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Resident advisor: Will McLaren on personal fitness plans

The best way to work out is different for every individual – and body – says the master trainer at fitness class and personal training studio KXU

11 August 2021

From finding out what types of exercise you enjoy the most, to aligning your fitness goals with your priorities, KXU master trainer Will McLaren talks about how to establish a fitness regime that works for you and becomes part of your routine.

Do the things you love

The first thing I do with my personal training clients is establish what their goals are, how much time they have, how much sleep they get and what their diet is like. It’s important to figure out what they actually enjoy doing, because the only way to really make a connection with someone is by finding a form of exercise that they want to do. At a gym like KXU that’s quite easy, because we offer many different activities.

And the things you hate (without realising)

If someone hates a squat, I will try to get them to do one without thinking about it. I might put you with a partner so you’re taking turns. There are ways of making things more enjoyable.

Align with your priorities

Most people just want to look and feel better. But if you have more specific goals, you have to find a way of training towards them that you enjoy and will bring about results. If someone wants to put on muscle and their exercise regime only consists of going to a spin class every day, then that’s not going to bring them the results they are after.

Lay the foundations

Most fitness is very simple. It follows a few set rules: how to lift weights correctly, or how to do yoga poses correctly. It’s just perfecting the basics, really. But people have a tendency to overcomplicate everything.

Make all the right moves

There’s no one best way to get fit. The greatest thing you can do is move properly: until you can, there’s no point in doing anything else. I love training yogis because they’re so mobile, but I also train people who have been mainly sitting at a desk for 30 years, and have hardly done any exercise in that time. We have to tackle their mobility first. People’s movement patterns are all slightly different, but everyone should be able to squat without pain, put their hands above their head, flex their spine and laterally lunge. I always try to incorporate full ranges of movement, and also educate people on how to move correctly and safely while they’re doing it.

“The only way to really make a connection with someone is by finding a form of exercise that they want to do”

Get into a groove

Going to the gym and eating healthily needs to become part of your routine, just like having a morning coffee is. Going to the gym: part of the weekly routine. Always going for the healthy option – trying to get that into your routine is harder, but once it’s a habit, it stays. And then, when those things are not in your routine, you feel like you’re missing something.

Flatten the curve

Stick to a plan. You’ll go off it at times, you’ll go back on it. It’s like a radio wave – up and down. But when people learn to keep that wave as shallow as possible, instead of going to extremes, their mindset gets better and they see progress.

Lift your spirits

I train one person who was treated at The Priory for depression. They discovered that moving and sweating a bit makes them feel amazing. Everyone has different reasons for going to the gym: that’s theirs.

KXU is a pay-as-you-go boutique studio offering fitness classes, personal training, nutritious food, shakes, juices and aesthetic treatments; 241 Pavilion Road, SW1X 0BP
Jamie Millar is a freelance health and fitness writer and a contributing editor to Men’s Health

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