Tag Archives: Gillian Thomas

All Aboard the Gill Train

Sadly, I have officially finished my sessions with Gillian. For anyone who missed my first post about this, a personal trainer in the midtown Toronto area, Gillian Thomas, contacted me a little while ago and asked if I would be interested in complimentary personal training sessions with her twice a week for four weeks.

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I said yes please. So I had eight sessions in total (it ended up being over five weeks), four times in her studio, Inspira Athletica, and four times at the track near both of us. The studio is just north of Yonge and Lawrence, so just a quick subway ride away from me. It was pretty convenient.

I really enjoyed my sessions with Gillian, a lot more than I thought I would. And I was surprised how much I still liked her while she was making me do exercises that made me want to cry (I almost did cry once, though she told me I must have a pretty good poker face because I kept looking at her and smiling so she thought I wanted more). I didn’t know it was possible to hate what she was making me do while liking her so much. She was just really awesome to hang out with. Sometimes I was just excited to see her, so then when I got there and she put me to work it was a rude awakening that I actually had to work out. Rude, Gillian. Rude.

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I have also definitely been seeing some improvement over here. I still can’t do a proper push-up (all in good time, my friends), but I am getting better. And the first time I did a plank for her I could only hold it for 36 seconds. By the time I finished my sessions with her I could hold my plank for a full two minutes!

I think 2.05 was my longest time. Not too shabby! I was very proud of myself, and it’s motivating to see results like that.

I have also discovered that I have a new least favourite exercise. The inchworm. You start standing, then bend over and walk your arms out until you are in a plank, and then you bring your arms back in. If you are a visual learner like myself, perhaps pictures will help you. It basically looks like this.

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I was supposed to do 12 of them and I could only do 8 before I nearly collapsed. When Gillian did it she made it look so easy.

I have also discovered that kettle ball swings make me feel like this:

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I don’t hate them, but by the end I wanna die.

I was sore after each workout (which I always think is a good sign because to me that means it’s working) but I was never as sore as I was after the first time. Which, good thing, because not being able to walk properly for three days wasn’t very practical. But all of her workouts were intense, and there was one particular studio workout where I was the sweatiest I have ever been in my entire life. I left Evan at my pad while I met with Gillian and I came back all red-faced and sweaty and he looked at me and said “I feel like Gillian is taking your workouts to a whole new level…” I felt like that too.

So I guess the two main questions here are, can I feel/see a difference in myself, and am I going to continue with it?

First of all, yes to the difference. I haven’t weighed myself in about two years because I really don’t care to get obsessed with that number, and I am tall and big boned anyway so I am always going to weigh a lot. When I was at my most fit I didn’t really lose any weight, I was just noticeably more toned and I dropped a couple sizes. So in that regard, I have definitely been feeling more svelte lately. I seem to be fitting into my clothes better and my muffin top has not been spilling out all over my pants quite as much. So good news! I think the most noticeable differences are in my limbs though. I thought that might be my imagination, but the other day I was wearing shorts around the house and out of nowhere Evan said that he could tell my legs were looking more muscular. I hadn’t even asked his opinion. It was nice that someone else noticed and confirmed what I thought might be happening. I may have started strutting around after that.

And I can notice a difference in my strength. I mentioned the plank thing, but my squats and lunges were far better by the end, and I could lift a lot more weight with my legs.

Now…will I keep up with it? Many of the circuits Gillian put me through used only body weight resistance, so I can do them right in the comfort of my own home, which is very awesome. In theory. Have I done them in my own home? Nope. Apparently it only works for me if someone makes me do it. I may have been cursing Gillian’s name during my workout, but after each session I would feel so incredibly motivated that I couldn’t wait until my next one. But then that feeling faded and the next day I just wanted to leisure. It’s difficult to keep that motivation going. I’ve had a lot going on this week, but when things simmer down a bit my plan is to regularly start hitting the gym.

The personal training thing is nice because all you really have to do is show up and someone is there to kill you in the best way possible. If you are in the area and are looking for one, I highly recommend Gillian. She really was awesome.

Gillian does have drop-in boot camp classes on Sundays at 10am at her studio ($15 or 10 classes for $100), so I want to start going to those. If anyone wants to come along with me I am all for that! We can have a bootcamp party.

Overall it was a really great experience and I am sad it’s over. But I know Gillian and I will remain friends.

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So I am looking forward to seeing her in a more leisurely setting!

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I’m having a hard time walking this week, and this is why

Last week I was contacted by Gillian Thomas, a personal trainer in the midtown Toronto area, who said she was a fan of my blog and noticed that I had written recently about wanting to work out more regularly. She asked if I would be interested in complimentary personal training sessions with her twice a week for four weeks.

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I know, right? Huge score! I was so excited to receive her email because I have still been feeling very unmotivated this summer when it comes to exercising. I do try to squeeze in active activities like walking around the city and hiking, but I have only been running one to two days a week, about 5k, at a pretty leisurely pace. I know it’s better than nothing, but strength training? Forget it. I haven’t picked up a weight or done a squat in at least six months. Gillian seemed like just the motivation I needed.

So on Monday after work I headed to a park close to both of us with a pretty awesome track (Gillian’s suggestion) to meet up with her for a session. She was a stranger, but don’t worry parents, I googled Gillian and confirmed she was who she said she was and her plan probably wasn’t to murder me.

But she may as well have. My lower body has been dead since.

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Sitting down, getting up, and stairs are just the worst.

You know how when you hire a maid you pre-clean your house before the maid comes because you don’t want the maid to see your house all messy? Well I thought about pre-training before I met up with Gillian so she wouldn’t see how horribly out of shape I am, but our appointment happened so quickly after her original email I didn’t have time. After really slacking on exercising over the past year, I feel like I’m starting over from square one, am now a weak fool, and I am pretty sure Gillian got me at my worst. Well, four years ago probably would have been my worst, but it still wasn’t ideal conditions.

We mostly worked on my lower body, with a bit of running, HIIT (high intensity interval training) and core work thrown in. I struggled with absolutely everything.

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It probably didn’t help that I was eager and running late so I half ran/half speed-walked to the park so I was already tired, but my legs were jello after about 3 squats and my lunges were shaky to say the least. Near the end of the workout she got me to sprint for 20 seconds, then rest for 10 seconds, then repeat twice more, and by that point my “sprint” was a slow jog. I could barely stand.

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I have also never really had a personal training session before (once when I signed up for my gym, but they didn’t seem into it and they didn’t really push me). I have only done group exercise classes and a few bootcamp classes. With Gillian, it was really noticeably obvious that I could not slack. In group classes I am embarrassed to say that I am sometimes a bit of a slacker because there are so many people that the instructor can’t pay attention to me all the time. When they’re not looking I tend to half-ass things. Or just lay on the ground when I am supposed to be doing pushups.

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No one sees me slacking…

But of course, the only person I am hurting by slacking is myself. Gillian was ON me. She got me to do things that I never, EVER would have done myself. Never. I never would have pushed myself that hard. It was the hardest and best workout of my life, and during I felt like I might die several times and I did debate just quitting right there and telling Gillian thanks, but forget it, I’m not coming back, and then running (or slowly hobbling) away.

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See ya, sucker. I’m outta here.

But somehow I powered through, and I am so glad I did because I felt amazing afterwards. Like instantly more svelte. I know it doesn’t work like that, but if it’s possible to take inches off your thighs in one workout that workout would have done it. So I walked home afterwards feeling really happy and proud of myself. And kind of like an invincible beast. And then I got home and I immediately faceplanted into my bed of pain.

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Gillian herself was extremely cool and friendly. I liked her instantly. She was the type of person I felt like I could be friends with, so all good on that front.

I am meeting Gillian again tonight to do the upper body thing. Thank God, because my butt is on fire and I can still barely walk. I told her that lunges are my weakness, but I conveniently left out that I can barely do a pushup, so…tonight should be fun. I’ll let you know how it’s going over the next few weeks.

If you live in Toronto and are looking for someone to kick your ass workout-wise, hit Gillian up. I know I’ve only had one session, but my thighs will vouch for me here…she knows her stuff.

Oh, and Cely, Gillian said she originally found my blog through you linking to me, so I am blaming you for all my pain. Muahahaha. My buns of steel may be thanking you in a month though…

Oh, and Gillian…THANK YOU!

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