How to Get the Most from Personal Fitness Training

Have you ever considered using the services of a personal trainer to help you get fit? Well, I’ve been in the training business for several years and have made some important observations. Because my mission is provide you with the most valuable information I can, I’d like to suggest you read this before you spend your first dollar. You won’t be sorry.

Millions of dollars are poured every year into private sessions with personal fitness trainers and results are often limited. Sometimes women aren’t even sure what results they can expect. And they are never asked what results they want.

Often when women are asked why they want to work with a trainer, they will look somewhat puzzled. Then they will stammer, “I need someone to make sure I exercise” or “I want to get in shape”. Go one step further and ask them what results they are really after and again they are stopped dead in their tracks. It is very important that you know what you expect so that your exercise prescription can be designed with very your specific goals in mind.

Hiring a personal trainer is one of the best investments you can make if you want to get into shape.

Time and again I’ve watched women come into the gym day in and day out exercising on their own and getting absolutely no results. They are certainly committed. They are willing to spend their time and effort. But designing a fitness program is a science with countless variables and one needs knowledge to have exercise sessions be most effective—and safe.

Most women won’t ask the questions they need to ask. They simply muddle through on their own. And many do a pretty good job of muddling through. But there comes that moment when, in order to really break through and get impressive results, they need to consult a professional. After all, how many people can learn to play the piano or ski well without at some point getting expert guidance?

However, once they take the step to hire a personal fitness trainer to guide them, many clients don’t demand enough of their trainers and many trainers don’t get results for their clients. They have a nice time together chatting and catching up but it ends up being more social than sweat.

Securing the right personal fitness trainer is not always simple to do. Most women have no way of knowing who is and who isn’t a good trainer. Although the fitness industry is working hard to upgrade the image of fitness professionals, there are still plenty of practitioners around who believe that just because they know how to get themselves into shape or because they care, they are qualified to train other people.

Here are some of the potential pitfalls:

On the part of the client:

The client…

. Isn’t clear about what he/she wants to accomplish.

. Doesn’t demand the best from trainer.

. Accepts unacceptable behavior on part of trainer;

i.e.,lateness, lack of attention, no charting of sessions
to track progress, talking while client is exercising, use
of cell phones during training session, or not
planning sessions with an eye to results.

On the part of the trainer:

The trainer…

. Doesn’t ask client what they really want.

. Doesn’t customize the sessions, using boilerplate workouts.

. Doesn’t set goals with the client.

. Doesn’t dress appropriately.

. Doesn’t hold the client accountable, accepting unacceptable client behavior; i.e., cancellations, lateness, no-shows.

. Doesn’t keep his/her eye on the client during the session.

. Accepts less than perfect form.

. Doesn’t continually instruct client.

. Doesn’t educate client.

Getting the Client/Trainer Relationship You Want

There are several ways in which you can assure yourself that you are selecting the trainer who suits your needs. Here are some guidelines:

Chemistry

Not every trainer and client are suited to one another.

The first thing you need to do is make a few decisions before you interview even the first trainer. Do you want someone who is “tough” like a drill sergeant or does a gentler type of coaching appeal to you? Do you want someone young or someone more mature? Do you feel more comfortable working with a man or a woman? If you have a preference, for goodness sake, don’t waste your time talking to anyone else. You need to feel comfortable with the person you select. You end up spending a great deal of time together. You need to find someone you can trust. After all, you are going to have to be willing to surrender to their coaching so you need to feel that whatever they are suggesting is in your best interest.

Philosophy

What is their training philosophy? How do they work with clients? How do they feel about what they do? Do they take their work seriously? Are they committed to fitness as a career? Are they ongoingly engaging in educating themselves about the most current developments and techniques in fitness? As in any discipline, research is always being done that produces new insights into the most effective ways to get results and, if they are truly committed to their chosen profession, they will want to find the most valuable information.

Specialty

There are trainers who are most effective with athletes; some work well with seniors, some with disabilities, some with pregnant women.

You need to know what you are looking for. What kind of trainer do you want? If you are a 50-year-old woman and hire a trainer who is interested in working with youthful body builders, you will surely be disappointed with your training sessions.

Credentials

You want to find out what degrees and/or certifications they have. I don’t mean to suggest that there aren’t terrific trainers who don’t have the best credentials, but the quality of the education is a pretty good indicator of their dedication to stretching themselves. They aren’t willing to slip by with the most minimum of training. And are they continuing to educate themselves and keep up with the latest training techniques?

Referrals

Ask for referrals. How do their current and past clients feel about them?

A few other important items

Do they have hours flexible enough to accommodate your schedule? They need to accommodate you; you don’t need to accommodate them.

Notice their personal appearance. Are they neat, clean, well groomed? Do they take pride in their appearance? A word of warning here. If you notice that the trainer is more interested in looking at him/herself in the mirror than watching you, you need to find someone else. His/her attention should be on you at all times.

Are they reliable and prompt? Were they on time for the interview? After all, you are going to be paying them for their time so they need to be there when they scheduled you.

And you’re not off the hook. Once you have made the commitment to personal training and have a found a trainer with whom you want to work, there are a few rules to which you need to adhere . . .. if you want to get the most out of your personal training.

You need to be on time for your training sessions.

You need to make your fitness a priority. Canceling sessions frequently displays a lack of commitment to the program. Consistency is important.

If canceling is unavoidable, you need to give your trainer sufficient notice. After all, it is their business and what they sell is their time.

You need to follow the trainer’s instructions given without whining. After all, you’ve put your trust in them.

You need to let your trainer know if you are having a physical problem. That will allow them to make intelligent decisions about your workout session. Don’t assume it doesn’t matter.

You need to do your best.

If you remember everything you’ve read here and then put it into practice, you will surely have a very positive and productive fitness training experience.

Marilyn is a successful exercise/nutrition trainer and coach who works with women who are 50 . Her website fitandfabulouswoman.com fitandfabulouswoman.com provides fitness information, fitness products, fitness services, fitness advice and on-line personal training that support mature women in being their best…one-stop shopping for a healthy body, a clear mind and a soaring spirit.

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