We caught up with online nutrition coach and personal trainer Nathaniel Brown from West Coast Training & Nutrition to find out his inspiration for beginning a career in the fitness industry and to get the answers to some of your FAQs.
Question 1 – What was your inspiration for beginning a career in the fitness industry and becoming a Personal Trainer?
As cliche as this is going to sound, my inspiration for beginning a career in personal training is deep rooted in helping people through their problems.
So many people in the world are struggling with, what I like to call ‘1st world’ problems. Things like: time constraints, information overload, social media inadequacies, political uncertainty, financial constraints, stress, and anxiety.
Add to it issues with weight and the endless noise coming from advertising and marketing e.g. ‘you need to look like Michelle Keegan or Kim Kardashian in order to be happy’, and you’ve got real problems.
Life is damn hard and for me, being a personal trainer/coach is about making life easier for my clients. If that’s by helping with simple weight loss techniques that actually work, getting them on an effective eating plan and not forever chasing that weight loss silver bullet, or even the newest fad in dieting.
It might be helping to save time by making exercise more effective in a shorter period, or providing tips on food preparation. Relaxation techniques, help with sleeping, getting rid of anxiety, whatever it is, helping to make their life just slightly easier has always been my biggest inspiration for starting a career in the fitness industry and becoming a personal trainer. If I could do this job for free it would be my pleasure.
Related: Triathlon 101: A Beginner’s Guide
Question 2 – How many days a week do you recommend working out?
That’s a very good question. I think it ultimately depends on what you want to achieve and how quickly you want to get there.
There’s nothing wrong with one full body session once a week or a long run. There’s also no problems at all with training 7 days per week if you have planned your training well enough.
However, in my opinion the best approach to increasing muscle mass is training as follows:
Monday: Pushing exercises (Upper body)
Tuesday: Pulling exercises (Upper body)
Wednesday: Legs (Lower body)
Thursday: Pushing exercises (Upper body)
Friday: Pulling exercises (Upper body)
Saturday: Legs (Lower body)
Sunday: Work on weaknesses or the areas of the body that can handle the extra work. Some muscles recover quicker than others. Examples are the arms, calves and quads. or you could just take a rest day.
Using the plan mentioned above, you have adequate time between sessions for the muscle groups to each recover.
Interestingly, most women, particularly when they are in the follicular phase of their menstrual cycle, when oestrogen is higher, can handle a greater training frequency and a higher volume of training.
If you’re a woman reading this then if you’re looking to lose weight or build muscle, then train hard in your follicular phase. You’ll also recover quicker.
Question 3 – What is your favourite piece of equipment in the gym and why?
My favourite piece of equipment in the gym is actually myself because you can get an awesome workout, for every part of your body, just by using your own bodyweight.
It’s also free and you can do it anytime and anywhere.
Related: Top 5 Bodyweight Workout Exercises
Question 4 – What do you recommend to eat before and after a gym session?
A recent study in the United States, titled “Pre-Versus Post-Exercise Protein Intake has Similar Effects on Muscular Adaptations“, tested the ‘anabolic window theory’ (a period of time after training where your bodies ability to utilise protein is increased), and showed that it doesn’t matter whether you eat before or after training.
Actually, if you have a high protein meal before training, you can wait even longer to have your post training meal – up to 5-6 hours seems to be fine.
Saying that, if you want to maximise your recovery, from resistance training in particular, then a high protein meal (about 40g protein) is advisable.
With regards to carbohydrates, unless you are training for more than an hour at a time, you don’t need to fuel yourself with Lucozade sport (or whatever else you’re using) or eat a pre training meal.
You have enough carb stores in your muscles and in your liver to handle an hours worth of training.
In fact, all you are doing by drinking these things is making weight loss even more difficult by adding unnecessary calories to your total calorie intake.
Question 5 – What is your top piece of nutritional advice for weight loss?
Get yourself into a calorie deficit on a diet which is sustainable for you.
Whether it be a fad diet such as the 5/2, Atkins, or low carb, or better yet, something put together for you by a coach which suits your lifestyle and food preferences, the truth is that every diet that ever worked did so because it created a calorie deficit.
Question 6 – What is the most common injury you see with your clients and what advice can you offer for prevention?
The most common injury I see in the gym is back injuries relating to poor technique.
Recently I had some coaching from a competitive powerlifter on my deadlift technique. I don’t believe anyone is perfect. Even Mo Farah has a coach). I am always willing to learn from those who are better than I am at something. I think that’s important.
When it comes to exercises that require co-ordinated movement and heavy weights, such as the deadlift, I think it’s very important to start with a lighter weight and get your technique nailed down first.
Unfortunately, some gym goers, (generally, the young lads in the gym who think that they need to prove to the people around them that they are strong), tend to disregard technique and range of motion in favour of lifting the heaviest weight they possibly can.
Related: Expert Tips on Proper Running Form
Question 7 – What is your favourite stretch and why?
I personally don’t have a favourite stretch, it’s all relative really. Everyone is different and therefore require different stretches if they require stretching at all.
What I do find, however, is that most of the common stretches I see people doing in the gym are not full stretches (you can get more from it if you want).
A good example of this is the hip flexor stretch in the lunge position. You’ve all done this one so here’s how you can increase the stretch in this position:
We’re going to stretch the left hip flexor:
• Start in the lunge position, left knee on the floor and right knee at a 90 degree angle with the right foot flat on the floor
• First push through on the hips to feel the stretch in the left hip flexor.
• Feel that? Good.
• Now bend your spine to the right.
• Feel that more?
• Finally, rotate your body to the left whilst maintaining the side bend to the right.
• How’s that?
Question 8 – What are the main services West Coast Training and Nutrition (WCTN) provide to your clients?
Personal training has become so expensive. You can pay a mediocre personal trainer £40 an hour these days so 3 sessions a week. This will set you back £480 per month. At WCTN we provide an alternative in online coaching.
Our online coaching includes:
1. 1 to 1 consultations and full 24/7 support.
2. A personalised training programme which can be tweaked depending on how you are progressing.
3. A fully personalised eating programme, that allows you to eat what you like to eat. Don’t worry, I’ll find a way to ensure it’s not just rice cakes and dust for dinner!). After all, if you can’t stick to a diet, then there is no point in starting it.
You will receive all this for a fraction of the price – 3 months worth of online coaching comes in at way under the crazy £480 mark that you would pay for just 1 month for a personal trainer.
Get started today with one of our online personal training plans
About Nathaniel Brown
Nat is an online nutrition coach, personal trainer, fitness writer, and blogger from the UK, specialising in weight loss and personalised dieting.
Nat is the owner of westcoasttrainingandnutrition.co.uk and has been involved in the fitness industry for over 10 years. 4 of which as a lecturer in anatomy, physiology and nutrition for a variety of UK based companies.
Nat’s approach is to educate his clients whilst they are under his care, so that they may leave him fully capable of making the decisions that will lead to their success with regards to body composition.
To get in touch about personalised diets or for any advice please visit Nat’s Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/westcoasttrainingandnutrition/. Alternatively, email him at his personal email address firstname.lastname@example.org.
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