MP recently spoke with Noelle Mckenzie, co-founder of Leading Edge Personal Trainers, a black-owned family-run personal training business originally based in NYC. Thanks to the launch of its virtual personal training platform just over two years ago, it now trains clients around the US and in London. Leading Edge Personal Training treats fitness like a lifestyle with the mission of improving each client’s quality of life by focusing not purely on aesthetics but, more importantly, the functioning of their body.
MP: Why is it important to maintain a consistent workout routine?
NM: Consistency is the most important aspect of training because, without consistency, you’ll never make real, sustainable progress. It’s more physically and mentally taxing to stop and then restart an exercise program than to keep the positive momentum going. It’s like pushing a heavy object. Once you get it moving, it’s easier to keep it going than to stop and get it moving again.
From a purely physiological standpoint, to build strength and muscle or lose fat, you need to provide a stimulus consistently enough for your body to feel the need to adapt. This is how you make steady progress.
What are three ways people generally fail themselves when keeping a consistent workout routine, and how can such failures be avoided?
Frequently, people are too hard on themselves with irrational expectations. They expect big results overnight without considering the small incremental improvements they make week to week. They approach exercise with an “all or nothing mentality” where if they slip up one day, they give up on themselves.
They don’t set themselves up for success by planning to make it easier to hit their goals. Things like meal prepping, keeping healthy snack options around, adding their workout to their calendar, getting enough sleep, having an accountability partner, and hiring a coach are all ways they can keep themselves on track with following a consistent workout routine.
They try to outwork a bad diet with exercise, and when this fails, they get frustrated and quit. Diet and exercise are equally important in seeing progress, and progress drives consistency.
Working out from home can be a pain, especially without the proper equipment. What are five basic workout essentials everyone should invest in, and why?
An exercise mat. It’s important to have a comfortable place to work out where you can have the proper foot traction and protective cushion for your body.
Resistance bands. These are convenient, effective, and space-saving because they are lightweight enough to travel with, easy to store, and versatile in use.
Jump rope. It’s lightweight, easy to store, and a great way to quickly get your heart rate up and improve your conditioning.
TRX or suspension trainer. It’s lightweight, dynamic, and a great way to use your bodyweight for resistance. You can also train the total body with this one piece of equipment.
Kettlebells. They are space-saving and functional. Kettlebells are a great tool for training strength, conditioning, power, muscular endurance, coordination, and stability.
Are longer workouts always better? If yes, why? If no, why not?
No, you can get an effective workout in as little as 20-30 minutes. With time being a barrier for many people, shorter workouts are more likely to get done consistently, and consistency is most important for progress.
How can someone tell how long and intense their workouts should be?
You should judge the length of your workout based on how much time you have. It’s more important to do a shorter workout in less time than to skip the workout because you don’t have an hour to give. The length of the workout dictates the intensity of your workout.
Shorter workouts need to be higher intensity. Longer workouts should be less intense. You can measure the intensity of your workout based on the level and duration of soreness post-workout. If you’re sore for more than two days, you should look at cutting back on the intensity of your workout to allow for more frequency in your training.
What are five pieces of advice you can share with people looking to level up their home workouts, and why?
Create a designated workout space in your home so you can mentality get into workout mode once you’re in that space.
Put your workout on your work and family calendar so everyone respects this personal time and avoids interruptions.
Create a workout playlist with your favorite songs that get you pumped and help power you through your workout.
Get the appropriate resistance. Don’t be afraid to get weights that challenge you. If you can do more than 15 reps with good form.
Hire a coach or an accountability partner. This is the best way to keep you consistent and help ensure you’re following a program designed to get you results.
Is there anything else you would like to add?
We are grateful to be in the position of being able to educate people on the importance of valuing our health. So often, we look outside of our bodies for remedies to heal ourselves from physical pain and discontent in how we look and feel instead of looking inwards to understand how our body is designed to heal itself when given the proper tools. We must value our bodies not just for how they look but for what they can do. A well-functioning body can improve our quality of life and happiness.