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- Lifts your mood
- Improves learning abilities
- Builds self-esteem
- Keeps your brain fit
- Keeps your body fit & able
- Boosts mental health
- Boosts your immune system
- Reduces stress
- Makes you feel happier
- Has anti-aging effects
- Improves skin tone and colour
- Improves sleeping patterns
- Helps prevent strokes
- Improves join function
- Improves muscle strength
- Alleviates anxiety
- Sharpens memory
- Helps to control addictions
- Boosts productivity
- Boosts creative thinking
- Improves body image
- Gives you confidence
- Helps you keep focused in life
- Improves eating habits
- Increases longevity
- Strengthens your bones
- Strengthens your heart
- Improves posture
- Prevents colds
- Improves appetite
- Improves cholesterol levels
- Lowers risk of (certain) cancers
- Lowers high blood pressure
- Lowers risk of diabetes
- Fights dementia
- Eases back pain
- Decreases osteoporosis risk
- Reduces feelings of depression
- Prevents muscle loss
- Increases energy and endurance
- Increases sports performance
- Increases pain resistance
- Improves balance and coordination
- Improves oxygen supply to cells
- Improves concentration
- Helps with self-control
- Lessens fatigue
- Increases sex drive & satisfaction
- Makes life more exciting
- Improves Quality of Life
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Sometimes it can feel nearly impossible to get yourself in shape, which is why personal trainers are so helpful. Not only do they give you that extra push, but you also get the benefits of their expert knowledge and experience. Even with their guidance, however, your efforts will be in vain if you aren’t following the right diet and fitness regimen for you. To find out exactly how you can improve your fitness routine, WD spoke with top-notch personal trainers for their secrets to getting the most out of your workout and living an overall healthier life.
1. Set realistic goals and be confident.
Before starting your path to a healthier lifestyle, it’s important to be realistic about how much time you have for the results you want, and how you can achieve them. Colleen Faltus, private trainer at The Sports Club/LA in Boston, suggests compiling “a list of both short- and long-term goals. This will keep you motivated to accomplish and surpass them; it will give you focus and add some variety to your workout.” Another trick to staying focused? Be confident! Trainer Bill Trimble, founder of the workout program Extreme Bill Trimble, says, “if you’re not confident and determined you can achieve your goals, you won’t. Make sure you try to stay positive and keep your head up, even on those rough days.”
2. Get specific about what you want to achieve.
Although you may think your trainer will automatically know what you want, that isn’t the case. Trimble says telling your trainer exactly what your goals are is the key to success. A weight-loss plan, for instance, will be different from a plan for someone trying to build muscle. Your trainer will design a routine based on your individual needs and lifestyle, so letting him or her know exactly what you want up front will help you get the most out of the experience.
3. Have fun!
“Working out should be enjoyable. Your personal trainer is there to push you a little bit, but not intimidate,” says Trimble. During your initial consultation, talk with your trainer about activities you enjoy, your schedule and exercises you don’t particularly like. This way, he or she can devise a routine you’ll love. Another key factor to having fun is variation. “Incorporating other elements of fitness besides cardio will increase the likelihood of faster and more efficient weight loss,” explains Faltus. Another plus? You’re less likely to become bored if you try new things.
4. Performing each exercise correctly is imperative, so watch your form.
To achieve the best possible results and stay injury-free, follow your trainer’s instructions about proper form. This is especially important if you’re doing an at-home workout on your own. “Model the video or demonstration exactly, paying special attention to the trainer’s breathing technique and form,” Trimble urges.
5. You should begin to see results within 12 weeks.
Depending on your workout plan, the three-month mark can be a good indicator of how you’re doing. “In about 90 days, you should be able to notice results—whether it be that your jeans are a little looser, your quality of sleep is better or you just feel good all around,” Trimble says. Many people lose motivation if they don’t see results sooner, but you’re changing your physique, so 12 weeks is about how long it will take before your workouts begin building lean muscle.
6. Communication is the key to success.
As with any relationship, communication is vital when it comes to a healthy and happy experience. Faltus recommends giving your trainer feedback about how you are or aren’t liking the exercises, what is or isn’t working and anything else that’s on your mind. Most often, your trainer will check in with you before and after the workout. So use the opportunity to talk! “You know your body better than anyone else, so speak up at each session and your experience will be that much more enjoyable and exciting,” Faltus says.
7. You’re going to have bad days.
“You’re going to fall off the wagon and have off days at some point,” says Trimble. “But get right back up and begin again without getting discouraged.” The biggest problem trainers see in their clients is that their emotional confidence starts to dwindle when something goes wrong. “You have to believe in yourself and [believe] you can do it,” Trimble says. So, if you splurge on your eating one weekend, don’t beat yourself up—just give it your all during your Monday workout session.
8. If you don’t have a trainer, you can still stay motivated.
On those mornings when you just can’t get yourself out of bed, it’d be pretty nice to have a trainer waiting for you at the gym. But you don’t need a trainer if you know how to find motivation elsewhere. For one thing, Trimble recommends working out with a partner for extra encouragement. He also suggests choosing a fun workout so you’ll look forward to it. “These days, so many programs are easily accessible, such as at-home boot camp workouts, circuit training, online videos and specific plans such as the P90X workout.” And perhaps most important, be consistent. If you exercise on the same days every week, not only can you schedule around your workout, but you’ll be more likely not to miss it.
9. You have to eat right, too.
Personal trainers aren’t miracle workers, so after you leave the gym, make sure you follow the diet plan you’ve established for yourself (or with the help of a dietician). One way Trimble helps his clients eat right is by encouraging them to keep a food journal. “Nutrition can be a problem, so writing it down and being able to look at it with my clients is helpful,” he says. Not only will you be able to discuss what you’re eating with your trainer, but you’ll also become more aware of your food choices—and rethink that second piece of cake! One way Faltus suggests you start a good nutrition plan? Let yourself cheat. “Eating balanced meals filled with fruits, vegetables, grains and protein will prove successful in the long run. But remember to give yourself a ‘cheat’ nutrition day on the weekends.”
10. You’re probably not getting enough sleep.
“Lack of sleep causes a decrease in energy and motivation to accomplish both short- and long-term goals.” Not only are proper sleeping habits important for you mentally, but if you don’t rest your muscles properly before and after a good workout, you risk injury. Faltus says to “adjust your sleep schedule and get both quality sleep and a decent quantity of sleep. You’ll notice the difference in your overall performance, and your muscles will thank you too.” For some tips on how you can destress and unwind before bed to sleep better, click here.
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In every field, there will be a few different ways of doing things. Although other careers will have people doing things differently, all with the end result being positive, there are some things a personal trainer really shouldn’t ever do. When it comes to being a Personal Trainer, some things are non-negotiable as they can lead to injuries, bad experiences for clients and eventually, the loss of a client base for your business. Australian Institute of Fitness Victoria Fitness Coach, Christopher Meggyesy, lays down the 5 things a great Personal Trainer would never be caught doing.
1. LOSE FOCUS
A great personal trainer’s client focus doesn’t ever waiver. There are some Personal Trainers out there that remind me of Dory from Finding Nemo; very easily distracted. Your clients are paying for YOUR time. From the moment you greet your 10:30 client to the moment they leave, the great PT is 100% about their training. Whether it’s fixing technique, handing their client a water bottle, or just being the motivation they need, it’s all about your client. Whoever it is that just walked in the gym, they can wait. If you’re a personal trainer and you are constantly getting tied up with other things, checking your phone or chatting with other people during a client’s session, you may find some clients parting ways with you and finding someone new.
2. DOESN’T PROGRAM
The great PT will have every moment of the training session accounted for prior to beginning the session. It’s pretty obvious when the PT is umming and ahing about what’s next for the client, they’re winging it. A PT should know what is happening at each minute, what will be covered and how to get the best workout completed specific to the client within the time they have booked with them. If a PT seems to be lost, chances are they aren’t really sure of what the client needs in order for them to reach their goals. Remember, those who fail to plan, plan to fail.
3. TRAIN EVERY CLIENT THE SAME WAY
Every client is different, aren’t they? They have each got their own little quirks, health concerns, and movement deficiencies. So why are there so many cookie cutter programs out there? Each program should be tailored to the client’s needs, that’s part of what your client is paying you for. One of the first things a personal trainer should be doing within the first session is asking what a client’s needs and wants are, what their goals are, what they hope to achieve and also ask about the client’s past history with exercise. A PT should understand completely what a client is capable of doing (and not doing) and working on the areas they wish to work on in order to achieve their goals. Because everyone has different goals, everyone’s session should look and feel different.
4. LOOKS AT THEIR PHONE
iPhones, Android phones, Windows phones, even your old Nokia! No matter what the brand, having one in your hand while you’re taking a session, regardless of the intention, just looks like a distraction. You may very well be timing your client with your stopwatch app, but to the outside world and any future clients that may see your session, they can’t tell the difference between timing a client, and swiping right on Tinder. Clients are paying for the time and attention of a trainer for a reason. The best PT’s should ditch their phone for the whole session and their focus directly on the client at all times.
5. DOESN’T WALK THE TALK
Let’s face it, you are your own brand. Prospective clients start forming opinions about you the second they see you. In that first second, how are you marketing yourself? That first second might come when you turn up for your 5:30am client on a Monday morning, and a brand new member to the gym sees you as you walk in the door. Do you look (and smell) like you just rolled out of bed, or do you look clean, neat and tidy with an awesome smile? Ask yourself, who are you more likely to hand over your hard money earned to? Someone who looks and acts like a professional, or the slob that just rolled out of bed? Feeling and looking fit and healthy is going to also rub off on the client’s. A client is going to feel more motivated to get up early and get a great workout completed if their PT looks like they’ve already completed it and are now feeling (and looking) fantastic.
A trainer should be there to help, motivate, assist when needed and provide the right training and fitness advice possible for each and every client. Getting to know a client is a must-have and being able to provide the right workout for each client is a necessity. If you’re a PT and you find yourself doing some of the above things, it may be time to step back and take a look at your role and look at ways you can address them and help your clients to reach their full potential once more. If you’re a client and are noticing some of these “red flags” with your own trainer, it may be time to take a look at other trainers in the area who may be able to help you succeed.
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Exercise makes you happier than having money, according to Yale and Oxford research.
- Researchers at Yale and Oxford may have proven exercise is more important to your mental health than your economic status.
- The scientists found that, while those who exercised regularly tended to feel bad for around 18 days a year, non-active participants felt bad for 35 days more on average.
- The team also noticed that certain sports that involve socializing can have more of a positive effect on your mental health than others.
It’s clear exercise has health benefits both physical and mental — but what if we could actually prove it was more important to your mental health than your economic status?
According to a study carried out by researchers at Yale and Oxford, we may have done just that.
In the study, published in The Lancet, scientists collected data about the physical behavior and mental mood of over 1.2 million Americans.
Participants were asked to answer the following question: “How many times have you felt mentally unwell in the past 30 days, for example, due to stress, depression, or emotional problems?”
The participants were also asked about their income and physical activities. They were able to choose from 75 types of physical activity — from lawn-mowing, childcare, and housework to weight lifting, cycling, and running.
Those who keep more active tend to be happier overall
The scientists found that, while those who exercised regularly tended to feel bad for around 18 days a year, non-active participants felt bad for 35 days more on average.
In addition, the researchers found that physically active people feel just as good as those who don’t do sports, but who earn around $25,000 more a year.
Essentially, you’d have to earn quite a lot more for your earnings to give you the same happiness-boosting effect sport has.
That doesn’t mean, however, that the more sport you do, the happier you are.
Too much exercise can be detrimental to your mental health
Exercise is clearly good for you but how much is too much?
“The relationship between sport duration and mental load is U-shaped,” said study author Adam Chekroud of Yale University in an interview with Die Welt. The study found that physical activity only contributes to better mental well-being when it falls within a certain time frame.
According to the study, three to five training sessions each lasting between 30 to 60 minutes per week is ideal.
More than this, however, can have the opposite effect — in fact, the mental health of those participants who exercised for longer than three hours a day suffered more than that of those who weren’t particularly physically active.
The scientists also noticed that certain sports that involve socializing — i.e. team sports — can have more of a positive effect on your mental health than others.
Despite the fact that neither cycling nor aerobics and fitness technically counts as team sports, these activities can also have a considerable positive effect on your mental health.
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From helping you reach your fitness goals to figuring out how to exercise safely with a chronic condition, learn the top 10 benefits of personal training and why it could be one of the best investments you’ll make in your overall health and well-being.
Most of us work harder in the presence of others. Having a trainer by your side can provide the encouragement, energy and motivation you need to jumpstart your routine. A trainer can also help you set goals, create a plan to accomplish them and celebrate the day you reach them.
Do you find it difficult to stick with a program or habit? A trainer can hold you accountable and help you overcome all the excuses you might use to avoid your commitment to exercise. It’s a lot harder to skip the gym when you know someone is waiting for you.
Fitness can be confusing. There is a lot of information to sort through. Eat this, not that. Cardio before or after strength training? Your trainer can help you find credible information and provide direction on your fitness journey. A trainer can help remove the guesswork so you can put all your energy toward accomplishing your goals.
The gym can be intimidating. Working with a trainer allows you to become confident with how to perform exercises, use machines and navigate the facility. After a few sessions, you will feel ready to tackle the weight room on your own. Even better, an ego boost during exercise can promote stronger self-confidence and self-efficacy, which can help you stick with your exercise program over the long term.
5. Avoid Injury
If you are new to exercise or find that some movements are painful, it is worth hiring a trainer to be certain that you are moving in a safe and effective way. Taking the time to learn proper exercise technique can improve your results and prevent annoying injuries.
6. Individual Attention
When it comes to fitness, everyone is different. Your unique body mechanics, experience, goals, fitness level, likes and dislikes can guide your trainer in creating a plan that is specific to your needs. With a program that fits, you are more likely to maintain the habit and see results.
7. Sport-specific Training
Do you want to run your first 5K or prepare for a backpacking trip? Looking to shave some strokes off your golf game? Your trainer can design a fitness program specific to your sport, which will improve your performance and reduce your chance of injury during the event(s).
8. Training With Medical Conditions
Exercise is beneficial for preventing or managing many common chronic conditions such as diabetes, heart disease and hypertension. However, exercising with a medical condition requires additional precautions. A knowledgeable trainer with experience training clients with chronic conditions can design a program that ensures your safety and provides a positive exercise experience.
9. Aging Gracefully
Our bodies change as we age. Perhaps the exercises you used to do no longer work with your body, or maybe you’ve stopped seeing results. A trainer can help you adjust or adapt your program as you age, which will allow you to maintain functionality and strength.
Believe it or not, exercise can be enjoyable. A savvy personal trainer can make exercise both effective and fun. Group or buddy training can be a great way to increase enjoyment, make exercise social and attain the services of a trainer for a cheaper rate. And simply working with a trainer who you like and respect can be enough to provide you with more gratification from your workouts.
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Though personal training is more mainstream than ever, there are still plenty of people hesitant to hire a trainer. They worry about the cost, they worry about the pain and they wonder things like: Will I look like a complete idiot? Is my trainer going to torture me? These fears are normal, but you shouldn’t let them stop you from hiring a personal trainer. Learn more about the most common fears and how you can get over them.
- It costs too much
Personal training can be expensive, costing anywhere from $30 an hour to more than $100, depending on where you live and your trainer’s experience. Yes, it costs, but there are plenty of reasons to hire one and it can be a good investment. If you end up with an exercise habit, long-term weight loss and a resource you can turn to for advice, that’s a pretty good pay off.
If budget is an issue, consider these options:
- Semi-Private Training – With this, you may train with around 2-5 people in a very small group setting, often in a circuit training format.
- Small Group Training – This may be a boot camp-style class with a limited number of exercisers and either a flat fee for a series of classes or a fee for individual classes.
- Workout With a Friend – You can also save money by working out with a friend or family member.
- Negotiate with your trainer – Not all trainers will do this, but it’s worth asking.
2. I’m Too Overweight and/or Out of Shape
If it’s been a long time (or ever) since you’ve worked out, hiring a trainer may bring up scary questions:
- What if I can’t do the exercises? – You need time to reconnect with your body in a physical way and that means you may not do the exercises right. Give yourself time to learn the exercises before getting discouraged.
- What if I can’t make it through a workout? – Your trainer’s job is to create workouts that match not just your goals, but what your body can handle. Your trainer will check in with you throughout the workout but, if something feels too challenging, say so. Your trainer needs that information to know when to push and when to back off.
- What if my trainer sees what a fat, lazy slob I really am? – Your train will ask tough questions about your exercise and eating habits, revealing things even your friends or family may not know. You may feel vulnerable revealing those secrets, but your trainer isn’t there to judge you. “Fat, lazy slob” isn’t even crossing his mind…He’s too busy thinking about what he’s going to do to help you reach your goals.
Remember these things:
- You’re stronger than you think you are
- You know more than you think you do
- It gets easier with time and practice
3. I Don’t Know What to Expect
“I’m not doing pushups, or swinging some weird kettledrum…And I’m notjumping up and down until I throw up.” That’s what one new client blurted as soon as she walked in the door. She gave a grudging nod when I asked, “You’ve been watching The Biggest Loser, haven’t you?”
In the absence of experience, you may imagine all kinds of scary things that could happen during your personal training session. But, your trainer isn’t going to make you do anything you aren’t ready for.
What you can to do ease your fears:
- Do your research – Before you hire any old trainer, get recommendations from friends to find trainers in your area that have been vetted and, often, reviewed.
- Express your fears – You can often get instant reassurance by talking about what you’re afraid of. Write down questions before meeting with a trainer – What should you wear? What will you do during the first session? Should you bring your own water or towel?
- Look for warning flags – Look for alarm bells that go off during your first meeting. Did he gloss over important facts about your health history or fail to ask anything at all? Did she say her favorite part of a workout is when her client pukes at the end?
4. I’m Afraid It Will Hurt
“Is this going to hurt?” Well, if you have to ask…
Seriously, exercise shouldn’t cause pain. There will likely be some discomfort, of course, which is true anytime your body does things it isn’t used to. A few things you can expect when you start exercising:
- Burning muscles – It’s normal to feel some burning in your muscles, especially if you’re a beginner or if you’re doing high intensity or high repetition exercises. The burning comes from lactic acid building up as your muscles become fatigued. This is uncomfortable, but it will pass and may become less of a problem as you get stronger.
- The Jello Effect – This is when your body becomes fatigued during an exercise and, as a result, may wobble in an alarming way, much like Jello. This should pass with a rest period, but tell your trainer if you feel very weak and/or unstable. You may need more recovery time.
- Muscles you’ve never felt before – Your body has more than 650 muscles. You won’t work all of them during one workout, but you may feel like you have. It’s normal to feel an exercise everywhere, even in unrelated body parts (e.g., “I think I felt that pushup in my left earlobe.”) As you build strength in the weaker areas of your body, this will be less of an issue.
- Stiffness and soreness – Any new activity can cause soreness within 24-48 hours of your workout. Some soreness is normal and you may find that an anti-inflammatory, a hot bath or a massage can help. However, if you can’t brush your hair/walk down the stairs/breathe without pain, you overdid it. Tell your trainer if you experience excessive soreness so he can scale back on your workouts a bit.
You shouldn’t feel any actual pain, though. Any sharp, stabbing pain in the joints, muscles or connective tissue should get your immediate attention.
5. I’m Afraid of an Injury
This is a healthy fear, but one that shouldn’t stop you from hiring a trainer. Any movement can cause injury and activities that combine a personal trainer, a new exerciser, heavy equipment and moving body parts can up that risk. Your trainer will do everything possible to avoid this, but there’s no guarantee you won’t get hurt. Here’s how to decrease your risk:
- Get a check up – If you’re worried about aggravating an old injury, see your doctor to get clearance.
- Be Honest – As you’re filling out your health history form, which should happen before you start exercising, list any past or current injuries, surgeries, conditions or illnesses. Tell your trainer about any pain you have, any movements that bother you or any exercises that have caused problems in the past.
- Give regular feedback – Complaining is probably the most fun you’ll have during your workout session and you can make it even more useful by being specific. For example, “I hate this exercise,” isn’t quite as helpful as, “I hate this exercise because it really bothers my right shoulder.”
- Be your own advocate – If anything feels wrong during an exercise, stop. Injuries often happen when you work through pain rather than stopping. Some clients are shy about speaking up, often thinking: “Well, he wouldn’t have given me this exercise if he didn’t think I could do it, right?” As brilliant as your trainer may be, he can’t anticipate everything.
6. I Have Trainer Trauma
If you’ve ever left a personal training session crying, limping, crawling and/or vowing to stop payment on your check as soon as you have the strength to lift your phone, you’ve probably had Trainer Trauma.
Like every profession, personal training has its fair share of boneheads. Some may treat your first session like it’s a contest to see how much torture your body can handle. Some do this because they think that’s what every client wants. Others do it because a client may request that kind of workout without realizing how hard it really is. The result is, at best, Trainer Trauma and, at worst, an injury.
For every bad trainer, there are hundreds of good ones, but you may need to approach your new search with a few things in mind:
- Ask for recommendations from friends, family, or trusted websites
- Ask for references – Ask your trainer if you can contact current or previous clients to get the real story
- Look for experience and education – Make sure your trainer has experience training a wide variety of clients and dealing with any injuries or conditions you may have. He should also have an accredited personal training certification.
- Be specific about what you want – When you do meet with your new trainer, tell him about your previous experience with Bad Trainer. What went wrong? What do you want to be different? How could Good Trainer make it up to you?
7. I’m Afraid of Failing
If you’ve tried to lose weight with diets, exercise programs or other failed ventures, you may be afraid of another weight loss failure. Unfortunately, hiring a trainer is no guarantee of success. A trainer can do a lot of things for you — teach you an amazing variety of exercises, challenge you, give you personalized workouts, track your progress and motivate you. What he can’t do is give you what you most need to have to lose weight: A desire to change.
Sometimes, hiring a personal trainer is no different than trying a new diet or a new fitness gadget in the hopes you’ll find something that will finally work. The problem is, no diet or gadget or personal trainer is going to make any difference if you don’t believe that how you’re living is making you more miserable than having to change it.
Having a standing appointment that you’re paying for and an expert to guide you can certainly be motivating, but it’s no talisman against failure. Before you take the plunge, ask yourself why you want to hire a trainer. Good reasons to hire a trainer: You’re not seeing results, you don’t know where to start or you’re stuck in a plateau. Bad reasons to hire a trainer: You want to lose weight fast, you feel pressured by aggressive salespeople, you want the perfect body, or you think a trainer can magically transform you into the kind of person who is motivated to exercise.
8. I’m Afraid of Committing
Hiring a personal trainer is a big commitment and it’s normal to get cold feet. It’s more than just meeting someone for an hour to exercise, you’re also committing:
- Money – You may pay $35-$100 an hour to work with a trainer and that’s a big investment. Look at your budget and figure out how much you can spend before signing up.
- Time – You have your appointment time to deal with, but you also have prep time, drive time and time to workout during the rest of the week. Look at your schedule to make sure you can fit this in.
- Trust – You’re trusting this person with your body, your time and your goals. You should feel comfortable from the very first session. If you’re not at ease from the get-go, go elsewhere.
- Your lifestyle – You’re not just committing to an hour of exercise when you sign up for training, but other aspects of your life as well: Your diet, how you spend your time, how active you are, how you sleep, how you deal with stress, etc. Make sure you’re really ready to change before making the commitment.
9. I’m Afraid of Looking Like an Idiot
When you hire a trainer, you will be expected to do a variety of physical movements and, yes, sometimes these movements will be awkward. Not only that, but your body will have a variety of responses to this physical activity: Sweating, shaking, wobbling or just downright confusing. Some common worries:
- What if I fart? You certainly could and, frankly, it isn’t that uncommon. The best way to deal with it is to laugh it off, saying something like, “I guess I picked the wrong day to eat a can of beans for lunch.”
- Do I stink? – Maybe. But your trainer has inhaled so much body odor, she probably doesn’t even smell it anymore.
- Am I sweating too much? – No. Clients often feel embarrassed when they leave a big pool of sweat on the weight bench. Your trainer is actually quite pleased when you sweat. It means that your body is doing what it’s supposed to: Regulating your body temperature. Go forth and sweat.
- Am I really this uncoordinated? – No, you’re not. You may be quite graceful in real life but, when faced with an exercise that involves your limbs going in different directions, you feel like an idiot. Many exercises feel awkward, exposing the fact that you aren’t perfect and that we all have to practice new things. Having patience, an open mind and a sense of humor will go a long way towards easing your self-consciousness.
10. I’m Afraid I Won’t Like My Trainer
When you’re hiring a trainer, you’re not just looking at someone’s certification, experience and education, you’re also looking at their personality. Most personal trainers can get along with a wide range of people, but not all personalities mesh very well.
Increase your odds of finding the right trainer by thinking about what’s important to you. That might include:
- Gender – If you have a preference for whether you want to work with a male or female, speak up right away.
- Personality – Do you want someone who’s quietly encouraging, or someone more aggressive?
- Training style – Most trainers will adapt to what you want and need, every trainer is different. For example, if you want new, creative workouts, make that clear from the beginning so the trainer doesn’t stick you on the same old machines. Giving your trainer some guidance may save you, and the trainer, from a bad experience.
1. Selling or Suggesting Supplements
Selling or suggesting the use of supplements is the biggest and most glaring issue I have with trainers and I know that I will probably get a bunch of angry personal trainers taking issues with this but I don’t care. If a trainer, live or on a video, suggests the use of or even worse tries to sell you supplements, walk away. First, when it comes to fitness and health gains, supplements are not necessary. Secondly, unless you have come across a trainer who is also a doctor they can not legally or ethically give supplement “prescriptions” or suggestions. The only reason supplements are promoted at all is because of money. Supplements are a multi-billion dollar business and most of the hype and “benefits” of supplementation come from the mouth of the people who make and sell them.
2. Body Shaming to Motivate
There are many ways to motivate a client to exercise but the most mentally detrimental way to motivate is by shaming someone into action. Body shaming especially breeds all kinds of disordered thinking, feelings of guilt, and inadequacy. If a trainer uses these type of tactics to motivate they are not looking out for your best interests for long term health. If a trainer belittles your physical appearance to try to get you to exercise or to adhere to a specific diet then drop them and look for a trainer that motivates you by making you think more positively and constructively about yourself, your body and your physical ability.
3. Only Promoting One Training Style
There are hundreds of exercise training styles out there from Olympic Weightlifting, Plyometrics, Agility, Mass Building, and Toning, to Cardiovascular, HIIT, Yoga, Pilates and Flexibility (just to name a few). All of these styles have pros and cons but there is no shortage of trainers that will argue to the death that their preferred style of training is better than all the rest. It is a narrow-minded and short-sighted trainer that thinks that everyone should train the same way or with only one training style. For overall health you need to exercise in different ways to challenge the different physical abilities of the human body, for strength, endurance, flexibility, coordination, balance, agility, etc, etc. Depending on your own personal goals you may want to lean slightly more towards one training style than another but never focus on just one. Any trainer that does not look at the whole picture is not one you want to train with.
4. Don’t Properly Develop Workouts
This is a bit harder to explain but very important when it comes to the effectiveness of a trainer. Not all programs are created equally and many trainers don’t check their programs for balance. Not the standing on one foot kind of balance but rather balancing the body front to back left to right, and top to bottom. For example, I was watching a workout video the other day by a well known and well-funded trainer and I was watching them do a squat in a circle where one foot stayed stationary and the other took steps forward to complete a circle. They did a couple of sets and the whole time I was waiting for them to switch directions and step backward but they never did and to top it off they never even switched legs. Another good example would be a workout video by a well known YouTube trainer who starts their warm-ups with deep pile squats to start with which is much too rough of a range of motion on cold muscles and joints, and just asking for an injury or pulled muscle, purely due to poor programming. These might seem like small things to nitpick but using a trainer that does not think about the balance of the body’s muscles can easily lead to muscle imbalances which can cause chronic issues or can increase your likelihood of injury.
5. Promote Weight Loss Before or Instead of Muscle Building
Trainers who only focus on weight loss and not muscle/strength building are doing clients a huge disservice. Those who only focus on sheer calorie burn through cardio, toning (lightweight training), or core exercises, as their only form of exercise, are working with a limit to how much they can burn and typically have to heavily restrict caloric intake to see progress. On the other hand, if you start with strength training to build a good base of muscle you can increase your resting metabolism as well as max calorie burn for any given exercise, therefore, burning more calories with the same relative level of effort. Your body’s Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR), the rate at which your body burns calories just keeping itself alive, is set not only by your body’s natural functions but also by the amount of muscle tissue you have. So, if you add more muscle tissue you add more calorie burn potential both during exercise and daily life activities. This increased BMR due to more muscle mass makes it easier to not only drop fat weight but to also keep it off in the long run. The best thing is that it does not take much muscle mass to make a huge difference in the number of calories you need in a day. So, especially for any ladies out there who are worried about getting too bulky or masculine from weight lifting remember that a little goes a long way. If you are trying to lose weight and your trainer only does lightweight training, cardio or core exercises it does not necessarily make them a bad trainer just one that will be less effective for helping you lose fat content (and keep it off).
6. Focus on Intensity Over Form
This issue is especially prevalent with the bodybuilder culture as well as some of the boot camp style trainers out there. Many of them will choose to focus on how much you lift or how hard you push yourself over all else. We have nothing against pushing yourself or wanting to lift heavy but what we can not agree with is letting form and proper technique slide just to lift a bit more weight or push for a few more reps or seconds. Proper form is by far the most important aspect to focus on during any type of training. If the form is not maintained then the returns from that exercise or movement start to diminish quickly. One thing I see a lot especially with weight lifters/bodybuilders is a limitation of range of motion so they only target the strongest portion of their range rather than moving to a lighter weight and moving through their entire range of motion for maximum muscle development. Not only can this create or intensify weak spots but it can also change posture and joint tracking which can cause long term issues with chronic pain, discomfort, and overall joint stability. If a trainer knows what they are doing they will always know when to lower intensity to favor better function and long term results. So, if you have a trainer that tries to push you past your comfort zone or does not teach proper form look for someone else.
7. Trainers that don’t Educate or Empower Clients
There are some professionals, found in any industry, who feel that you should give just enough information to keep a client coming back so they can fill up their schedules and make more money. I believe that, ethically speaking, this is a huge flaw if you’re actually trying to help someone. With our videos now and back when I was still doing one on one training and group fitness classes I would aim to teach clients everything they need to know to be a more active participant in their own health and fitness. I want each person to know why they are doing each exercise and why they are doing them in that specific order. It was my goal as a trainer to teach a client to the point that they did not need me anymore, which sounds stupid if you are trying to make money but if you have a trainer that really wants to change people’s lives and help long term then they won’t get caught up in the money. However, if you teach a person well, they will not only be empowered, they will also trust you and know that you have their best interest in mind, which may make them more likely to use your services anyways.
8. Believe In or Promote Spot Reduction
This has two sides to it, number one is just literally a trainer that believes that spot reduction is possible and tries to sell you on it. It is not possible, and a trainer that tries to tell you otherwise you need to avoid. The second part of this is a trainer that dispenses any false information either willingly or unknowingly (for example women should not lift weights, low-intensity exercise burns more fat, if you exercise you need more protein supplements, ab exercises burn belly fat, or cardio is the best way to lose weight). It comes down to the facts that they are either intentionally lying and will say anything they need to make a quick buck or they are not educated enough in their field to be a safe, or effective trainer. Either way if you hear a trainer saying something double-check it until you know they can be trusted, especially if it sounds too good to be true.
9. Promise Quick Results
Many people start into an exercise routine with the hope that it will be easy to hit their goals as long as they put in some effort for a while. I know that it can be discouraging to some to hear that they are not going to drop 10 pounds in a week without serious health repercussions and that they need to realise that exercise and health are things that need to be a permanent part of their life. Infact I have lost a number of potential clients because I have told them that their goals will take longer to reach than they want. A good trainer will make the hard decision to address false hopes and help people set new attainable ones. Whereas a bad trainer will keep their mouth shut just to get a paycheck or even worse plant that false hope just to close the deal. Improving physical ability takes time, weight loss takes time, gaining flexibility or balance takes time and anyone trying to tell you otherwise will never have your best interests in mind.
10. Talk about Lower Abs
This is a very specific one and really falls under dispersing false information but it is one that really bothers me. Any trainer that says they are going to show you an exercise to work on your lower abs does not know what they are talking about. There is no such thing as lower abs! I could go on and on forever about this but I am not going to in order to keep this short. If you want to know the specifics then let me know in the comment section and if enough people are interested then I will make another article and vlog about it. But for now lets just keep it at, if you hear a trainer talk about working the lower abs, they are a either completely clueless as to how the human body works or they are just trying to tell you what you want to hear.
I hope my list helps you find great trainers to help you and more importantly helps you avoid the bad ones. Afterall there is more at stake here than just your waistline. Finding the right well educated personal trainer can be the difference between becoming a happier, stronger, fitter, smarter individual or becoming a person who hates exercise, and feels that they will never succeed. There are many good trainers out there, and finding one that works for you can make a huge positive impact on your progress towards your goals and overall outlook on health and fitness.
Remember that this is just my opinion and if you think there is something else that should be on this list please include it in the comment section below as I would love to hear it. Also if you don’t agree with any of my top ten let me know which one and why.
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People use personal trainers to assist them reach their individual health and fitness goals. A personal trainer will tailor an exercise program to meet your goals and personal health needs, teach you the best way to exercise and motivate yourself.
Good places to start looking for a personal trainer include local gyms, health centres or fitness centres. When you’re at the gym, watch trainers with their clients and see how they interact. Make a note of trainers who get along with their clients and seem fully involved in their workouts. Ask friends and workmates for word of mouth recommendations.
Take your time before you make your final choice. Make sure your personal trainer is qualified before entering into any agreement.
While professional credentials and experience are vital, it helps to rate personality and communication high on your list of priorities as well. You may be spending a lot of time with this person.
Role of a personal trainer
A personal trainer should have relevant qualifications and be registered with a recognised industry association. A personal trainer’s job is to work with your health and allied health professionals, discuss your goals, assess your fitness level, design a program for you and help keep you motivated.
A personal trainer can:
- help you exercise safely and efficiently
- help motivate you
- help you with technique
- monitor your progress
- adjust your exercise program in response to your changing fitness level
- offer general advice on good nutrition according to national guidelines
- vary your exercise options to keep you motivated, interested and enjoying your workouts
- help you to manage some exercise on your own.
Personal training qualifications and experience
It is a good idea to:
- Ask about their professional qualifications. They should have proof of their certification, including first aid.
- Ask about their experience. How long have they been working as a personal trainer?
- Ask what sort of results they’ve helped other clients achieve.
- Ask how they keep up to date on health and fitness research. For example, they may take refresher courses, attend industry seminars or subscribe to exercise science journals.
- If you have a specific medical problem, injury or condition (such as being pregnant, or having heart problems or diabetes), make sure your trainer has education in these areas and will work with your doctor and other relevant allied health professionals.
- Ask if they (or their employer) have professional liability insurance. They should have proof of this.
- Ask if they are involved in any type of quality accreditation program.
Choosing a personal trainer
When making your choice, factors to discuss with the personal trainer include:
- How much does it cost to hire their services and what types of payment options are available? Do they offer a discount for larger training packages, for example, for more than one session a week?
- What about other fees, such as extra services or cancellation fees?
- Will they offer a discounted trial period before you commit? It is important you feel comfortable training with this personal trainer.
- Are they available at the particular times and days when you’re free to exercise?
- What range of physical activity options do they offer? Would you be working out in a gym, at home or outdoors?
- How do they tailor exercise programs for clients? How would your preferences be taken into account? What sort of services do they offer to support you in achieving your goals?
- What about updates to the exercise program that accommodate your improving fitness levels?
- What allied health professionals networks do they have (for example, dietitians, physiotherapists) and work closely with?
Other things to consider include:
- Make sure you feel comfortable with their training approach.
- Check out the fees and their policy on contract cancellations.
Consider some more personal aspects that relate to the relationship with your trainer. Trust your instincts about the impressions the trainer makes upon you. Your personal trainer will ideally be:
- someone you like. Ask yourself if you think you could get along with the trainer and whether you think the trainer is genuinely interested in helping you
- a good listener – a good trainer will listen closely to what you say. Make sure they understand your goals. Make sure you feel comfortable asking questions
- attentive – a good trainer will be focused only on you during your sessions
- tracking your progress – a good trainer will regularly assess and monitor your progress, and change your program as required. They should also provide regular reports to you on your progress and associated health outcomes.
Beware of dubious personal trainers
If you’re concerned about the qualifications of an exercise professional, ask to see their proof of professional credentials, or you can check if they’re registered with Fitness Australia. Occasionally, trainers have been known to be unethical, even though they have the correct credentials. Generally speaking, warning signs of a personal trainer who is unethical include that they:
- don’t undertake any form of pre-exercise screening
- can’t or won’t provide proof of professional credentials
- can’t or won’t offer references
- try to force you into a contract during the first session – before you’ve had a chance to see if you’re compatible
- try to sell you supplements or dieting aids, or insist that particular supplements or dieting aids must be taken as part of the program
- prescribe dietary advice for which they are not qualified or attempt to diagnose and treat injuries
- advocate exercise aids that may be dangerous, or weight loss techniques, such as saunas, passive exercise machines or body wraps
- have a ‘one size fits all’ exercise program that doesn’t take your individual health and fitness into account
- insist that their method of training is the only method that works
- at your first session, take little notice of your goals and personal health and fitness requirements, and instead want you to do a workout
- don’t turn up on time (or at all) to appointments and are difficult to contact by phone or email
- promise immediate and spectacular results – realistically, you’d expect to see some sort of improvement in approximately six weeks, although this will vary enormously, depending on factors such as your age, exercise history, gender and types of activities.
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