Personal training is a huge business across America. With eating habits out of control and the media offering up teens and twenty-something bodies as if they are a dime a dozen, everyone with a scrap of motivation is clamoring for a better body. Those seeming professionals at the gym helping patrons with their form and technique seem like a good way to go, but you have to educate yourself before hiring one.
Is a Personal Trainer the Right Choice for You?
In spite of the get some attitude of most personal trainers, it is not for everyone. You have to be realistic about your schedule, age, fitness level and commitment in order to make the most of your exercise program. It is okay if a personal trainer does not fit into that program. Really, you can do just as well with another custom workout plan. On the other hand, if personal training can work for you, you are going to want the right personal trainer. Before you get on the fad wave that is the personal training program, do some research.
1. Medical Problems are Exercise Problems
It is easy to think that being a little fitter will make some medical problems go away. It is even easier to ignore a doctor and listen to a confident personal trainer telling you that you can have the best body of your life with just three hours a week. Injuries and medical conditions can affect your workout, so know your limitations before you even think about contacting a trainer. Moreover, never keep a relevant condition or injury from your trainer. Any responsible professional will adjust your workout to suit your injuries.
2. You are Going to Get a Hard Workout
You may see personal training as gentle fitness guidance. This is not the climate of personal training. It is a bit more like drill instruction, though you can find polite personal trainers. The workout is going to be very intense and, if you are not a former or current athlete, it will likely be the toughest workout of your life. You may feel ill. You are going to ache, sometimes for several days. If you want a leisurely workout, learn the exercises for a custom workout plan and workout on your own.
3. Personal Training is Not Regulated in North America
You might think that personal training is a regulated business. After all, these people are in charge of your safety and well-being. The fact is that regulation is slim to none. Anyone can call himself a personal trainer and even “certified” personal trainers can do next to nothing to get that way. These are not medical professionals with full knowledge of your anatomy. You could just be dealing with a college student who played basketball for a semester, likes to lift weights, and so fancies himself an expert. You absolutely have to research your trainer and see him in action before you decide to hire him.
4. Personal Trainers are Not Nutritionists by Default
Nutritionists, unlike personal trainers, are actually part of a regulated field, for the most part. Unless a personal trainer gets an education in nutrition, he is not a nutritionist. He can probably give you general advice, such as refraining from sugar and upping protein either before or after a workout, but you may find he is mostly regurgitating whatever fad diet is circling the gym at the time. If you need nutrition advice, do your research or hire a professional in that field.
5. Certification Often Means Next to Nothing
The odd thing about all of the certifications that personal trainers can get is that many of them mean next to nothing. Some are available online, which allows for easy cheating. Most do not even require demonstration of training abilities, which is odd for a hands-on job. If you like seeing certifications, research which are the best and actually require some effort on the part of the trainer. From there, you can find trainers that have those certifications.
6. Expense Does Not Dictate Quality
An expensive personal trainer does not mean he is better. Expensive just means expensive. Some fantastic personal trainers work in small local gyms and ask very little for their services. Others work in huge facilities and can make hundreds of dollars an hour. Really, it is all about popularity and perhaps backing by a fitness facility or brand.
7. Longer May Not Be Better
Before you decide to get a personal trainer, get it into your head that shorter workouts can be better than longer ones. Everyone sees endurance athletes and thinks that is the pinnacle of athleticism. You can get an incredible workout in 30 minutes. You can even do it at home using an online personal trainer. You do not have to do a 26-mile obstacle course with the help of a team of professionals to be in good shape.
8. Trainers Might Try to Sell You Stuff
So, there is something of a secret in the industry for which you should be prepared. Fitness companies love getting personal trainers to up sell their products to clients. Even online personal trainers do it with ads. If a personal trainer is pushing a product on you, just remember it was pushed on him, thank him and do your own research. You may actually benefit from the product, but you should not blindly buy.
9. Some Trainers are Out of Shape
When it is time to shop for a personal trainer, you may be eyeballing the Arnold look alikes at the local Planet Fitness. Do not feel like you have to find someone that fits the perfect mold. You do not need someone in good shape. You need someone who knows how to get you in good shape and that may be the former football player who was injured and turned to personal training. He may not be able to workout hard anymore, but he still knows how you should perform those lifts.
10. There are Still Great Personal Trainers
If you are leaning toward going without a personal trainer because you know there are some less than stellar ones out there, you should know that there are also amazing trainers. Remember there are exercise professionals behind all the biggest athletes. It is not always a scam. Trust your instincts and do your research if you think your custom workout plan could benefit from some guidance.
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