MY month of personal training sessions has come to an end. A few days later, I received a gift of some sports balm through the post in order to ease my aching muscles. Does Sara Perry feel guilty about what she’s put me through?

Every time I turned up for my session in the park, there were a group of kids who evidently thought I was playing Superheroes. They joined in with all the exercises, shouting encouragement like “Pow!” and “Go Superman!”

I doubt it.

I suspect I got off pretty lightly. I think we both knew my limits. Having said that, I did get on to some pretty gruelling routines. At least I found them gruelling.

From a few measly squats in the sunshine, by week four I was up to the ‘Power Pyramid’ and that wasn’t even the half of it.

The ‘Pyramid of Pain’, as I might rename it, involves starting off with one exercise for 30 seconds, then repeating the same exercise and adding 30 seconds of another exercise as well.

This continues until you reach the top of the so-called pyramid with six different exercises. Psychologically at least, this is quite a kind exercise. Once you do actually reach the top of the pyramid, at least it’s all downhill. From six exercises, you knock one off each time until you reach zero and lie face down in the grass.

To say the sessions were enjoyable would be pushing it, but as my body got used to this strange thing called exercise, the sessions started to fly by. It certainly looked like a lot of fun, even if it wasn’t.

Every time I turned up for my session in the park, there were a group of kids who evidently thought I was playing 'Superheroes'. They joined in with all the exercises, shouting encouragement like “Pow!” and “Go Superman!”

In all honesty, I could have probably done with at least another month of personal training as I’m obviously still carrying pounds a-plenty. This isn’t me being self-deprecating, this is the worms talking.

After running on the spot and causing what must have felt like an earthquake for my pink wriggly friends, they bided their time and waited until I was in the middle of a set of push ups until they all decided to pop up under my chin to complain about the racket I was making. I was surrounded; it was like trying to exercise in a bath of vermicelli. I feigned panic in order to get five minutes rest.

I‘ve looked at the before and after pictures and I can’t see that much difference although my stomach has definitely reduced in size. A month probably isn’t long enough to resculpt your entire body.

Side Before And After

Front Before And After

I did all the exercises and, like a good little girl, I did all of my workout homework too. The hoped for totally new body hasn’t arrived though.

Despite that, you can’t argue with the figures. My jiggly bits (i.e. everywhere) were measured before and after and I have lost six inches.

If this sounds like a transformation, bear in mind that this is mainly just half an inch here and half an inch there. Although I did lose two inches off my hips which I’m pretty pleased about. I only lost two kilograms over the month and as I was doing the personal training in conjunction with the 2:5 fasting diet, this was disappointing. Muscle does weigh more than fat so it’s probably a good thing but it doesn’t make getting on the scales any easier.

I can’t quite believe it, but since my personal training sessions with Sara Perry have come to an end, I’ve been throwing myself into it more than ever before. I’ve been personally training myself.

At first, I would do the 30 second bursts of exercise taught to me by Sara while counting to 30 very quickly. The speed of my counting was directly proportional to how tired I was and how difficult the exercise was. You might think this is cheating, but the fact that I was even bothering gave me a self-righteous glow of satisfaction. You can imagine how smug, self-satisfied and, ultimately, sweaty, I look now that I have started using a Gymboss app and doing it all properly.

For me, it is easier to fit in mini versions of Sara’s sessions when I feel like it. I also prefer to be able to do some rather lame lunges rather than having someone tell me to get down further or bend my leg more. Without a personal trainer, it is easier to settle for mediocrity rather than chase the elusive perfect push-up. Which is fine by me.

Without Sara Perry’s sessions I wouldn’t have known where to start. But now I know lots of different workouts, I am, quite literally, up and running.

As I go running anyway, I particularly like her recommendation of spending the last ten minutes of a run alternately sprinting and walking between lampposts. Because I am so hard-core, I incorporate this metabolism booster into my entire run. The fact that all my runs are only ten-minutes long in the first place is pure coincidence.

Being a bit lazy, personal training isn’t really for me as a long term fitness solution but it was invaluable for getting me started. For somebody with more impetus and determination to tone up and less of a tendency to look for short-cuts, I imagine personal training works really well at forcing you to up your game. I also think that if you are even more devoid of willpower than I am, independent exercise is probably not for you as you just won’t do any. Paying for a personal trainer makes you work out but unlike the gym, you can’t decide not to go and just stick a DVD on instead.

Sara Perry is 'the thinking woman’s personal trainer' and is passionate about helping women over 40 to improve their fitness, health & happiness.

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