Put through my paces by Blues skipper

Getting fit. We all know that we should do it, but if you are anything like me then there is always one reason or another as to why it never happens, writes Michael Hann.

Friday, 14th September 2012, 4:45 pm

Often it is because I don’t think I have the time to spend hours in a gym getting all hot and bothered, whilst feeling slightly inferior as I look around at everyone else working out.

So when the opportunity for a one-on-one personal training session with Bedford Blues captain James Pritchard arose I jumped at the chance.

The Blues skipper has recently set up his own personal training business. Having played professional rugby for 13 years he has trained under some of the best strength and conditioning coaches in the world.

He has qualifications from the Australian Fitness Network, a Certificate in IV Fitness and is a Level 1 CrossFit trainer. I couldn’t have asked for anyone better to put me through my paces.

I met James at Goldington Road, the home of the Bedford Blues, and we would be using the gym the players use.

The gym itself was not like the ones I have been in before. It struck me as a ‘proper’ gym, where the people who use it do so because they want to get fit. No one in this gym would strut around flexing their biceps in posy fashion like you see in many across the country.

After a few warm-up exercises James guided me through the circuit that I was going to be doing.

My circuit would consist of five press-ups, seven squats and nine sit-ups. I would have to do this as many times as I could in 10 minutes. It doesn’t sound like much does it? Even I thought this would cause me no problem at all - oh, how wrong I was.

A couple of laps in and I was still feeling pretty good. I was pushing myself harder than any training session I had done before as I was keen to impress the Bedford Blues captain.

But my early enthusiasm was starting to take its toll and at the half way stage I was really starting to tire. I began to glance at the stopwatch ticking down – it seemed to take an eternity.

James was providing me with constant encouragement, “Come on you can do it,” and “Good work,” spurred me on.

When the time ran out it is safe to say I was exhausted. Those 10 minutes had tested my body like never before. Any previous work I had done in the gym had been totally eclipsed in such a short space of time.

Once I had eventually got my breath back, James talked me through the sort of things I should be doing if I want to continue exercising regularly, as well as giving me nutritional advice.

He also moved to dispel my thoughts that going to the gym or working out at home can be a long laborious process.

“The whole idea is to get people along and make workouts fun,” he says. “They do not have to be an hour or an hour and a half.

“They can be 10 minutes, 20 minutes as long as you are working hard for that time it doesn’t matter how long it takes.”

So what words of encouragement does the Canadian international have for people like me who struggle to motivate themselves to workout?

“I enjoy my training so why can’t someone else?” he asks.

“That’s why I’ve been involved in rugby for so long – I have loved what I have been doing and I have loved working out because of it.

“That will never stop when I finish because I have an enjoyment of getting in the gym and testing myself, trying to better myself every time I come.”

It is that love of fitness and training that is so infectious, you feel at ease in his company when he is talking you through each exercise.

In fact when I had finally recovered James and I discussed the possibility of him putting on another session for me. It is amazing what 10 minutes can do!

For more information visit http://jptcorestrength.com