Going in to personal training today I had some tough questions for Darin, a new Personal Trainer and Registered Kinesiologist at the GAC. I know a few people who have had success with trainers in the past, only to regain the weight and lose their progress shortly thereafter.

I wanted to know why he was different. I wanted to know how he could keep me motivated and help me reach my goals. I wanted to know a lot of things. Here are his answers:

1. Can personal training help me long-term?

Darin says absolutely. If you want to get ready for beach season or to fit into a bridesmaid dress, that’s great, he can help, but he’s much more interested in thinking long term. “Think at least two years.”

He’s worked with some individuals for years, teaching them new exercises, and constantly improving their efficiency. It’s about giving you the tools to lead a healthy life. “Lifelong fitness” is the name of the game.

And that’s exactly what he did for me today. I learned a great full-body workout routine and, more importantly, what a good routine should look and feel like.

2. What kind of cardio should I be doing?

Darin says it’s all about doing what you enjoy. When I told him I like Zumba, he said that’s great and encouraged me to stick with it. Playing a sport is another good option.

Interestingly, he also told me to make sure I was doing at least some impact training. You hear a lot about low or no impact these days, but apparently some impact is necessary to help keep your bones strong. Think walking, jogging, or skipping. Though he also showed me how to use the Arc Trainer, which is a great way to simulate jogging without the impact.

My favourite thing he said about cardio is that twenty minutes three or four times a week is great, in combination with weight training. There is no reason why you need to be running for two hours a day, unless you truly enjoy it.

3. What are the newest trends in weight training?

Darin says don’t worry about them. Instead, he says to stay focused on what you are doing, getting a good, balanced workout, and maybe mixing in the best parts of the trends. He doesn’t get too caught up with any one thing, but likes to be constantly trying new things and introducing variety into his workouts whenever possible.
One of the main things I took away from my time with Darin is that good fundamentals are the most important thing. If you are working out every part of your body, with proper form, consistently every week, you are going to see results. It’s not flashy, but it made a great deal of sense to me.

4. What kind of weight training should I be doing?

Again, Darin emphasized the importance of doing the exercises that you enjoy. Find the ones that feel the most comfortable and do those consistently. Free weights, machines, resistance bands, stability balls, it’s all good as long as you like it.

He also stressed the importance of functional fitness; working out so that you can do things in your day-to-day life easier. Body weight exercises are particularly useful for this.

5. What should I be eating?

Darin does not advocate any sort of crazy diet. Keep it simple with lean protein, get all your servings of fruits and vegetables, and avoid simple carbohydrates. He also had great healthy snacking suggestions. In particular, he advocates consuming oranges for the Vitamin C, and has been known to eat so many that he has been referred to as “The Orange Guy,” even receiving baskets full of them on occasion.

6. How do I stay motivated?

Darin thought long and hard when I asked him the difference between people who work out for a few months and the people who are able to make it a lifelong commitment. It’s difficult to figure out what it is that motivates people, but for him it’s more about improving the other parts of his life than anything else.

When he looks back on the hardest times in his life, they happened when he wasn’t working out regularly and when he wasn’t in a good routine. So he gets his motivation to stay fit from knowing that it helps him with every other aspect of his life. He sleeps better, thinks better and is better prepared to take on the world.

And that’s really how he left me feeling today. He taught me important, fundamental things that I can build on moving forward. He set me up for success and was genuinely interested in doing so. Whether you want to exercise with a personal trainer every week, or would just like to learn some good workouts and proper form, he can help.

I probably asked him fifty different questions today and he answered every single one of them honestly, intelligently, and with purpose. Of course, a lot of those answers were tailored to my specific needs and situation. Yet, I got the sense that all my curiosity didn’t even scratch the surface of his knowledge. I came in with tough questions, and I walked out with answers that made me feel good, that made sense to me, and that encouraged me to keep going.

Encouragement that I’ll definitely need to make it to Step and Sculpt at 6:30am on Wednesday morning.


The Glendon Athletic Club offers Personal Training to members at competitive rates. Check this page for more information. Email fitness@glendon.yorku.ca for more information or to book a session with Darin or one of our other excellent trainers.

This post was written by Steele Roddick for the Glendon Athletic Club, as part of his #GACFitnessFeb challenge. Steele is trying something new at the GAC every day for the month of February. Follow his daily posts to read about his adventure in fitness and see all that the GAC has to offer!