And so it begins.

I’ve finally got around to doing it! Yes, writing a blog was actually a New Year’s resolution a few years ago, that I obviously didn’t stick to. Life, lethargy and a lack of inspiration got in the way to be honest. But better late than never right?

There’s so much ground to cover, so many years of procrastination, that I wasn’t convinced I knew where to start. So I Googled it! If in doubt and all that. So by popular opinion, I’m told that the only way to kick this whole thing off is by introducing myself…‘properly’.

Right, so I think the best way to cover a lot in a small space is probably with a ‘Hello’ magazine-esque Q&A interview (just imagine that some journo is asking me these things and it’ll sound much better).

Firstly, why did you decide to become a Personal Trainer?

From a young age I’ve always been into sport, always kept fit, ran a lot, frequented the gym, had an active lifestyle etc. I enjoyed that part of my life and found myself craving that kind of feeling 100% of the time, not just after work or at the weekends. I’d catch myself ear-wigging into PT sessions to see what the Trainers were saying. I’d be concentrating on the exercises that the clients were doing and think to myself, ‘How could I help them make that better?’. Quite frankly it got a bit embarrassing for all concerned!

As I moved between jobs and progressed up the career ladder I’d think, ‘This is it! Next job will be in fitness! I’m going to get qualified….next year’. I’d become comfortable in my job and career progression and couldn’t see a good time to just get on and get qualified. Career changes are big, especially when you’re settled and have turned into what people now call a ‘Yo-Pro’. Retraining, starting from scratch and becoming self-employed is scary!

I’ve been banging on about doing this for the past 12 years, I’m just going to do it, pass me the laptop!’, were my very words moments before registering online for two courses that would start the journey. Scary and exhilarating all at the same time. I don’t think there’s an emotion that I haven’t felt so far and that’s no exaggeration!

Here are a few snaps of me in training:

What’s your favourite exercise?

I like functional, bodyweight exercises. These are the types of exercises that require no equipment (unless you want to incorporate a dumbbell here or there, or even a kettlebell) and work your body in a way that is going to be useful for actual real life activity. As such the exercises replicate the moves you may do in every day life. Simple? Well I think so, but all too many people try to make this concept really hard! It’s not; there is no secret behind this, it’s common sense. If you work out in a way that replicates life, you will function better with the activities that you have to do every day in the real world.

A great example of a hybrid (a mix) compound (using muscle groups over more than one joint) exercise would be squat to shoulder press. This action works your legs, bum and shoulders (plus other stabiliser muscles) and replicates something as mundane as lifting and pushing a heavy suitcase into an overhead rack on a train. You naturally bend into a squat position to pick the suitcase up and then push up through your shoulders to wrangle it into position above your head.

Here’s a great film showing lots of examples of ‘hybrid’ exercises:

The reason I like compound exercises is that more muscles are needed during the movement and so more muscles are burning calories in a shorter space of time = more efficient workout. This is especially great if you are trying to reduce your fat percentage and lose weight.

How about your least favourite exercise?

That’s actually a hard one to answer because as long as the exercise is performed safely, doing any form of physical activity is good for you, so crack on! That said if I deem least favourite to mean least effective and efficient that would be easy to answer.

I really am not a fan in general of the old isolation exercise. By this I mean exercises that only work muscles in isolation over one joint. They do have their place in a post or pre-exhaust training system (by this I mean if you’re doing them with a compound exercise and need to exhaust a stronger muscle in the group- such as using a dumbbell lateral raise before a shoulder press exercise to pre-exhaust the deltoid muscles, or if you have a muscular imbalance, or injury, but on their own they are not efficient, do not burn as many calories as a compound exercise and quite frankly waste your precious time.

What do you love most about your job?

There’s not one straight answer to this, sorry. I love the whole process from the very first consultation where you are privileged enough to work one-to-one and establish your client’s personal goals; to the meticulous planning of every long, medium and short term plan that I put together for them. It’s all flippin’ brilliant. But I’ve got to admit the bit that gives me the most satisfaction (mwahahaha) is the look of pure exhaustion on their faces after a session, no words just a big smile. That’s the bit I love the most.

If we had an 8th day added to the week, how would you spend those extra 24 hours each week?

Umm that’s tricky. So what would I want to do more of in a week? I think the ‘want’ and the reality would probably be two separate things. I’d want to spend that extra 24 hours in the beautiful countryside (I miss the colour green living in a city!), walking up a nice big hill, stopping off for a delish picnic beside a little stream. The icing on the cake would be an evening in a spa; full body massage, facial and head massage. The unfortunate reality of that situation would be that I’d probably spend the extra day working, catching up on housework, washing or cleaning. Sad but true.


Do you have any phobias?

Yes, but if I tell you please don’t use this information against me…. newspaper! I can’t stand the smell, the feel or the sound of the pages turning. Makes me want to run a mile (fitness-related pun intended). I have no idea where it came from, but for as long as I can remember it has been a thing. Imagine the horror when I was made ‘newspaper monitor’ in Art class at school!

Worst habit?

Yes definitely chewing gum. My mum will vouch for how much of a nasty habit this really is. She had to cut a big, sticky blob out of her own hair when I was a little’n’. Apparently that’s where you put your chewing gum when you’re finished and you’re in the back of the car with nowhere to go and nothing to do? Ooops.



Mum (with very curly hair!) forgave me


Do you have any fitness pet hates?

I have two actually.

Firstly, I know you will all agree with this one, but secretly you also know you’ve done it. Other gym users leaving 10 dumbbells, 5 kettlebells, a step and a weird bit of kit nobody seems to know how to use, right where they see fit (which is usually in the middle of the floor, as a very dangerous trip hazard). It absolutely does my tiny mind in. Just put the equipment back people. End of rant.

Now for my next one: I’ll call it ‘Hollywood fitness’. I’m a strong believer in common sense health and fitness. The secret is… there’s no secret! There are no magical, ‘straight-from-a-unicorn’s-horn’, fat burning potions, you can’t eat what you want and still lose 1 stone in a week with this one mystery exercise (if you can you either need to go to A&E right now, or you’re seriously dehydrated, probably both) and you definitely can not get rock hard abs in 7 days! Right, now that’s sorted we can all get on with being sensible, healthy human beings.

And that’s it for now.

I’m hoping that this blog-writing malarkey will be a regular pastime for me, so please check back for more entries. Even better add me on Facebook (DonnaJohnsonPersonalTraining), follow me Twitter (@DonnaJohnsonPT) etc.

I’ve got a few things I’d like to ‘blah blah’ on about (I promise that I won’t go on about myself- according to Google I can stop that now), but if there’s anything particular that you’d like me to focus on (within reason) please let me know. Or if you have any questions that you’d like answering (preferably about fitness and nutrition) then give me a shout or leave a comment in the box below and I’ll try to answer them too.

Thanks for reading folks!

2 thoughts on “And so it begins.

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