of endurance cycling. Haven’t regretted it at all and its paying dividends with my cycling.

From a logistics point of view when I did use a gym I would work things so I went on my way home from another trip/work so I wasn’t making an extra trip.

For me I eventually found a PT that specialised in kettlebell and non machine based exercises. We focused on exercises I could do at home with the equipment I had or would get at the time. There PT’s who work independently of gyms and I’ve found at least for me these are often the better ones.

If you can organise one session with a PT each week this could even be at your home if you have the space. This can be key to getting the technique correct and them been able to correct you.

Interesting thought with a PT. Something I had not considered. My wife happens to be with a practice that has a couple of athletes on staff (marathon, triathlon, rowers).

With that in mind perhaps I could get the insurance to pay for the visits :wink:

Non-machine based. What equipment would one need ideally over time ? Our kiddoes have left the house, mostly. So there is the opportunity for a proper space to put that sort of equipment. Understanding the size requirement for the equipment would be nice.

Just going to note, in case you (or others reading this) don’t know, there is a key difference between PT in UK and US.

PT in UK is Personal Trainer and often is not university/degree level trained but vocational, whereas PT in US is Physical Therapist and almost always is required to have college degree.

To make a true comparison here, you would have US PT and UK Physiotherapist :slight_smile: