This week, Zella, assistant coordinator of the fitness at USC Leiden - main building, tells us all about getting a workout plan for in the gym.

Can you introduce yourself? Who are you and what is your role at USC?

My name is Zella van der Toorn Vrijthoff and I work as an assistant coordinator of the fitness at USC Leiden - main building. In short, I make sure that everything in the gym runs smoothly, and I am responsible for the staff schedule of the fitness at our main location and at Plex-Fit (the location in the center of Leiden). In the gym my task is, in general, to guide our clients. This means making personalized training schedules and providing training instructions to our members. It is important to me that clients feel welcome at our facility. Members can always approach me with questions about training, exercises or nutrition. My specialty is making training schedules, strength training in particular. That is really my passion!

At USC, members can have a training schedule made for free. How does this work?

Members of USC Leiden can visit one our three locations (USC main building, Plex-Fit and The Buzz) and schedule an appointment in person at the fitness desk. Appointments for a training schedule cannot be made via the USC app. The reason for this is that the fitness instructor needs to add information to the appointment in order to make a tailored training schedule. We collect information about the client such as if you have any injuries, whether or not you have experience with strength training, whether you practice other sports and what your training goals are. Training goals can vary widely. Examples are: reducing fat percentage, building more muscle mass and strength, recovery after an injury, a fitness schedule to support another sport, improving stamina, or just staying fit in general.

Starting/Beginner Fitness Client

For a starting fitness client, we keep the schedule fairly simple. In most cases it is a total body schedule with exercises on fixed equipment. After a short warming-up, the fitness instructor shows the client how to perform the exercises (as displayed on the schedule). Thereafter the fitness instructor determines the clients’ personal settings, such as seat height and the resistance. Proper execution of the exercise is important, which is why the fitness instructor gives instructions and tips during the training.

With a startup schedule, beginners who train on average 2 to 3 times a week can workout independently for about 10-12 weeks. After this period, an appointment (in person at the fitness desk) can be booked for a new/follow-up training schedule. In a follow-up training schedule, for example, exercises on the fixed equipment can be combined with free weights.

Experienced Fitness Client

For advanced fitness clients, who have a fixed routine of training in the gym 3 to 4 times a week we regularly make a split training schedule. With a split training schedule the muscle groups are divided over the number of training days per week. As a result, several exercises can be done per muscle group, which often leads to better results in terms of muscle building and toning.

What is your tip for fitness beginners?

Ask if you need any help, that's what we're here for. USC Leiden works with qualified fitness instructors who are happy to share their knowledge with you. For example, if you are unsure about the correct execution of an exercise, we can help you by giving you tips on the correct technique during the execution of the exercise. In addition, it is important not to train too long with the same training schedule. Ensure sufficient variation by regularly scheduling an appointment for a follow-up schedule so that you continue to make progress.

How do you stay motivated?

'Consistency is key!' Building strength and muscle mass takes time. Working out should be fun, otherwise you won't maintain your routine. So, orient yourself, find out what you like, and choose something that suits you. If you notice that you like group classes much more, then go for it.

Why should we go to the fitness at USC Leiden?

The Fitness at USC Leiden has a very pleasant environment, great atmosphere, and there are many other students who train here. I think that we, as staff, are fairly approachable, which makes our members feel at home in the gym. If you have specific fitness goals you would like to achieve, we can help. With the right guidance, fitness can be very varied, challenging and fun, and…you can get some serious results!

Posted on 11 January 2023, at 10:22 AM

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