work out with a trainer or by yourself? Working with a trainer
is a big investment-in money, time, and commitment. But trainers
aren't just for professional bodybuilders and athletes. They can
help anyone who wants to stay fit. Here's how to know when you
need a trainer-and how to find the right one.
Should You Work With a Trainer?
needs a trainer. But if you've been doing the same body building
routine for months without seeing results, have trouble staying
consistent, or are simply not meeting your fitness goals, a trainer
could be just what you need. Here are a few situations in which
you should consider hiring a trainer.
trouble staying consistent. Consistency is the key to success
in any workout program. Whether you're body building for a competition
or you're just trying to get toned, you need to work out regularly
to see any results. If you work out hard for a month, forget about
the gym for two weeks, come back for a week, then take a month
off, you may need a trainer. Regular appointments with a professional
will force you to be consistent. That alone may make all the difference
in your exercise routine.
working out. Can't stand going to the gym? It can be tough
to summon enthusiasm for working out, especially if you're new
to it. For some people, working out provides a natural "high."
For others, it can simply be a drag.
If you find
yourself getting bored with your body building routine, you could
benefit from the help of a trainer. Exercise isn't easy, but it
shouldn't be torture. A trainer can help you by introducing variety
and new challenges into your workout, or designing workout routines
around exercises you enjoy. This will help give you the motivation
you need to stick with a fitness routine.
spinning your wheels. Everyone knows it takes time to see
results. But if you've been doing the same routine for six months
or more without seeing any changes in your fitness level, you
may need some help to break through the plateau. A trainer can
help you achieve the results you're striving for.
routine isn't balanced. You can easily spot those guys at
the gym with the huge, muscular arms and the stick-thin legs.
They're doing a lot of upper-body work and neglecting the lower
half. Body building requires balance-you have to develop your
entire body, not just the part that looks good in a T-shirt. If
your workout concentrates too much on one muscle set and ignores
others, a trainer can help you even things out.
preparing for an event or competition. Got a body building
competition, triathlon, or some other event to prepare for? If
so, consider using a trainer temporarily to get you in top form.
Even if you're usually fine working out on your own, a trainer
can be of enormous help if you have a specific deadline for your
an injury. Whether you had surgery years ago or are recovering
from a more recent injury, you probably should work with a trainer.
Working out by yourself with an injury is dangerous if you don't
know exactly what you're doing. A trainer can help you get the
most from your time at the gym without aggravating an existing
injury. He can also tell you when you should stop. This can be
difficult to know on your own, particularly with old injuries,
as you may be used to "pushing through the pain" and
ignoring the signals your body sends you to stop.
to Pick the Right Trainer
trainer is the same. Personality, method, and experience are all
factors that make a trainer suited to you-or not. Here are a few
things to look for when choosing a trainer.
personality. Your trainer isn't just supposed to give you
a workout. He's also expected to keep you motivated and on track.
Make sure you choose a trainer whose style of motivation works
for you. Some people thrive under a "tough love" approach,
while others prefer a more supportive tone.
certification. Your trainer should be educated in his field.
There is no single certifying body that ensures a trainer is professionally
trained; instead, there are a number of privately run certifying
agencies. Here are a few of the better-known ones in the U.S.:
College of Sports Medicine
· American Council on Exercise
· International Sports Sciences Association
· National Council of Strength and Fitness
· National Federation of Professional Trainers
· National Strength and Conditioning Association
experience. Your trainer should have at least several years
of experience in the type of fitness you're interested in. If
you're into body building, for example, obviously you want someone
with experience in that specific field. Look for someone who is
used to working with people who have the same fitness goals and
expectations you have. In addition, if you have an injury or health
condition that will affect your workouts, your trainer should
have some experience dealing with similar conditions.
An experienced trainer should be able to offer references. Be
sure to call them and ask them about their experience with this
trainer. Ask references about what they were trying to achieve
with their workouts-and take note if their goals are similar to
yours. If they are, it's a sign that this trainer works with people
like you regularly and may be a good match.
can be a valuable ally as you work to reach your fitness goals.
If you are struggling with your current workout habits or are
not seeing results, it may be time to consider hiring one. Take
your time and interview several candidates, and you should be
able to find a trainer who can help you get the most out of each
Jean Lam is the webmaster of Body
Building Resource which provides articles on weight training,
nutrition and fitness, body building book and DVDs.