We’re just three weeks into the new year, but, sadly, a lot of folks have already given up on their resolve to get fit.
Sometimes we set goals that are too optimistic, and ultimately demoralizing. Sometimes we overdo it and get injured – and discouraged – right away. Soemtimes we make our workouts so humdrum that we get bored and lose all motivation.
Who can help? Well, a personal trainer may be the answer. A good trainer is an expert in the field of fitness. He or she spends years in school, in sports and in the gym learning what makes an effective exercise program.
But how do you find the trainer who can help you achieve your desired level of fitness? The ideal way is to ask a close friend who has similar goals to yours and has had great results with a trainer. Otherwise it’s a good idea to talk to a fitness consultant at your gym to help you find the trainer who will best suit you and your needs.
If you have specific health concerns, such as low back pain, a history of orthopedic injuries, heart disease or diabetes, find out which trainer has experience with these issues.
The relationship between trainer and client is an intimate one. You’re dealing with sensitive issues of body perception, weight, nutrition and exercise.
An extensive interview is recommended. It’s also helpful to watch the trainer working with someone in the gym. Do you want your body to look like the trainer’s other clients’? Or do they look like a Schwarzenegger when you would rather look like Pitt? What do you want to emphasize: cardio, balance or strength?
Listening is a key quality in a trainer. If the trainer is more interested in telling you what he or she knows than in listening to your needs and goals, that’s a red flag.
If you have a health history that might affect your workouts, discuss it up front. Ask the trainer to contact your doctor or physical therapist for guidance and recommendations. If you’re just beginning an exercise program, it’s important to get clearance from your doctor.
Ask the trainer about their personal experiences. If they have sustained injuries similar to yours, and have lived with the pain, they may have more compassion and understanding.
Professional certifications can tell you a lot about a personal trainer’s level of expertise. Tomorrow we’ll address some of the certifications to ask for, as well as some things to watch out for when choosing a personal trainer.
– Paula Rath