Group Exercise Sessions in Auckland by Angela Caldin
Personal Training for those of Advanced Years
Devoted readers of this blog may remember that before Christmas I treated myself to six sessions with a personal trainer called Nic. I got considerably fitter and began to feel muscles that had not been tried or tested for many a long year. I wasn’t sure what the next step should be, until, towards the end of January, Nic got in contact to say that her group training sessions were restarting after the summer break and would I like to join one of them. In a moment of sunshine-induced optimism, I said yes, and turned up to the first session full of trepidation as I knew that the other participants were probably about thirty years younger than me. The knowledge that I might have had two of my children before most of them had been born was more than a little daunting, and the fact that I hated running could turn out to be a major drawback.
Group Sessions Begun
We started most sessions by running round the cul-de-sac outside Nic’s house to warm up. That is to say, the others ran, while I did a fast walk. But, amazingly, by session three, I felt able to attempt a gentle jog and by session four, in the Waiatarua Reserve, I was positively trotting along. By session five, on a hill on Corinth Street, I was amazed at how I was able to sustain running uphill in short bursts for quite a long time. Circuits were not a problem: I could keep up with the others as we completed the sets of exercises: push-ups, lunges, ab crunches and so on, and boxing was just about OK, though my arms tired faster than everyone else’s and I had to take an occasional rest. But Nic was brilliant at accommodating her ‘special needs’ student – giving me shorter distances to run, giving me time to breathe, giving me much needed encouragement the whole time.
The great thing about Nic is that she doesn’t have a gym with lots of horrible machines; she makes use of her back garden, her car port and the surrounding area for training. Circuits and boxing take place in the car port, with mats on the floor for exercises. My least favourite exercise is a fiendish invention called prone holding or planking, where, balanced on your elbows and toes, you hold your body rigid, pulling in your core, until the longest minute of your life is up. Side planking where you balance on one elbow and two feet and reach for the sky with your other arm is even worse. One of my favourite sessions took place on the duck bridge near Bonnie Brae where Nic makes use of the steps for running up and down before directing us to stride over the bridge with a medicine ball held on high. In similar outdoor vein, the Waiatarua Reserve saw us running over the grass; then stopping at intervals for each of us to draw a series of exercises from a lucky dip envelope. There can be few things more enjoyable than exercising in the sunshine in beautiful natural surroundings with like-minded people.
The Key to Success
I think that the key to the success of Nic’s training sessions must be the variety. I’ve belonged to gyms in my time and joined fitness classes, but I always tired of them quickly because of the monotony: the same thing repeated week after week. With Nic, you never know what’s going to be on the agenda as you turn up for your hour’s work-out. She plans each session carefully and knows exactly what she has in store. And it’s great fun to train in a group, to have a bit of a chat and a giggle and to encourage each other. Some of us are fitter and faster than others, but Nic is able to cater for the different levels of fitness, setting different goals for different participants. In addition, each session is structured to work up to a big aerobic heart spike followed by a series of exercises and a final stretch.
Finding Something Similar in UK
I’m going back to London soon and I’m determined to maintain my level of fitness when I get there. I’m going to look around for training that takes place in the open air. Not a boot camp, because I think the danger of repetition would lurk there, but a session in one of the many parks in Chiswick that will guarantee me variety as the weeks go by, so that I won’t get bored or give up after a few sessions. Messages come to me from all kinds of sources telling me that exercise will help me as I get older, physically, mentally and in every way, but I need exercise that I can enjoy, that will keep me stimulated and involved. I hope that what I’ve found in Auckland will have its counterpart in London Town.
For more information about Nic and what she can offer, see: