September 30, 2009
What can a personal trainer do for me?
Quite a number of things actually. Working with a certified personal trainer has the following advantages-
- Customized programming- No cookie cutting here. A knowledgeable personal trainer will create a customized exercise program for you, designed to help you reach your unique health and fitness goals. A trainer will also take into account special considerations (e.g. existing medical condition, pregnancy, post-rehabilitation, medications taken, etc) when creating a program exclusively for you.
- Correct technique- When exercising, safety is the number one priority. A personal trainer will teach you the proper mechanics of each exercise and will ensure that you are performing each with correct form, thus maximizing the efficiency of your workouts.
- Enhance motivation- Who wouldn’t like a little extra motivation? Having a scheduled session with a trainer promotes accountability on your part, and can assist in developing adherence in the long run to making exercise a regular part of your routine. In addition to the outside motivation, a personal trainer can also help you develop a more positive outlook on exercise by exploring options for making exercise more enjoyable, reviewing short-term progress towards goals, and assessing feeling- and mood-state changes related to exercise, thereby improving self-confidence and self-motivation.
- Alleviate boredom- Believe it or not, exercising can be fun! A personal trainer can help you select activities that you enjoy, and also choose exercises that will keep you challenged and on track towards reaching your fitness goals. Personal trainers have vast knowledge of various exercises, tools and techniques that can make your workouts both fun and effective.
What can I expect during my initial training session?
During your initial meeting with a trainer, he or she will begin the process of getting to know you, in terms of your health and fitness goals, your health and exercise history, as well as your likes and dislikes. It is this information along with your trainer’s expertise and experience that will assist them in developing a customized program for you. Depending on your fitness goals, your trainer may administer a variety of assessments during the initial session, or may reserve some assessments until a point in your program that is more appropriate. The assessments that are ultimately selected are done so in line with your fitness goals, and are used to establish a baseline for progress comparison further down the road. Assessments are also used to gauge your current level of fitness, which can assist the trainer in developing your customized program (in terms of selecting proper exercise intensity, appropriate weight for strength training exercises, etc) and meeting your health and fitness needs. Examples of assessments that may be conducted include body composition assessments, movement screens and postural assessments.
How many times a week do I have to meet with a trainer?
Just like the program itself, how many times you meet with a trainer is a very individualized decision that depends on a variety of factors, including your fitness goals and your motivation level. Keep in mind that the ultimate goal of a quality personal trainer is to promote self-efficacy within the client, enabling them to take ownership of their exercise experience. It is for this reason that a good trainer will seek to truly educate clients (about things such as proper form, appropriate intensity, ways to stay motivated, ways to progress, etc) as opposed to just simply putting clients through a workout without having them understand the rationale as to why certain exercises were selected, and how the developed program relates back to their health and fitness goals.
How do I know which trainer is right for me?
It is important to note that not all trainers are created equal. When in comes to selecting the right personal trainer for you do some research and don’t be afraid to ask questions. Remember that it is your body and also your time and money. Choosing the right personal trainer ensures that you will receive the most from your training sessions and also that you will enjoy the experience. Keep in mind that an investment in the right personal trainer is an investment in your health and your success.
Ready to get started? Find an ACE-certified personal trainer in your area.
Jessica Matthews, MS, E-RYTContributor
Jessica Matthews, M.S., E-RYT is assistant professor of exercise science at Miramar College. As a leading fitness expert, writer and educator Jessica is a regular contributor to numerous publications, including Shape and Oprah.com. She holds a B.S. in physical education teacher education from Coastal Carolina University and M.S. in physical education from Canisius College. She is a certified Personal Trainer, Group Fitness Instructor and Health Coach through the American Council on Exercise (ACE) as well as an Experienced Registered Yoga Teacher (E-RYT) through Yoga Alliance and trained stand-up paddleboard (SUP) yoga instructor. Prior to teaching at Miramar, Jessica worked full-time ACE, serving in a number of key roles including exercise physiologist, certification director and senior health and fitness editor. Her past work also includes serving as aquatics director at Conway Medical Wellness and Fitness Center and designing health and physical education curriculum for grades K-12. Full Bio Jessica Matthews »