I've been working with Gabriel at DeVine Physiques for a little over 2 months now. Having been senior editor for a personal-training and group-fitness training magazine in years passed, I had some definite criteria in mind when looking for someone to help me overcome my difficulties with diet-plan adherence and learning quintessential moves that I was afraid to try due to injury potential if performed incorrectly.
Upon meeting Gabriel for our free consultation, we reviewed my history with diet, exercise and past injuries, as well as my current goals vs. efforts I'd tried on my own to reach them. He asked the right questions, but more importantly he let me talk about these topics in-depth when needed and actively listened. He did not have a cookie-cutter approach in mind... he was looking for ways to optimize a plan to promote diet/exercise-program adherence and injury prevention relative to my goals with a conscious consideration as to my physical characteristics and limitations at that time (flexibility limits, minor chiropractic concerns, native structural particulars such as being bow-legged, flat-footed, etc.).
The plan I brought to the table was "burn and build": start with a goal of losing 25 pounds (cutting), per the suggestion of my physician ... and then shift gears to building muscle on top of that new leaner frame (bulking) --- with cycles of both going forward from there. Gabriel worked with me to develop that idea into action. He advised me re: the importance of tracking calories and made suggestions as to apps that could be leveraged to aide in that often-tedious endeavor. He set me up with his customized trainer/client app and I connected MyFitnessPal to it to funnel data re: my daily nutritional and hydration tracking to him. We've started with two 50-minute workout sessions per week for now.
Our goal has been to keep me below 2,000 calories per day... and his strong suggestion (not mandate, mind you... very important) to track everything has opened my eyes as to the caloric and nutritional content of everything I *was* eating (holy crap!) and have currently shifted to eating (oh thank God!).
Coupled with drinking at least 96 oz. of water per day (also tracked) to help keep the body hydrated and aide with hunger as my body adjusted to the caloric reduction, my prior junk-food habit/addiction has gone away --- which, as I write this, had not fully hit me re: how big of a deal that really is. I haven't thought of a soda or French fries, etc., in quite some time... instead, I've been trying to figure out just how many ounces of chicken breast are on my plate at XYZ restaurant so I can get an accurate calorie figure for my tracking. ;-)
The physical results have been *much* more than I initially expected. In roughly 2 months I've gone from 225 pounds at 5'11" to 204, and now we're looking at what to do once I hit my 200-pound goal. The current verdict is to go for another 10 pounds and see where I land and how I feel before shifting gears to more-intense focus on building/bulking. My cardio efficiency has increased greatly, as I no longer feel like I'm going to fall over going up and down flights of stairs.
And whereas I was wearing XL shirts when I walked in the door, I recently shifted to L for the first time in a very long while. I've actually started to look forward to shopping for new clothes and don't dread going into fitting rooms and facing the mirror --- even the ones with horrible lighting. LOL
For me, the key to success has been a combination of really wanting to do this coupled with Gabriel's friendly, positive reinforcement. He always points out when I've broken through barriers in my workouts with him, and has schooled me in very understandable terms re: basic anatomy, form, how things such as sitting and driving affect our flexibility and posture over time, etc.
Gabriel's never mandated I do anything... instead, he's *encouraged* food tracking, hydration, caloric reduction, showing up for all our sessions, etc., couching those actions as being the bedrock for achieving the goals that *I* walked in the door with. The responsibility lies with *me* to do the work in the exercise programming he sets up for each session as well as the between-sessions work (which is actually *more* important in the long run). His welcoming, friendly, encouraging advisement regarding form and function as we work together in those sessions helps me keep moving forward progressively, efficiently and safely.
We developed an easy rapport quite quickly, but Gabriel's very good about keeping us on task ... all while allowing me to catch my breath and regroup between sets or cardio sprints. There is no militaristic aggressive "go go go!!!" kind of atmosphere, but rather a "when you're ready... you've got this... you can and will because you are" approach to gently psyching me up when I might be feeling a bit of a dip in my gas tank.
And when I'm actually lifting -- particularly if we're escalating weight to a new level -- he knows when to turn on a little-bit-more-"cheerleader" type of encouragement to help me push through... again, though, all centered on the idea that this is *me* working through *this moment* aiming for completion of *this movement* while being able to trust that he's there to help me make adjustments for optimal safe execution and spot me should I run into an exertion failure --- which is pretty rare, given his method of having rebuilt and reinforced the infrastructure of my core, lower back and legs with moves that I always wanted to try but was scared to do (deadlifts, in particular). He's walked me through those learning curves and longstanding hesitation to the other side where I'm much more confident and actually making marked progress in form + how much weight I can lift. I'm doing things at 43 years of age that I'd always been scared to do.
If this has been my experience at the 2-month mark of working with Gabriel, I can't imagine where we'll be at the 4-month mark... or the 6-month mark! This has definitely been one of the most important and positive investments I've made in myself, and definitely the most physical-fitness progress I've made all around since having worked with a personal-trainer roommate who schooled me on basics in my mid-20s. The body usually changes quickly in your 20s, and I was afraid that I'd have a slow tedious climb in my 40s... but Gabriel's coaching (and my diligence; very important factor) have made that climb much faster and fulfilling than I thought would be possible.
I look better. I feel better. I eat better. I move better. I *am* better. Other people have noticed ... and *I* have noticed -- not just on the surface, but inside as well -- and I want to keep moving forward to see what working with Gabriel holds in store around the bend.