Feeling Good, Inside and Out

“What are your barriers to exercising,” asks Roxanna Hutchison-Kane, an Edinburgh-based, women-only personal trainer.

Normally I’d say: “Where do I start?”, but in recent months, my time has been freed up with my teenaged daughter leaving home, and I’ve joined a new gym, so I am feeling motivated to exercise and eat better.

So, I am curious about the approach Roxanna will take to getting me into better shape, in this post-lockdown world.

First-off, she sends me an introduction pack to her personal training business, Inside & Out by RHK, along with a cool little cool bag, presumably for the super-healthy lunches that I’m going to be making myself very soon. The pack contains a consultation report, a brightly-coloured diet and fitness journal, a T&Cs form to sign and an extensive health, fitness and lifestyle questionnaire. I spend an hour filling this out, and it makes me really question what I am eating and drinking, how often I exercise, what I count as exercise, and reminds me how great my occasionally sore back has been in the last year or more.

I sign the forms and post them back in time for our hour-long session. Roxanna emails me a Zoom link, and off we go into the unchartered world (for me) of online personal training.

One barrier I did mention is using gym equipment. Whilst I am a gym member, I virtually never use the gym, opting for swimming and group classes instead. Roxanna explains that bodyweight alone can be a great way of shaping up, losing weight and feeling good about ourselves, so not special equipment is needed – although we do use a 5lb weight I find kicking about under the sofa. A bit of space, water and P.E. outfit is all you need. And a laptop, of course, mobile phone screens being too small for this purpose.

In advance, Roxanna emails the tailored routine she has devised for me, based on my questionnaire. Goals are important when getting fit, and I highlight my complete inability to do one sit up, and very poor core strength as two areas I’d like to work on.

I admit to feeling a bit of a numpty when we start by marching, me in my living room, Roxanna in her kitchen, but the curtains are closed and no-one else is at home. A good warm-up leads onto a series of squats, lunges, leg raises whilst sitting (I find this the most challenging move of all), and thigh lifts. It is easy to pick up and Roxanna keeps a very close eye on what I’m doing, making sure I hold the positions properly. This is very personal training – and I like it a lot. She points out the good things I’m doing, as well as when I let a leg drift in the wrong direction, and her encouragement is second to none.

We cool down and stretch out at the end of a vigorous workout, which has me out of breath and sweaty (in a good way). One tip is to have a window open to keep the room cool. Roxanna also recommends getting a roller to ease out those niggles and knots afterwards.

She warns me that I will “feel it” tomorrow, and right enough, as I climb the 100-plus steps up Fleshmarket Close in Edinburgh’s city Centre the next day, my legs are aching.

Exercising at home doesn’t suit everybody, so Roxanna has started classed in person. She is also a specialist in pre- and post-natal training, stress release breathing techniques, nutrition and offers cooking lessons.

Sessions cost between £30-£50 and hour, depending on the number of people, and can be online, in a park or studio.

To find out more, visit www.insideandout-rhk.com

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