👋 Hi! Tell us about yourself and your training
Hi, my name is Aimee Corry, I’m 26 years old and from North London. I have been working as a full-time personal trainer for three years, specialising in weight training and conditioning.
Last September, I began a full-time master’s course in acting after gaining a place at London’s famous ‘Arts Educational School’. Consequently, at the moment, my PT job has taken a back seat until the summer. My training is always a priority though and so I am learning how to balance my two passions in life!
I have always been active, I love to move. I started dancing around the age of eight and playing tennis but I started weight training and really getting to know my way around the gym at around the age of 20.
I started out with HIIT workouts, group fitness classes and running. That was until one day my big brother took me into the weights room. He showed me how I should be training if I wanted to really improve my strength, change my body composition and get the most out of the gym.
I was losing a lot of weight through doing all that cardio, it wasn’t healthy. I wanted shape. The first thing he showed how to train was my legs, I couldn’t walk for a week! But after that, there was no going back.
I remember the first time I put a squat bar on my back, 20kg, it felt like the heaviest thing in the world. I couldn’t imagine that years later I would be squatting 70-80kg with no problem!
After training for a couple of years, I finished my degree in drama at Exter University and went straight on to do my personal training qualification.
Fitness became my life. Watching my brother compete in body-building competitions, I decided to take to the stage myself.
A tough break up left me eating a lot and a bit lost, I needed something to focus on. I dieted and trained HARD for sixteen weeks. I competed at Miami pro and Pure Elite in April 2016, winning my pro fitness card in the Miss Bikini Junior categories. This was an amazing achievement for me and really got me back on track mentally as well as physically.
However, this was an extreme process and no one should go into half hearted. I was lucky I worked in the gym by this point and also had no other commitments, as it really absorbs your life.
I am much happier now leading a more balanced and enjoyable lifestyle. I wouldn’t want to go through that again, but it was a valuable experience.
⏱ Describe a typical day of training
These days I do whole body sessions but make sure I hit all my main lifts throughout the week; deadlifts, squats, hip thrusts, bench press, military press. One of those lifts will be my first exercise, as they require the greatest amount of energy and muscles to work at once, followed by a series of upper and lower exercises.
My favourite day is deadlift day for sure. I have always loved deadlifting, there is something so empowering about the lift!
Previously, I would do push and pull days, again full body. I like doing full body as I find it keeps it interesting and I really get the most out of my time.
When starting out I would do my sessions by muscle groups and I did this for many years. I got great results, but it is always important to change how you train and to keep the body guessing. You never know what will work best for you until you try. For my cardio and fitness, I love boxing and skipping.
I usually train four times a week, with a fifth day added if I feel like it. As the years have gone by, I have learnt what my body needs and how to adapt my regime if it is not responding.
I used to train seven days a week but that is really not needed and not efficient. Your body will burn out. It needs rest, time to recover and come back stronger.
I love to train alone, headphones in, world out. It’s my down time, my therapy. I go in with a million things in my head and during the session I’m just releasing all those things into my workout.
Music gets me through it and keeps the pace up, I don’t like being disturbed. Unless I am having really long rest periods between heavy sets.
I do enjoy doing cardio with other people though, like pad work or circuits. Doing those by myself can feel gruelling and sometimes it’s good to have a friend to keep you accountable to the clock!
I use my Fitbit versa to track my workout. I use it as my timer for rest periods and to check my heart rate remains where I need it to be.
Other things I always have on me are a resistance band for glute activation, chalk for my grip, and a big water bottle. My gym session is when I find myself guzzling 1-1.5L a water. I need it to get through.
I don’t really keep a training log anymore. If I am in a strength programme, however, I will make a note of what I am lifting week by week in order to eventually overcome a personal best.
Other than that, I will know what session I am doing in my head and what exercises I have in store. I don’t like to overthink it or put too many rules on it now, I have spent many years being regimented.
👊 How do you keep going and push harder?
I’m lucky because I love training, genuinely. I look forward to it, it’s my buzz. So more often than not I am totally up for the gym. Even on my down days, I know the feeling so well of finishing a good training session, I crave that feeling again and it forces me to go.
Of course, I have times when it is the last thing I want to do. At the moment, I am getting back from my acting course at 8 p.m. after a 12-hour day. But I know if I don’t get my sessions in, I’ll feel even worse come the end of the week.
So, I walk in the door, get changed instantly, have my gym bag already prepared, headphones in, grab my pre-workout snack and leave. No time to second guess or talk myself out of it. In and out, music on. As soon as I am in my car and on the way, I am glad to be going.
You have to listen to your body though, sometimes it is hard to know whether your mind is tricking you into not being up for it or if you are genuinely too tired.
Don’t be too hard on yourself. If there is another night you can go, leave it for then. If you want to push yourself but feel low on energy, do a shorter session. Just go in and get it done, see it as a job. N
ow that I have less time to train, I am stricter with how I use my time. I set myself a goal of when I have to be home by, so that when I am training I don’t mess around.
You have to keep experimenting with your training. Sometimes motivation can get low when you are bored of your routine or you stop seeing results.
This is a sign something needs to change. Like mentioned previously, amend your programme and mix up how you split your muscle groups. Read up, teach yourself, seek advice, test it out. The body is amazing, it has endless surprises. Keep searching.
🏆 How are you doing today and what does the future look like?
At the moment, we are in lockdown. I don’t have a gym at home or many weights. So my training, like many others, has dramatically changed. I am doing a lot more cardio, skipping and running, alongside glute work with my resistance band and some upper body strength work with a larger resistance band.
I am keeping my protein levels high and making sure I am including tough body weight exercises in order to maintain the muscle I have got.
When we can get back to the gym, I’ll ease my way back into the weights. I’ll probably do four weeks of higher reps, low weight and then begin to increase weight and drop reps as the weeks progress.
If I could starter over in my fitness journey, I wouldn’t change much. One thing I would do is make sure I went on a proper reverse diet when coming out of my bikini fitness competitions, in order to stop rapid weight gain.
However, that process also taught me a lesson and I think every experience has a silver lining. It helped me to better educate my clients having been through excessive weight loss and gain, but also taught me that progress and maintenance can be a lot easier if you take it slow and have patience.
🤕 How do you recover, rest and handle injuries?
For recovery, I make sure I foam roll and stretch in between sessions. I warm up properly (something which I didn’t bother to do for a long time) and make sure that I listen when something doesn’t feel right.
I recently injured my meniscus in my knee through dance, so have been doing physio therapy for that. The exercises are tedious, I know, but they are important and so worth it in the long run. If you have an injury, don’t prolong it. Fix it.
I make sure I get seven to eight hours sleep a night, otherwise I can’t perform at my best. Obviously, it’s not always perfect, but I really feel the difference if I don’t get enough sleep.
I also notice if I am dehydrated, I just feel lazy and lethargic. Sleep, hydration and good nutrition are all essentials for good recovery.
🍎 How is your diet and what supplements do you use?
Since October I have been a vegetarian. I make sure I keep my protein intake high through vegetarian protein sources such as Quorn products, tofu, egg whites and Misfits Vegan Protein Powder.
There are so many meat alternatives out there now that I have found it really easy to still hit my protein numbers and be meat free. Marks and Spencer’s do a great plant-based range.
I use My Fitness Pal to track my calories and macros. If I am not cutting, I am more relaxed with tracking my calories but I still keep a close eye on my protein and to keep structure in my nutrition.
I like to know exactly what I am putting in to my body. The barcode scanning feature on the app means I can find out what any product has inside, macronutrient wise.
My maintenance calories are around 1800. When I diet down, I do it slowly. I drop to 1600 first, then 1500. Over a long period of time I usually don’t need to drop any lower. I usually start dropping my calories around March, in the lead up to June, for summer. I then go through a maintenance phase.
The other time of the year, I will diet down is in the lead up to Christmas and New Years. I like to do this so that during the actual festivities I can relax a bit more. Any weight I put on will just bring me back to maintenance weight rather than gaining extra.
If I am going out for a meal, I don’t stress about it anymore, there is no need to if you aren’t competing. I will normally just eat a bit less during the day to save calories for that meal if I am dieting, and track the meal as best possible.
Life is too short to say no to social events. Just be clever with your tracking. This is why I love flexible dieting.
Stay within your numbers, eat 80% whole nutritious foods, 20% whatever you want. This stops me from craving certain things like chocolate and means that it doesn’t really feel like a diet at all.
It also means I don’t have to wait for a massive ‘cheat day’ to eat all the foods I have been missing. For me, that kind of structure just leads to binging, then feeling sick, then feeling guilty. It can be a very destructive cycle.
👍 What has inspired and motivated you?
Honestly, my biggest motivation is myself. I train because I know it will help me physically and mentally to reach my fullest potential. Without it, I wouldn’t be where I am today.
Training gets me through the tough times, enhances the good times and keeps me focused. If I don’t feel like a heavy weight session, I will at least go for a walk, dance, cycle.
Just get moving. I tell myself, while I have a healthy, working body, use it. Some people don’t even have the option.
My brother is the one who first showed me the ropes, and uses training in the same way I do. I feel like a lot of his core values have been installed into me and so he will always be an inspiration to me.
I don’t tend to get inspiration from Instagram, I don’t fully trust a lot of it and feel like it’s a fine line between people trying to help you and people boosting their egos. You never know what is really going on behind that screen.
On the flip side, it is an amazing tool for reaching out to people who can’t afford to go to the gym, pay for a personal trainer or who genuinely just need somewhere to start.
✏️ Advice for other people who want to improve themselves?
If I was new to the fitness world, that’s where I would be wary. Before you start putting everything into someone you follow on Instagram, just because you think they look amazing, do your research. Check their reviews, ask around, see if you agree with their values and what they promote.
Bodybuilding.com has some great content to guide you through session splits, exercises and techniques. I used to go on this all the time to help plan my weight sessions when I started out.
Also, ask friends who you know train if you can jump in on a session. Accept and understand though that this is a slow and steady process. You won’t go to the gym once and wake up physically in a new body the next day.
Enjoy getting stronger gradually, embrace the challenges. See it as a journey not a quick fix. Take progress pictures and measurements, the scales are not a clear indicator of progress.
Remember, rest is just as important.
I used to burn out my body by thinking I needed to train seven days a week, it was unnecessary. On your rest days stay active, hit 10K steps and stay on top of your nutrition.
What you are eating is the most important thing above all to see any results. Nutrition is number one, then exercise. This area is also where a lot of false information can be given.
So be careful and listen to science-based research, people who are very experienced and don’t tell you that to get the body you want, you have to restrict certain things excessively. That is not good advice.
🤝 Are you taking on clients right now?
I am always open to new clients and people reaching out. Even if it is just for a chat, some advice, general guidance.
I would rather someone came to me for some honest advice than feel completely lost in this massive, confusing fitness world!
Just remember that ultimately, your body is your friend. Don’t see any of this as punishment, its nourishment.