Many Hollywood celebrities use one. Even elite athletes. But should you use a personal trainer? Meet our Trainers by clicking here.
Perhaps. Personal trainers can help anyone, regardless of physical condition or age. The first thing to do is decide what your goals are. Do you want to bulk up? Do you want to simply add some definition? Or do you just want to get in shape? Are you recovering from an injury and need to exercise? Do you want to improve your athletic performance?
A personal trainer can help with all that and more. This person is a coach, role model, educator and cheerleader who will customize a program to fit your needs, budget and schedule. Some people may want to use a trainer several times a week. Others may just want an occasional check-in with a trainer to get feedback. It's all up to you.
Personal trainers usually give you:
- A fitness evaluation. This is a series of tests - including cardiovascular, flexibility, muscle strength and endurance - to see what kind of shape you are in. Your trainer should ask about your health conditions, medications and exercise experience.
- A personalized exercise program. This is designed specifically for you. There is no one-size-fits-all approach.
- Supervised exercise. You are given one-on-one attention to make sure you are using proper form and technique and that you get the most from your workout without getting injured. The benefits of your program are explained.
A trainer should motivate you and help you stick with your program.
Ask yourself the following when looking for a trainer:
- Is your trainer certified by a nationally recognized organization such as the American Council on Exercise, the American College of Sports Medicine or the Aerobics and Fitness Association of America? Trainers must pass a series of tests to receive certification.
- What is the trainer's experience?
- Is the trainer certified in first aid and CPR?
- Can the trainer provide references?
- Will the trainer keep records of your workouts and any changes in your medical history? If you are injured or have other health problems, will your trainer communicate with your doctor or physical therapist?
- Does the trainer have liability insurance in case you get injured during a workout?
- Is there a cancellation policy?
- What are the trainer's fees? Is the trainer willing to work within your budget or reduce session fees for a long-term commitment?
- Do you like your trainer? Are you confident in that person's skills and service?
- How clear is the trainer in providing education and instructions?
- Is there a contract or written business policy? What happens if you decide to end the contract early?
If you have a chronic disease, such as a heart problem, or it's been years since you exercised, check with your doctor before beginning a program.