A Fulwood personal trainer is getting Prestonians virtually fit, after launching an online coaching programme.Advertisement
Jake Dalmedo, who is a Level 4 Strength and Conditioning Coach and Personal Trainer, started offering online coaching in August. Jake is also an Olympic Weightlifting Coach and works as a personal trainer at a private personal training studio in Preston.
Jake’s main objective is to help clients get fitter while having fun, so I thought I would put that to the test by trying out his programme. I signed up through Jake’s Vegan Movement Coaching business, but you don’t need to be vegan to do so.
To begin with, I completed a questionnaire about my current fitness levels, my goals, and how much time I could commit to the programme.
This year my gym time has taken a nosedive and subsequently so have my fitness levels. I felt I was losing muscle and re-gaining my bingo wings and fat knees. I wrote all this down in the questionnaire, and decided I’d aim for four sessions per week.
Read more: Watch how new Fulwood health centre is due to look
Jake used my answers to create a tailored programme, and in the meantime added me to his private Facebook coaching group. This is a place to ask questions and share progress, however Jake is on hand if you prefer to message him privately.
Jake shares his programmes with his clients via Google Drive, and carries out a weekly check-in on Facebook Messenger to get feedback on how it’s going. Once you’ve updated Jake and shared your progress photos, he releases the next week’s programme. Guidance is provided on how to use both Google Drive and the programme itself.
My programme was a comprehensive document that included workout sessions, a nutrition plan, and notes on stretching and supplements. The first time I saw it my overriding feeling was fear. I didn’t recognise many of the exercises and there were lists of sets and reps that, as a dedicated gym-class-goer, I had never had to think about before.
Jake however was very reassuring, and directed me to the exercise list in my programme, which links to YouTube videos of him demonstrating each move.
While the videos were easy to follow and taught me technique, they didn’t give me the confidence I needed to walk into the weights area at the gym. The “testostezone” is a pretty daunting place to visit for the first time, filled as it is with unfamiliar machines and lots of men being macho and muscly.
So to help build my confidence I took Jake up on a special offer of a free 121 session. During this hour Jake taught me how to use the squat rack, and checked my technique on squats and deadlifts. He also tested me with multiple weighted lunges followed by my first (and hopefully last) experience on a Crossfit Assault Air Bike. I don’t mind admitting I struggled to get up and down the stairs that night.
Armed with increased knowledge and confidence from my session with Jake, I threw myself into the workouts. While the sessions were designed to last between 45 minutes and an hour, I found mine running over at first as I got used to the new types of exercises. This was even after spending time before each session prepping and researching the moves. However as I became more familiar with the likes of the barbell back squat, military press and conventional barbell deadlift, I did manage to complete my workouts more quickly.
In fact learning to lift weights was my favourite thing about the programme – despite it giving me worse muscle soreness than anything I’ve ever known. It’s a great way to exercise if you want to measure progress, as you can see the numbers going up, whether that be the number of kg you lift or the number of sets and reps you achieve. And while completing 50kg deadlifts gave me a great feeling of physical accomplishment, I loved how mentally empowering it was to finally be able to walk into an area of the gym that had always been a no-go zone for me.
Read more: New mental health services launched for mums in Preston and South Ribble
The other main aspect of Jake’s online coaching is the diet plan. I found myself struggling to stick to this due to the unpredictability of daily life. It was also pretty different to what I’m used to eating – whereas I’ll make lots of sauces from scratch, the meals in the plan are mainly a portion of carbs, a portion of protein and a portion of veg, flavoured with herbs and seasoning.
Jake did say it was my choice whether I followed the diet plan, but he reminded me that if I did I’d be guaranteed to drop body fat because it was tailored to my height, weight and goals. I did get into the swing of the diet, although I never managed the levels of consistency that would’ve helped to make a real difference.
Jake’s tips have however had a lasting effect on some of my dietary choices, and overall the programme has given me a kick-start back into healthier habits. While I struggled at times to find the self-motivation needed for working out alone, Jake’s words of encouragement were always a welcome boost. And even though Jake wasn’t there in person, sharing videos meant he could still give advice, and I learnt a lot from having round-the-clock access to his expert support and advice.
Now as to whether it was fun, I guess it depends on your definition of the word. I was physically and mentally challenged in new ways that meant at times the programme was incredibly tough. In a weird way that was sometimes fun, but it was also something much more than that – it was new skills, improved confidence and a fresh outlook on health and fitness.
Jake offers online coaching through his two businesses – Vegan Movement Coaching and Against The Odds.