NATIONAL PERSONAL TRAINER AWARENESS DAY
One of the most common New Years resolutions is to “get into shape,” “eat better and work out more,” “to get fit and get healthy.” These intentions make it one of the busiest times for personal trainers across the country. Each year on January 2, we acknowledge these personal trainers as we celebrate National Personal Trainer Awareness Day.
National Personal Trainer Awareness Day was designed to remind people that professionals are available to help make their promises from their resolutions, a reality. Personal trainers play a major role in helping people throughout their journey in achieving their goal.
5 TIPS TO FINDING THE RIGHT PERSONAL TRAINER FOR YOU!
Are you finding that you are losing motivation for working out? Well hiring a trainer to help take your workouts to a whole new level might just be the answer! If you’re going to spend the money on yourself, then you’ll want to find a trainer who is a perfect fit for you.
Take a little time to shop around for one who will best meet your unique fitness abilities and goals. Think of it the same way you would select a financial planner — you wouldn’t entrust your financial wealth to just anyone with a certification, so why do something similar with your health?
Here are five things to ask yourself and your prospective trainers as you go through the process:
FITNESS GOALS! WHAT ARE YOURS?
The best trainer in the world can’t help you reach your health and fitness goals if you don’t know what they are or if they are vague. To help you set attainable goals, adhere to the SMART strategy. (SMART is an acronym for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Timely.)
Make your fitness goals habit-based rather than outcome-based. A habit-based goal would be something like, “I want to exercise for 30 minutes at least five days per week,” while an outcome-based goal would be something like, “I want to lose 15 pounds.”
Be a bit suspicious of the fitness professional who smiles and says you can do anything.
It is entirely possible that you may lose 15 pounds if you exercise for at least 30 minutes at least five days per week, but if you judge your success according to the numbers on the scale, you open yourself up to self-sabotage. By focusing on the healthy habits themselves, and not the desired outcomes of those habits, you’re much more likely to make those habits permanent. Trust me when I say that those desired outcomes will happen. You just have to be patient and persistent.
HOW DOES YOUR BODY FEEL?
Once you know your goals, you can start looking at different trainers. One of the first things a trainer should do is ask you a series of questions about your personal and family health history, your history of injury and any other physical limitations you may have. Now is not the time to paint too rosy a picture of yourself. Be overly cautious here, and don’t hold back any information. Doing so could cause even a very good trainer to set you up with a program that puts you at physical risk.
Based on the information you provide, a good trainer will then be able to give you an assessment of whether your stated goals are realistic within the time frame you’ve set. You may need to modify your goals or your time frame, and that wouldn’t be unusual.
WHERE DID THEY LEARN THEIR STUFF?
It’s sad to say, but nearly anyone willing to pay the fee to an online organization can call themselves a personal trainer. Some states are advancing efforts to require certification of fitness professionals, but overwhelmingly, the industry is unregulated by government.
This does not mean, however, that the industry isn’t regulated at all. There are a number of certifying organizations accredited by the National Commission of Certifying Agencies. Certification means the organization meets established criteria and complies with best practices within the industry. A few of those organizations are also accredited by both the Coalition of the Registration of Health Professionals and the European Health and Fitness Association. You can use the American Council on Exercise’s online tool to view a comparison of different certification organizations. In addition to professional certification, many fitness professionals also have associate or bachelor or master’s degrees in fitness-related fields, like exercise science, kinesiology or sports science.
Once you’ve determined that a trainer has met the education requirement, you’ll want to ask some questions about their experience. Because adults 50 and over have unique fitness and health concerns, it’s a good idea to find a trainer with some specialized training and experience in working with older adults. As part of a fitness professional’s recertification, he or she will need to complete continuing education courses. Look for a trainer who has selected courses relevant to your particular goals and needs or completed a round of specialization courses. A specialization in Senior Fitness, Functional Training or Orthopedic Exercise means the trainer has completed the extensive additional study in areas that may be particularly relevant to your needs.
DO YOU CLICK?
A great trainer will be professional but friendly, and possess the ability to communicate complex concepts and instructions in a way you can understand. Fun is part of my personal values – so I will always make sure that the sessions are upbeat and full of smiles!
LET’S TALK MONEY
When shopping for a trainer, don’t merely compare prices based on the stated hourly rate. Find out whether a trainer offers package deals, discounts or lower-cost small group sessions. If you can talk your spouse or a friend into getting trained, too, you may be able to cut the cost per person by as much as half.
Also, try to get a sense upfront about how many times per week the trainer recommends seeing you and how many weeks it should take to reach your goals. This will depend in part on how diligent you are at working out on your own between sessions, but a trainer should ask you that before recommending that you meet three times a week.
Finding the right trainer can take some time and work on your part, but when you do, it will be so worth it! And – if you are interested in doing some in person or virtual training with me I do have some openings!
Move your body, put good things in, and ENJOY every day!
The 12 Biggest Myths About Personal Training
It’s time to set the record straight: Personal training is at the forefront of preventative care — exercise is medicine after all — yet the elitist gap between the general public and fitness industry seems to be widening. This disconnect is unfortunate because trainers are really there to help. In an attempt to bridge the gap, these are the 12 biggest myths about personal training.
1 TRAINERS KNOW IT ALL
The truth is that trainers get tricked into emptying their wallets just as much as the clients they serve. While they have at least one or two tried-and-true methods, they’re also tweaking and testing new programs and exercises. When you ask yours a question about a new workout fad, pill or supplement — even if he’s heard of it — he might not have had a chance to read the research surrounding its effectiveness (if it exists). It’s impossible to keep up to date with everything. What’s most important is to find a trainer you trust and follow his or her guidance.
2 ALL TRAINERS HAVE SIX-PACK ABS
Most trainers are human beings who don’t eat broccoli and plain chicken exclusively. They indulge in an extra piece of cake, occasionally skip a workout and sleep in. Don’t judge trainers solely on their appearances, because you might not be willing to do what they do, and even if you are, every body is different. Case in point: Tiger Woods has a golf coach, and he’s not a better golfer than Tiger Woods. An expert has taken the time to study the craft, and the best trainers have a deep understanding of how the body works. Just because somebody has abs, doesn’t mean that she can help you get them for yourself.
3 TRAINERS ARE PAID A SALARY
It’s rare to find a trainer on a salary. Most get paid as they work. Also, in many gyms (especially large commercial gyms), there’s a lot of pressure to hit sales targets. This means many trainers view the job in the wrong light. The best way to get and retain clients was, and always will be, to do a great job. But when a client cancels last minute and the trainer doesn’t get paid, the job becomes stressful to the point where it’s impossible to serve our clients. Even though you’re paying for an hour session, recognize that at least an hour of preparation time has been put into that session in designing the program, scheduling, and researching.
4 TRAINERS LOVE TO SEE YOU IN PAIN
To get stronger and look better, you don’t always need to be sore, and it’s not (or at least shouldn’t be) your trainer’s goal. Delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) occurs when you use muscles you haven’t used before or in a different way than you’re used to. That might also be helping you build muscle, but the pain isn’t mandatory. Truth is, the more intense the pain, the fewer high-intensity training sessions you can do. Hypertrophy (muscle gain) occurs in three primary ways: mechanical stress, metabolic stress, and muscle damage. A good trainer monitors your soreness because it’s an indicator of how your recovery mechanisms are working.
5 A TRAINER’S JOB IS TO HELP YOU LOSE WEIGHT
While losing weight and getting fitter, are admirable goals, they’re not SMART goals (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Timely). Without these components, you’re likely to flounder in your attempt. A trainer helps you make SMART goals. A goal of losing 10 pounds always should have a deeper reason. Whether it’s to fit back into your favorite outfit, look better naked, impress your in-laws or set a better example for your kids, ask yourself why you want to lose weight. Sticking to an exercise program is hard work. There are times when you’ll want to quit, especially in the beginning. Without understanding your why, you’ll have a harder time sticking to achieving your goal.
6 YOU HAVE TO CONFUSE YOUR MUSCLES
Keeping the body guessing isn’t a good way to get fit. A trainer doesn’t need to teach you something new every day — they need to teach you how to do something better. All of the most important movements you can do in the gym should come naturally. Perhaps you still know how to perform them or maybe your body has forgotten over years of inactivity. Either way, what’s most important is learning how to generate as much tension throughout a proper movement as possible. Trainers don’t need to teach fancy new exercises. Instead, they should focus on teaching you how you should be feeling throughout a movement. Form and consistency are fundamental.
7 HIRING A TRAINER IS ENOUGH
Most trainers don’t go into the business to get rich. Most trainers had their lives changed by finding fitness and made it their goal to spread that passion. Because of this, trainers get frustrated when their clients don’t do their homework and adhere to a prescribed nutrition and workout plan. Your success is their success — both personally and financially. So if something is wrong and you don’t like the program or you’re not seeing the results you want, speak up. If not, get it done. Even if you work out with a trainer three times a week, there are still 165 hours a week that you’re on your own.
8 YOU NEED TO WORK YOURSELF UP TO THE GYM
Please stop thinking this! Personal trainers are trained to work with people at all levels. Some specialize in working with people new to training, while others focus on the advanced. In either case, they’re there to help. The gym is meant to be a place where everybody is welcome, and if you’re not comfortable for any reason, let your trainer know. You might be nervous stepping into a gym for the first time, but there’s no better time than the present. If you don’t feel comfortable in the gym you’re using, change locations and find one you enjoy. Building a community with other exercisers is a great motivation to stick with your regimen.
9 TRAINERS ALSO SUPPLY AN INTRICATE NUTRITION PLAN
This is a bit of a sticky subject, and the rules change depending on where you live. In most places in North America, trainers may advise you on nutrition as long as that advice doesn’t extend beyond government guidelines. That said, few trainers have an adequate background in nutrition. A trainer may be knowledgeable if your situation mimics her own, but trainers often don’t know what the proper guidelines are for you. There are exceptions, but a trainer’s job is primarily to create your workout routine. If you’re looking for in-depth nutrition guidance, there are professionals — such as registered dietitians — who can work in tandem with your trainer.
10 A PERFECT WORKOUT IS AN HOUR LONG
Most personal trainers hate the one-hour session. Workout protocols change depending on the goal of the session. A fast-paced metabolic workout might only require 30 to 40 minutes, while an intense hypertrophy (muscle gain) workout could be as long as 90 minutes. If a trainer ends a session in 50 minutes, it’s not because he’s slacking, but because that was the optimal time to accomplish the goals of that session. Trainers have to maintain a schedule and because of that, they stick to charging for either 30 minutes or an hour. Think of it this way: You’re not paying for an hour of the trainer’s time; you’re paying for the accumulated knowledge that the trainer has spent years acquiring.
11 THE WORKOUT IS THE MOST IMPORTANT PART
If it feels like you’ve hired a trainer to give you 10 exercises and stand over you while you sweat to make sure that you count properly, you’re getting ripped off. Requirements for an exercise program are basic for most beginners. A trainer’s job, first and foremost, is to get you to want to do the program and the workouts. It’s our job to get you comfortable, confident and looking forward to coming into the gym. Hopefully, he knows how to count, too.
12 YOU HAVE TO TRAIN IN PERSON
With the advances in technology, more trainers are taking their services partially online. There are four main reasons why online training is great for the client: First, it’s often cheaper. Training one-on-one can get costly very quickly. Second, it’s independent of location. If you live in a remote area where there isn’t a gym or you’re not confident in the abilities of the trainers close to you, this is a good option. Third, matching your schedule with your trainer’s schedule can be a pain. Training online helps avoid the problem. Finally, online training allows you to research and find an expert in dealing with your specific goals.
May 2018 be your Fittest Year Yet! Happy New You, from Hernando Connects.