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Healthy Ways

November 5, 2009
George S. Frazier

We all need a little help with exercise sometimes, whether we're just starting out or we've been at it for a long time. If you want to lose weight, get healthy and build muscle, hiring a personal trainer can be a step in the right direction.

Many people who are trying to lose weight turn to a personal trainer to help them stick to their weight-control programs. Hiring a personal trainer helps some people make their health and fitness a priority, and improves motivation to develop a healthy lifestyle. A good trainer can help you set up a program that meets your goals and teaches you the best way to exercise.

Your personal trainer will probably ask you to do just a little more than you are already doing, building gradually and safely to a more vigorous program. Be sure not to do too much too soon, and cut back if you experience signs of injury. Your personal trainer can help you come up with a program that works best for you. Still, there are people who shy away from training, unsure of what they'll get out of the experience or whether it's worth the money.

Most people feel better when they make resolutions and set lofty goals to improve their health. But, changing your lifestyle is hard work that requires determination and day-to-day dedication. You must be ready to make your health a priority!

A personal trainer can give you good guidance and motivation, but you still have to do the work.

Trainers can play an important part in a series of steps you must take to change your body and your lifestyle.

Let's take a look at 10 reasons people typically hire personal trainers and see if it's the right decision for you.

1. If you have been exercising consistently for months and aren't seeing the changes you would like, hiring a trainer may be a good choice. A trainer can look at your current program and eating habits and determine appropriate changes to help you be more successful. The trainer can help you set realistic goals.

2. Getting started can be a daunting task if you are not sure how to balance a schedule to include all of the activities you need and what to do. A trainer can help you set goals and map out a specific schedule to follow, so you don't overdo it and burn out or get injured.

3. Experienced exercisers often haven't considered working with a trainer. It can be a great choice if you need some variety in your workouts. A trainer can bring a fresh perspective and new ideas to challenge your body and your mind. Sometimes this can be accomplished with just a few workout sessions.

4. You need to be challenged! A personal trainer can motivate you to push past your self-imposed limits, encouraging you to lift heavier, get a few more reps, go a little bit longer on your cardiovascular training and challenge yourself more than you would on your own.

5. Your ultimate goal is to create your own workouts and exercise by yourself, but you need help getting started. Hiring a trainer for a few sessions can be a great benefit for learning about the muscles in your body, the exercises that target those muscles and how to do those exercises using proper form and good technique.

6. Trainers come with built-in motivation Remember, you are not only investing money into your exercise program, but time as well. There's nothing like a standing appointment to get your butt in gear for a workout. Not only that, a trainer provides accountability for your exercise program.

7. If you have any specific issues like arthritis, heart disease, athletic injuries, etc., working with an experienced trainer (in conjunction with your physician, of course) can help you set up a program to aid in the healing process and avoid any further problems. Always work with a trainer who has experience with your type of medical issues.

8. A trainer can be very helpful for sport-specific training. Whether you're in season or out, an experienced trainer can design a program to maximize your sport performance and to help protect you from sport related injuries. Always discuss your specific sport goals with your chosen personal trainer before getting started.

9. Some people want a trainer just for support and supervision. If you are lifting very heavy weights or doing partner-type exercises, working with a trainer might be just what you need. A good trainer will constantly encourage you and make sure your technique is proper.

10. If you would like to exercise at home but either don't have a lot of equipment or aren't sure how to use what you have, an in-home personal trainer is an excellent choice. A trainer can show you exactly how to use the equipment you have to get the best workout. e or she may recommend the type of equipment to purchase for home use.

Finally, a personal trainer should be, at the least, educated in a health/fitness field, certified through a reputable fitness organization, experienced in one-on-one fitness training and demonstrate a personal passion and commitment to a healthy lifestyle. This person's job is to assess your fitness level, set up a program for you to follow and keep you motivated. Personality is important too, since you will be working very closely with this person. Make sure you get along with your trainer and feel comfortable asking questions.

May the Lord bless each of you as you pursue and achieve the benefits of a healthy lifestyle!

George S. Frazier is the manager of CentreTown Fitness in Wheeling. He is an exercise physiologist and received a Master of Science degree in exercise physiology at West Virginia University. He has a Bachelor of Arts degree in elementary education/physical education from West Liberty State College. He has worked for 24 years in the fitness industry. He is a member of the West Virginia Wellness Council.

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