Pedro Ribeiro is a Personal Trainer who dedicates his life guiding people through health and wellness. His passion for physical education started when he was a child, which lead him to study that area and acquire a long and wide experience within training and motivation.
Other than being efficient, focused and positive, Pedro is an example of the philosophy he shares with his clients. It is very inspiring to find professionals who are passionate about their art and, in this interview, Pedro shares his path and his vision.
1 – What do you love about Personal Training and what motivated you to work in this area?
From a very young age (ever since I was 10/11 years old) I had the dream and the goal to be a Physical Education Teacher, primarily, because I had a teacher who had such an impact on me and also because I’ve always practiced several sports.
I finished my studies in that area in 2005 and I immediately started to lecture in Elementary School as I simultaneously worked as a Physical Trainer for the Carvalhos Hockey Club. After four years I was able to teach in public schools and I was “carrying the house on my back” for a while. I taught in Lisbon, Evora and Arouca. The lack of stability made me drop this area and that’s how Fitness appeared. I was selected to the EDP Corporate Gym (where I’m still working at the moment) and at the same time I worked in several gyms like UrbanFit Gaia or FitnessHut.
Today, I don’t see myself going back to teaching in schools for two reasons: the instability it creates in one’s life and the conditions that teachers in Portugal have. And the possibility that Fitness gives me in making a difference in the lives of others. To be a Personal Trainer is much more than to prescribe or lead a training. It is very rewarding to know that you have a special and impactful place in the life of someone, to know that you have made the difference and you have changed the life of someone for the better, to know that you are worthy of blind trust from someone else in you and in your work. There is no money that can pay that.
2 – What are the main things to focus in a health and wellness routine?
The main essentials are: food, physical exercise and rest. The most important, with no shadow of doubt, is to eat well! I don’t like to use the term diet, because people associate it with eating less or even stop eating. No! BALANCE is the key! One shouldn’t stop eating what one loves, but one must have control in the quantity! Of course that avoiding processed foods, sugar and fried food is important, but balance is crucial! Sports and other physical also take a main role. A sedentary lifestyle and obesity are diseases of the 21st Century. People need to move! One can enjoy our beautiful coast and our sun and take a walk two or three times a week. Gyms are centers of health and wellness, but we can do physical exercise in any place, all we need is imagination, orientation and will. Lastly, one good night of rest. Sleeping at least 6 hours so that our organism has enough batteries to reestablish balance.
3 – What’s the role of the Personal Trainer in the paradigm shift and in the assrance of meeting each individual’s goals?
As I see it, the great advantage of training with a Personal Trainer is commitment. Of course there are other important things like orientation, safety and motivation, but commitment is the main one A lot of people who seek my services have never done physical exercise regularly before. People with 50 or 60 years old. Well, we are creatures of habits. It is very hard to break certain habits and routines. So, there is nothing better than having a commitment. For example: the person wakes up early and the person feels like being a little longer in bed… But for the fact that the person has a commitment with someone else (to whom the person has paid), that will instigate the person to go to the training (whether it’s a gym or an outdoors activity) even if the will isn’t much. That commitment brings the person to consistency and that leads the person to success, meaning whoever trains regularly two or three times a week and still with a specific and individualized orientation (of training and nutrition) will always be closer to attain the goals.
4 – What are the main differences and challenges between training an individual or a group of people?
In a group of people we will always have different specificities, either they are pathological, physiological or motivational. We must be alert, do a good preparation and management and meet all of the specificities without jeopardising anyone’s integrity. In an individual session it is completely different. Based on a prior evaluation and in the defined goals it will be done a prescription and a specific orientation, considering “that” individuality.
5 – What are the main challenges that the average person feels when it comes to health and wellness when they seek the guidance of a Personal Trainer? What do you recommend to overcome those challenges?
Whoever seeks a Personal Trainer, seeks – above all – motivation and orientation. Due to the lack of healthy habits there is the necessity of a first “push”. I compare this training process to the entrance on Elementary School. Most of the people know exercise X, but they don’t know how to execute it or how to apply it correctly… A good Personal Trainer provides the tools (either technical or motivational) so that after 3 or 4 months, the individual is able and ready to train alone if that’s his/her option. My recommendation is: do not evaluate the professional for how much he is worth it, but for what he is worth it.
6 – In what way does the practice of Pilates or softer exercise practices like Qi Gong are good complements to the more active and intensive training?
Since I am connected to Pilates myself, I obviously recommend everyone to do such classes or, at least, to give it a try. It is mistaken he who thinks that it takes a lot of flexibility or mobility to do one of these classes. The goal of Pilates is to work and improve these skills. Since breathing as a crucial role, both breathing and blood circulation improve providing more vitality and reducing anxiety and stress. Then, we have all the physical benefits like improving posture and bone density, relief of back pains, etc. I usually say that Pilates first it’s strange and then it ingrains. Try it out!
7 – What is your health and wellness routine?
To begin with, I have a very balanced nutrition plan. I prefer grilled food and in all the meals I intake protein. I eat every 3 and 3 hours and I drink a lot of water! On Sundays, because I have more free time, I allow myself to eat more than usual, but it is a strategy to keep myself sane mentally. I train 3 times a week, doing a blend between cardio and force. I also sleep well, I go to bed relatively early and it has been a long time since I left late nights at discos or bars. I do what I love and I have those I love near me, and that is very important for my balance.
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