5 Things I Learnt From Doing A Semi-Private Gym Program

5 things I learnt from doing a gym program
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5 things I learnt from doing a gym program


My Bad Christmas

Christmas was pretty bad for me in terms of over-eating and lack of exercise.
But the worst thing about it was I knew I was doing it and I didn’t care because again I knew I was kick-starting the year with a 28-day high-intensity semi-private gym program, which included a weights and nutrition plan. GYM! DC Health Performance to be exact, but still, A GYM!!! I haven’t done weights in my life unless you count pushups but really that’s just your own body weight and I’m pretty sure my trainer wouldn’t count it.

Anyway, I signed up for this program just before Christmas, ready to start on the 9th in the New Year. You’d think this would motivate me to eat a bit better than usual and maybe do a little bit more exercise. They even gave me my nutrition plan early, but no, not this squishy chicky! I ate and drank myself dumb with all the other happily satisfied people over Chrissy. Needless to say, I rocked up on my first day feeling totally unprepared for any sort of weights exercise! 


1. Day 3 is The Worst Day

Surprising myself, I did quite well in my first session and I wasn’t even that sore the next day. Here’s a heads up, its the third day that gets you! After two solid workouts, I was seriously feeling the burn on day three!  But it’s done, my mind is set and I’m doing this, I’m not giving up that easily. So I rolled out of bed and headed to the gym. Luckily for me, it’s about a 10min walk away so by the time I get there my muscles have warmed up quite a bit. 

It wasn’t until about the Sunday after I started (Sat & Sun are rest days) that everything started to calm down a bit and this week hasn’t been nearly as painful. My body has strengthened already it is slowly getting conditioned to the new exercises. I learnt all about it from this article from WebMD. It was actually really interesting finding out how the muscles work and why they are sore. I feel a lot better knowing that the pain indicates a building of strength in my body. It also puts more meaning into the saying “No pain, No gain”!

5 things I learnt from doing a gym program
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2. You Should Be Measuring Your Body Fat % Not Just Your Weight

The program I’ve signed up for was a total spur of the moment kinda thing.  An Ad popped up on my facebook and the next minute I was getting a call from Chris to tell me all about the program and the gym’s philosophy, Chris is a pretty good salesman might I add.
On the next Tuesday, I went in and met with Paul who talked me through the program, nutrition info, my flexibility, past injuries, goals, etc and then calculated my body fat percentage. 

The importance of measuring your body fat and not just your weight is that your weight will fluctuate as you build more strength. For example, I started eating really well and running every day for a while last year. For the first week or so my weight was gradually going down but as I trained more it started to plateau and then go back up. As I was building muscle I started to put more weight on again. Not fatty weight but muscle weight which is much more acceptable though it doesn’t look it when all you’re measuring is your weight. I didn’t realise this at the time and got frustrated and angry and threw the towel in! Silly me.

I found the body fat calculator really interesting. They use the Body Metrix Ultrasound Fat testing system to measure the fat in 4 separate locations on your body and then calculates your overall percentage. Mine came back at 27.4, remembering this is before my Christmas health mayhem. 27.4 is a tad outside the healthy percentage class of 21-24%. My goal is to get to 22% and a fit back into one of my favourite dresses!

5 things I learnt from doing a gym program

3. Your Intake to Output is Key for Fat Loss

So as I mentioned, the program includes a nutrition plan. Now you might think that this is the catch. “They’re going to starve you Mardi, put you on some crazy diet to show you results quickly”. Well my dear friend, I’m happy to say, you are wrong. The nutrition plan has been tailored to suit a couple of different factors. 1, my personal weight goal, & 2, my energy output.

The aim of the game is to watch your energy intake compared to your energy output……..so yes, in a sense it’s counting calories. I find the term ‘Counting Calories’ has a bad stigma around it, or maybe it’s just me….?

Since starting the program I’ve done a bit more research on calories. Turns out it’s just another name for energy and so is kilojoules (this one I knew).  All this time I’ve thought that calories were the evil little gremlins that were in food and when you ate them it was bad! Because come on, anything you’re expected to count and pay so much attention to must be bad, right? 

I’ve also learned, is that when they say ‘energy in’ they are referring to ‘kilojoules in’ (yep still going with the “kjs” over the “cals”, it makes me feel better), as in the kjs in the food we’ve eaten. This is then compared to your energy output, to support body weight you need to aim for your energy intake to equal your energy output. The amount of energy you need each day depends on how active you are, and whether your body is still growing (i.e. children). Here is a table from Nutrition Australia that outlines an estimated daily energy intake for a sedentary person (eg office work or study, no strenuous physical activity), it also has a list of the amounts of energy delivered by the nutrients in some foods.

5 things I learnt from doing a gym program
89g Lean Protein (Half of the skewer) 1 cup of Veg 30g Healthy Carbs

4. I Eat Portion Sizes That Are Waaaaay To Big

My personalised nutrition plan was created with the end goal of losing a certain amount of body fat. This means my daily energy intake needs to be less than my energy output in order for my body fat to go down. 

The plan consists of 5 meals a day. Four are proper meals and one is a small dose of carbs to go with a workout. Each meal has four different sections to it Lean Protein, Veggies, Healthy Fats, Healthy Carbs with corresponding weights or serving sizes for each.  On rest days your weights & serving sizes are smaller to make up for the lack of energy output.

I’ve found that each meal is more than enough food. When I first weighed out my Healthy carbs it equated 2 dessert spoons of brown rice! Normally I’d probably have about 2 serving spoons of rice plus some meat and probably cheese and maybe another carb like potato…and then dessert. Ok maybe not that much but still way bigger than the recommended amount.
When I first measured all the food out it seemed a bit silly, but it gets evened out with your lean protein and veg intake. I can happily say that after a meal I am definitely not feeling hungry still.  

5. I Can Do A Lot More Weights Than I Thought

The program is classified as semi-private, meaning that I am given a trainer and she/he will help me with my set program while helping the other people in her/his section. My trainer is Jules and she’s great, lovely, bubbly and really knowledgeable.  Every day the workout changes but has a set amount of reps & sets. I swear I must have looked fit when I came in for my first review because where other people have been given 3 sets of 10 for their first week I was given 3 sets of 12. So strong!  And then it went up to 4 sets the next week. No plateauing for me!

They use an app called Teambuilder where each day your program is uploaded and you input the weight and amount of reps that you’ve done. This is great because it allows you to keep track of what you’ve done and whether or not you should go up a weight……Jules keeps putting them up! Annnnnnd, this is the point where my whole body was aching. But as mentioned I pushed through, had a rest over the weekend and was back into it on Monday.  This week I’ve really surprised myself with the weight I can use. Most of the exercises call for a different weight but compared to last week they are at least 2-3kg more.

5 things I learnt from doing a gym program


6. The Gym Isn’t As Scary As I First Thought

 I know I said “5 Things” but I felt I needed to put this one in too.
I’ve always had this phobia of going to a gym. All those big muscley people doing bicep curls in front of mirrors just put me off and I could never really justify spending the money when I could go for a run for free. The beauty of DC Health Performance is yes it’s a gym but it’s not a gym that you sign up to and use whenever you want. It has a fully scheduled system. You get your program each week and you book times to do that program so if you don’t show up you’re not just letting yourself down but you are also inconveniencing the trainers who are there waiting to help you with your program.

By finding a gym like this I have fixed my phobia and really enjoy going. Everyone there is in the same boat and are really friendly, especially the trainers who only want to see you improve yourself.


If you want more details on the semi-private gym program, I have listed the contact details below.

What is your fitness regime? Have you got a new program happening? If so, what is it based around and do you feel it is achieving your goals? I’d love to hear from you.
Need some new Gym gear to get you in the mind-set? Check out this awesome training gear at Amazon!

A Few More Details

Gym: DC Health Performance

Contact: Paul Meldrum

Location: 2/28-34 Clarke St, Crows Nest NSW 2065

Phone: (02) 8065 5460

Email: info@dchealthperformance.com.au

F/book: https://www.facebook.com/DCHealth/

5 things I've Learnt From Doing a Semi-Private Gym Program

This article contains affiliate marketing links and adds. None of these links are associated with DC Health Performance and had any impact on my personal view of the program.


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Collectively ME, a blog about travel & all the things I learn along the way.


  1. Great article Mardi. Loved the links, thought provoking reading. Makes me want to try a gym program too!

    I have signed up to lots of programs in the past but I think the secret might be having your own regular trainer to keep you motivated and pushing through so you don’t loose heart.
    Yours sounds really good, especially the nutrional side.

    Keep up the good work.

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