The IN Covent Garden team visited Jubilee Hall Gym, nestled in Covent Garden’s Piazza, for a 40-minute workout session and chat with personal trainer Erykson Mendes.

What’s the most rewarding and challenging parts of your job?
The most rewarding part is when you see people progress. As a personal trainer you can often see the changes before your client does. It’s overwhelming when a client tells you they can feel the change in themselves and can do something they couldn’t do before. The most challenging part is that everybody you work with is different and people might go against what you say or not want to make changes!

What interested you in becoming a personal trainer?
I was always an active kid! I have ADHD so I always wanted to do more hands-on work. The dream was to be a professional athlete. When that didn’t work out personal training came
to mind.

I wanted to meet new people every day, help them, advise them on how they can change their lifestyles and it was something I wasn’t going to get bored of.

How long have you been at Jubilee Hall Gym?
I started as an apprentice and had six months of work experience. They approved of my work and I became a gym instructor for four years. I’ve been self-employed at Jubilee Hall Gym for the past two years so that’s about seven years altogether.

What is your advice for people looking to get lean for the Summer?
Cut out all your sugars! It’s hard but that is a major one. Intermittent fasting is good for discipline and losing weight. Also, a high protein and good fat diet is essential. Fat is not bad when it’s the right fat and when your body knows how to use it. I’d say always try to add nuts, cottage cheese and avocado to your diet and your body will start using fats as energy. The ideal time to consume proteins is about 30-45 minutes after your workout so that your body can absorb it better. People think you should just have a protein shake but you should try to have a healthy meal of carbohydrates and proteins. And no sugar!

Is it true that abs are made in the kitchen?
100%. It takes a 45-minute jog to burn off half a bar of chocolate!

How often do you recommend exercising in order to see change? Do you need to change the intensity as you progress?

It will take one to three months before you see physical change however you will start to feel the internal change within the first few weeks. You will start to feel better, have more energy and the aches and pains will start to go away. Once a week is great but not enough to see change; ideally you want to push yourself outside of your comfort zone. Find ways to increase the repetitions and weights involved – as human beings we adapt, so every 3-4 weeks you need to start to challenge yourself.

It’s easier to start a routine than maintain it. Why do you think that is and how can you be more consistent?
Set yourself realistic goals. Also have a quote to live by and stick it up on your wall. Diet can be tweaked based on mood but with exercise, consistency is important. Make it a habit.

Do you have a favourite quote?
If it’s not hurting, it’s not working! You need to feel some pain to know that what you’re doing is working – you should wake up the next day after a workout and feel sore.

Pain might repel people from exercise. How can we avoid that?
Consistency, stretching and challenging yourself will help. Foam rollers help with DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness) – they help loosen your muscles and stop you from getting stiff. The worst thing you can do is exercise and then go to the office and sit down for six or seven hours straight – that will shorten your muscles. You need to keep mobile after an intense workout.

The Daily 20-minute Workout

EXERCISE 1
Elbow to Palm Plank
Works the core muscles and triceps

1 Start in a plank position

2 Place one elbow down onto the floor at a time

3 Hold for two seconds before moving back up to a palm plank position. Repeat the movement up and down 10 times between each arm.

 

EXERCISE 2

Gluteus Strengthening and Stretch
Works the hamstrings, gluteus and
quadriceps

1 Grab a sturdy chair (make sure it doesn’t slide around on the floor). Move into a lunge using the chair for support. Do 15-30 reps on each leg.

2 Raise your leg to the side as high as you can, using the chair for support. Make sure you keep your leg as straight as possible.
Do 15 – 30 reps on each leg.

3 Bend your knee and place it on the chair to stretch your hip, keeping your other foot on the ground. Hold in a still position for 20 seconds on each leg.