Be honest, did you make a New Year’s resolution to eat better and get to the gym more often? If you did, good for you! Any time is a good time to focus on your wellbeing. So what if it came to you with a glass of bubbly in your hand and two weeks of over-indulgence under your belt!
The question now is how do you stay motivated and keep healthy habits part of your life, forever? If you find yourself struggling to get to the gym and stick to your self-imposed training schedule, it might be time to seek expert advice and hire a personal trainer. Before you reach for your wallet, let’s go over a few essentials, like what are the benefits of having a trainer, how do you find a good one and what are the key elements of making the most of your time together.
WHAT CAN A TRAINER DO FOR ME, REALLY?
Personal trainers (PTs) are experts in movement and exercise prescription, educated to meet the needs of clients with any level of athletic ability. Beyond this, great PTs connect to what motivates you as an individual, creating workouts that, step-by-step, bring you closer to your ideal state of fitness and wellbeing. Studies show that people are more likely to stick to an exercise program, and the related behavior changes, if a personal trainer is guiding them.
Personal training is just that, personal, so you are less likely to sustain an injury while training. Programs are designed to add progression gradually, ensuring that movements are done properly at lower intensities before adding more weight, speed or range of motion. Finally, one of the best reasons to hire a trainer is that you have a guide by your side as you move towards your goals. Your PT is there to cheer you on, call you on your cheats and, with any luck, make it fun along the way.
OK, NOW HOW DO I FIND A GOOD PERSONAL TRAINER?
Every fitness club should have trainers for hire and most have a public display of their profiles. Most PTs are freelance, and some are willing to come to your home or office. A great way to pick a trainer is to keep an eye on some of the PT sessions that are going on the next time you are in the gym. Larger clubs, like Aspria, have trainers working with clients throughout the day, so it is easy to see how different trainers work. Once you have a name and number, contact the PT and ask to have an initial consultation. Good trainers will want to meet you BEFORE booking your first workout so they can find out more about your history, goals and expectations. The questions asked during this discussion will ultimately shape your program. Be truthful so your PT can design the right program for you.
Here are a few tips to getting the most from your initial consultation:
/ Be open about your medical and exercise history, including injuries and any current conditions.
/ Answer lifestyle questions honestly. Include information on how you eat and drink, your work and family stresses, as well as things that make you excited and happy.
/ Be specific about WHAT your goals are and WHY they motivated you to get a personal trainer. For example, “I want to lose 5 kilos before Easter so I can be more active with my kids this spring.”
/ Explain what your expectations are of the trainer. How often would you like to train? Do you expect a written program?
/ Ask the trainer about their current qualifications.
/ Find out what the trainer charges, how they like to be paid and if they have any special offers.
If you are happy at the end of the conversation and feel like you could work with the trainer, you are ready to book your first session!
NOW, THE FUN BEGINS!
As with all new relationships, it is wise to put your best foot forward. Make sure you arrive on time for your sessions, with a towel and water bottle to hand. Leave your mobile phone in your locker. This is “you” time! The same goes for your trainer, you do not have to put up with a Pt that is always late and spends your session taking calls and sending texts.
The trainer will introduce each exercise by explaining why it is in the program and then demonstrate the exercise with good form. If you don’t understand the exercise, or feel that it is unsafe for you, stop and ask questions. Your PT will encourage you to work as hard as you can, providing you with ample rest time between exercises. Great trainers will come to learn what motivates you best – be sure to help them out with feedback during and after each session. It is normal for PT sessions to last an hour with the last 10 minutes reserved for stretching.
To make the most of your time with your trainer, be sure to report how you feel after each workout. This will help your trainer progress your program in a safe yet challenging manner. Reassessment of your program in relation to your goals should be carried out every 4-6 weeks to ensure that you are on track!
THE BOTTOM LINE
Personal training is a powerful tool in your quest to achieve greater fitness and wellbeing. The key is to find a trainer that understands what makes you tick. So don’t forget that resolution you made at midnight – embrace it and make it happen!