I've always been a bit scared of personal training. I don’t like being told what to do, or the idea of someone watching my every move. But with a heavy workload and busy family life, I really needed to build up the strength and fitness to keep on top of life. I'd been going to the gym in the hope of reducing stress and boosting my energy levels, but it wasn't having much effect.
So in February, I decided to overcome my doubts and give personal training a go. I booked three sessions with Chris Bamber at CB Conditioning.
After just one session I looked more toned. After two sessions, I had to increase my calorie intake to stop myself from losing weight
Chris has a BSc in Applied Sports Science and has worked with professional athletes including Salford Reds, MCFC and Lancashire County Cricket Club, so it's fair to say he understands how to get results.
I was a little worried that he'd be so used to working with the pros, he wouldn't know how to motivate an average gym-goer like myself. But he assured me he enjoys helping people of all fitness levels, including those who haven't exercised in decades.
His sessions are held at the Core studio, which is located under the arches on Deansgate, close to Atlas Bar. Light, spacious, and airy, I felt more at home here than in a busy gym. Chris asked me about my fitness goals and lifestyle, and then we got started.
Session one focused on four key exercises: pull-ups, press-ups, crunches and squats. Under Chris's encouragement, I did 21 reps of each, then 18 reps of each, then 15 and so on until I was on three reps – with a 200 metre row between each set.
If it sounds like hard work, that's because it was. But it was also fun and exhilarating. Having your own one-on-one trainer makes you work more, and Chris's coaching ensured I was doing the exercises properly rather than just going through the motions.
Session two took place a week later. This time, it was tabata training. This involves 20 seconds of intense exercise followed by ten seconds of rest, repeated eight times. Exercises included pull-ups, rowing, burpees, spin bike and reverse crunch, plus some boxing at the end of the session. Again, I left feeling energised rather than exhausted, despite the fast pace.
The final session focused on strength. With Chris's help I lifted of up to 12kg – well above what I thought I was capable of. The sense of achievement, and the variety of lifts we tried made the session really enjoyable. Before this, I'd found weight training a chore as I didn't know the right techniques or how to mix it up.
I definitely enjoyed the training but what about the results? After just one session I looked more toned. After two sessions, I had to increase my calorie intake to stop myself from losing weight. After three, I was a convert. I've booked three more sessions, and intend to continue training with Chris long-term.
CB Conditioning is offering Confidential readers personal training for a reduced price of £70 for three one-hour sessions (saving 48%).