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Anna Graves Personal Trainer

Sundried personal trainer ambassador

Anna comes from a hockey background but is now interested in CrossFit and bodybuilding. She tells Sundried about her journey as a personal trainer.

Please tell us about sporting events you have taken part in or have coming up.

I played county standard hockey during my teenage years and continued to play East region with my local club; focusing on hockey as my main sport as university I got to play in some great fixtures at unis all over the country. 

Tell us about your journey to fitness? Where did it all start?

Ever since I was little I was running around the park and had an abundance of energy. I’ve competed for various clubs in a number of sports over the years; mainly hockey and football, but also basketball, tennis, and badminton competitively for clubs. I completed my degree at the University of Exeter in Sport and Exercise Sciences - they had superb facilities and I certainly made use of them! At this point I wasn’t quite sure whether I wanted to teach PE or go into personal training; ultimately I went with the latter. I’ve now been in the industry for 10 years and still get same enjoyment I did at the beginning. I’ve tried all sorts of different training methodologies myself; from bodybuilding to CrossFit, dabbling in German body composition time under tension Work; GVT. I believe I’ve drawn on elements from each and can utilise certain components with clients where appropriate. A varied skill set and knowledge is paramount to providing a great service. 

What are your training goals now?

Now I still play football but much less often; predominantly I train for fun and longevity. Over the next 6 months or so I’ll look to put on a little bit more muscle but try to keep reasonably lean in the process; staying agile and mobile to continue to play sports. I’ll look also to increase strength again - lifting heavier - having been doing a lot of tri-sets / giant sets higher rep lower weight work of late. 

Tell us one unusual fact we wouldn’t know about you:

I’m petrified of anything of the creepy crawly variety. 

What advice do you wish you'd been given when you first started out?

Make a mailing list and send out newsletters occasionally; to keep in touch with both current and past clients; create some kind of online presence from the start; the industry is changing and you need to be flexible in the ways you coach and train people to keep up. 

Do you follow a specific nutrition plan? If so, what/when do you eat?

I don’t weigh and measure my food no; but generally have my carbs around my workout; protein and fats for breakfast and regular small meals throughout the day. These will always have a meat/fish component and I’ll vary the vegetables/salad (and usually have olive oil or avocado as well). I stay away from bread/pasta /wheat products. I’ve played around with various high fat low carb - super high protein diets - paleo plans - raw food and zone diets. Actually what I find most sustainable and enjoyable is keeping a variety and listening to my body. Having said this, I do roughly tot up my macros on a daily basis but I’m not rigid; I just like to have a rough idea and stay within certain boundaries. My protein goal is the one I always try to hit. 

What do you do to keep your clients motivated? Do you have any top tips to keep motivated?

For me, motivation comes from the fact I do this for myself: you should train and keep fit for yourself, not approval from anybody else. Feeling fit and healthy can do wonders for people’s confidence in all aspects of their life. It can create a sense of achievement and well being. I like to set little goals for my clients and keep a check on their own aspirations regularly so we’re focused and working alongside each other. I’m in regular contact with my clients out of our sessions; checking in; answering questions; sending articles if appropriate. 

Also not being too strict all of the time, for me, helps keep me motivated. I quite like the 80/20 rule. If you’re ‘good’ most of the time you can afford to relax a little and have something you want now and then. I like to go to nice restaurants and have a passion for good food; but I also feel I’ve earned my reward if you like. Balance is key. 

Talk us through your training regime..

I usually train split body parts; it will vary if I played a football match on Sunday; but generally a 4-day split (back; shoulders; legs; chest & arms) and then a mobility or ‘play’ session.. Lately I’ve been looking into more primal movements and callisthenics- and try to incorporate this into my week and offset the one plane nature of typical bodybuilding style training. I’ll sometimes throw in a circuits session as well; time and energy depending usually. I do really enjoy boxing as well and if I can get a session in here and there I’ll do that too. 

How do you keep your fitness knowledge up to date?

Since I graduated, I’ve done various courses abroad and in the UK; I did some strength and conditioning work in the USA; attained my CrossFit certificate in Sydney, Australia and did a semi-private internship with Canadian strength coach Charles Poliquin in Sweden. More recently I completed a sports massage course as well. I find continued education keeps me interested and a broader knowledge helps set me apart from the rest. I also follow some fitness pages, read articles, and watch videos to keep up. When I can I go to seminars/lectures/courses from some of the industry professionals I follow. 

What are your top 3 trainer tips?

  1. Practice what you preach 
  2. Be approachable, reliable; interested in your clients needs and well being 
  3. Strive to work alongside more knowledgeable and experienced trainers so you don’t stagnate. 

If you could only eat one thing for the rest of your life, what would it be?

Ribeye steak (with sweet potato fries & broccoli if I’m allowed an accompaniment) 

Why work with Sundried?

We strive on a daily basis to better ourselves and get one step closer to our health and fitness goals; but we are privileged enough to be able to do so. There is nothing wrong with this commitment to improving and focusing on ourselves, but it shouldn’t be at the detriment of others or impacting on the environment. If each of us can play a small part in instigating change or assisting in some way, it all adds up. 

Favourite fitness quote:

Fit is not a destination it’s a way of life.

personal trainer lifting weights at the gym

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