There are a lot of reasons why people of all ages would choose to work with a trainer. First and foremost is so that they learn the proper technique of each exercise. How often have I been in a gym and seen unbelievably bad lifting and exercise techniques? A trainer can help you learn safe and effective ways of training that will get you the results you want faster, easier and safer than if you just watch what everyone else is doing in the gym and try to copy them. Believe me, most of them don’t know what they are doing, either.
The second reason working with a trainer is a good idea is that a trainer has the education to select the correct exercises, the correct number of repetitions and sets of those exercises and even the correct number of exercises for you to perform in each session according to your goals, your needs, your condition and your focus. Without an expert to assist you in choosing the right mix, you may again be wasting a lot of time and energy doing things that are either not effective or not right for you.
A trainer will upgrade your program as you improve and as your fitness level increases. You also will want a change after a while so your routine doesn’t become boring. A good trainer will have a large repertoire of exercises and variations of exercises in order to keep you on the cutting edge as well as interested.
You can’t just keep doing the same old exercise routine and expect to stay in shape. You must up the ante in order maintain good strength, balance, coordination, flexibility and optimal lean body mass. We acclimatize to whatever we do, so in order to improve we must make meaningful adjustments to the program.
Anyone can slam on more weights to make a program harder. A trainer will have different exercises, different ways of doing the exercise, ways of varying the types of programs and ways of supersetting exercises so that you improve. Adding more weight is, most times, the last change you would make, unless you are planning to compete in powerlifting.
A personal fitness trainer cannot provide you with motivation — only you can do that. They will provide you with incentive — you will keep the appointment with them, because you have made an appointment. Also, you will hopefully develop a rapport with your trainer so that you enjoy working out with them and having them there as your coach. A skillful trainer will periodically remeasure you so you can track your successes. They will provide you with tracking devices to chart your workouts, and they will provide you with positive re-enforcement for your continued efforts.
Trainers help you stay on track. Starting an exercise program is easy. Staying with it is a lot more challenging, especially if you don’t see results right away. Working with a trainer will help you see results faster and easier.
A trainer should be certified and educated. They also must be experienced. It is best if they not only have a degree in exercise sciences, but also are certified by a national certifying body. If you have special needs, ask if they have experience in helping people with those needs. Not all trainers know about nutrition, so ask if they have education in nutrition. Also ask what types of exercises they employ. Do they have a wide range of modalities from which to choose, or do they just know about lifting weights and using machines?
• Jane Riley, certified personal trainer, B.A., C.P.T, C.N.A., can be reached at 212-1451 or www.janerileyfitness.com.