Questions You've Always Wanted to Ask Your PT

This summer we have got in our very own fitness expert, Nick Collins, to lead our fitness teams into delivering the best experiences on your fitness and recovery sessions. Nick is a client-focused fitness industry manager and personal trainer with 11+ years of experience...he really knows his stuff! We caught up with Nick about what he will be bringing to the Yacht Week this year and asked him some of the most frequently googled fitness-related questions and he's answered them all just for you.

I'm a 35 year old (not a dinosaur yet) fitness pro who has been in the profession for the past 12 years. I'm a personal trainer and sports massage therapist by trade. Over the years I've progressed my skills in strength and conditioning and worked in elite sport, rehab and of late with general population. The past few years I have been in fitness management, running the UK's leading independent gym. I now run my own fitness and wellness consultancy business which brings me to you.

I love what I do and the experiences I have had to date. The best thing for me is the people I have had the pleasure to coach along the way. Service is king for me and you'll always get the best experience working alongside me and my team.

My role this year on TYW is to make sure aside from your time on the water, in the clubs and let's face it.... Having the week of your life, is to provide you with a healthy outlet for all the fun you'll be having. The fun will just continue with the sessions you'll come and do with us, TYW fitness team. I'll be training up and working directly with your fitness teams to bring you running clubs, fitness and recovery sessions, along with TYW community games day. The community games day will be the culmination of getting to know your fellow guests in a very fun and slightly competitive way. Think tug of war, volley ball, limbo and the like in the magnificent setting that is Bol. This will bring a lot of us together over the afternoon, leading into one hell of a night. Having been a guest on TYW in the summer of 2018 I know all to well what goes on, the sheer brilliance of it but also you can feel a bit like you have been trampled on by a herd of elephants as the parting keeps going. Your YW fitness sessions will help you feel good after the night before, get you moving well after sleeping on your yacht and get you ready to go again. What was also great to see is the guys that trained with me in 2018 met new people in the sessions and turned those meet ups into friendships during the week and when they got home. Whether you are wanting to get hot and sweaty in the fitness sessions or lengthen your limbs and move in the recovery and stretching sessions, you'll have everything you need to complement what will be a brilliant experience on TYW.

 

Why does exercise matter? Your life matters. Pulling no punches here on this one. Without our health what do we actually have? Exercise allows us to be healthy physically and mentally. It gives us so many ways to have fun whether this is fun you feel training on your own or in a community. A form of exercise that you enjoy, keeps you feeling good physically and mentally good should be in your life.

Which exercise programme is best for me? Simply put, the one that works for you.

Where to begin with exercise? Taking it back to the bare bones here, you can start by going out for a walk and consistently increasing your daily movement from there. If you have no clue about what you might like to do, speak to your friends and tag along to some of they things they like to do and see if its a good fit for you.

How does exercise help mental health? Mental health is such a big topic and a very important one. Our lives are connected like never before and this will increase as technology improves. Exercise can be a very effective outlet and 'switch off' from stresses. Simply put, exercise releases chemicals in our brains that directly affect our mood in a positive way. Exercising consistently will keep releasing these chemicals and can help reduce stress, anxiety and other forms of mental health. If you do suffer from any mental health issues, please seek out a professional for guidance.

Do you need protein for exercise? Protein is an important. Whether you are Vegan or straight up caveman you will need a certain amount of protein in your diet. Protein supplies us with amino acids. These provide our bodies the tools we need to help us repair and build muscle, keep our immune system healthy, regulate our metabolism and aids in body fat loss.

 

Is there a difference in exercise for women and exercise for men? From a technical standpoint no. We're all made up from the same stuff. The consideration for both women and men begins with what starting point they are at. We have different length bones, muscles, joint movements/depths and lifestyle which factor in to how you can train an individual. Exercise experience is also a determining factor on how you  train someone. An unfit newbie will need time to learn exercise movements and build up a base level of fitness as they progress. An experienced exerciser will need more focus on defined performance/outcome goals. Men and women just need to be in an environment that they enjoy first and foremost.

What are the exercise results for cardio and weight training? All depends on what you, the individual wants to get out of it. What I will say is that if you're not consistent, you'll struggle to get the results that you are wanting to get from it. Do you want to lose weight? Get Lean? Build muscle? As a side, cardio and weight training will both help in improving your heart and lung function. It will feel different when you're doing them but they have really great health benefits. Weight loss/body fat loss is a positive outcome from being consistent as well. Cardio can do this but if you're wanting a certain look for your body, then weight training is something you will want to include into your routine to achieve this.

Is working out in the morning better for you? Naturally occurring stress hormones are higher in the mornings which can allow you to perform better but that's if your lifestyle has you working a typical 9-5. We don't live like that so much these days. You'll make exercise a choice in your daily routine and this will be dependant on how much sleep you have had, your working day, family and social lives. I'd say the best time is the time that works for you and that you can be consistent doing.

Should I approach my sessions with a plan? You can run the lucky dip card for fitness and approach it as I don't need a plan at the moment as I just want to move more and have some fun. At some point you could/will get tired of this and this is where a plan will help. You'll be able to pinpoint some areas where you would like to improve, work progressively towards those goals, achieve them, feel great and start the process again but from a position that is better than the one you started at. There are many ways to do 'fitness', a plan will certainly help.

 

Do I need to work out every day? I feel collectively we all need to move more on a day to day basis. It's very easy to sit behind a desk for example. Can you move more during your days? Perhaps cycle into work, walk around the park on a lunch break, take the stairs instead of the escalator? All considerations that will help us.

Do I need to vary my workout to see results? Variety is the spice of life but there's a sweet spot whereby your body will need a stimulus (training method) for a set amount of time for adaptations to occur. Once the adaptations stagnate, then new/tweaked programming will be needed to keep progressing. If your workout still has you improving and achieving the results you are after, then keep doing it.

How often do I need to rest? A beginner would need more rest from efforts that fatigue their bodies. It's not just the muscles but also the nervous and cardio respiratory systems that need to recover. A beginner may start with a consistent 2-3 days a week of moderate/low intensity training that has a focus on not stressing the body too much too soon. An intermediate/experienced trainer may well train everyday but can also train 3 days a week but just working at higher intensities and more skilled movements.

When should I stretch and how often? Mobility movements should be done everyday. Sounds like a chore already doesn't it! It's really not the case. Even if you did 5 mins in the morning and 5 minutes at night if will help get rid of the stiffness in the mornings and lengthening any tight spots and aches that have built up during your day. Your morning routine will be about getting the body moving using no long pauses in your chosen movements. The evening though, you have the option to spend more time holding stretches, relaxing your breathing to help you unwind and release the stresses of the day. From a performance/exercise point of view, we teach that you stay away from long pauses on your mobility/stretch movements as you want to retain the strength in the muscles you are wanting to use for the session. "A long muscles is a weak muscle".

What’s the best way to help sore muscles? Keep hydrated, eat well and keep moving. The tendency is to just stop when you're a bit stiff and "it can't possibly be a good idea to train feeling like this". Good news is, is that you can train and move in many many ways that will allow new blood, oxygen and nutrients into those achy muscles that will help flush out the old stuff and begin to make you feel better.