Saturday, February 26, 2011

How to Work with a Personal Trainer

Whenever I talk to people about personal training sessions, they inevitably ask me this one thing: How does it work? And really, the answer is very simple: It's totally up to you. While that sounds contradictory—isn't a trainer supposed to control things?—it's the honest truth. We personal trainers are here to assist you, and to hold you accountable. And the job we do depends largely on your goals and your schedule. You tell us what you want, we'll do the rest. Well...most of it. You still have to lift the weights. And you still have to eat right. But most importantly, you have to commit—we'll always be ready and waiting for you. That said, there are a few specifics you'll want to think about when you meet with a personal trainer.

1) Know your schedule. (And your budget.) Personal trainers are often very flexible when it comes to scheduling training sessions. We like to be there for you, and we like it when you show up. Think about your daily routine, think about it long and hard and know exactly when (and for how long) you'd be available to train. It's about you, not your personal trainer. So decide for yourself what time is a good time. And determine how frequently you'd like to meet each week. Often this depends on your budget. Don't despair if you can't meet more than once a week for financial reasons. We personal trainers are good at hunkering down in our sessions with you. We can give you a good workout while actively planning for your solo workouts. Or for our next workout together. Back to the time issue: whether it's for one hour or half of and hour, a good personal trainer will always make the best of your time slot. Don't you worry about that!

2) Define your goals. There is a reason you want to hire a personal trainer. Decide that for yourself before you meet with one. When your personal trainer knows your main goal, they can help you break it down into easily achievable mini goals that keep you motivated to continue. Clearly communicating your goals to your trainer will also help them create targeted, specific workouts just for you.

3) Don't hide your body. No, I'm not suggesting you wear skimpy workout gear. Rather, I am suggesting you divulge your medical history with honesty. If you've got a shoulder injury, or if something hurts mid-exercise, don't hide it. Tell your trainer you've got an issue. This prevents further injury, and also allows for even greater customization of your workouts.

4) If you don't like something, or want to try something new—speak up! A personal trainer wants nothing more than to keep their clients motivated and having fun. So if you're bored with something, don't like a particular exercise for whatever reason, or even if you're interested in trying something new you've seen in the far corner of the gym—speak up! We trainers don't set our workouts in stone, and we're always willing to modify accordingly. (Provided the modification isn't asked for out of laziness.)

5) Ask questions. Ask for help. Don't get an exercise? Can't complete a move? Ask questions, or ask for help. We are here to assist you. You are ultimately paying for our expertise, so don't be shy!

6) Never forget the honesty policy. This stands true in terms of your goals, the weight you're using, the weight you are or are not losing! If you hide truths from your trainer, it will affect the quality of your workouts. Don't tell your trainer you're eating right if you've just consumed five slices of pizza. Tell them you're having trouble with your diet so that they can give you some advice that might get you back on track. It all ties together. Most importantly, be honest about the weights you're using at the gym. While a trainer can be good at guessing it, only you can truly determine if you're lifting the right weight. Cheat by using something lighter because it's easier, and you'll really just cheat yourself out of advancement toward your goal.

And since we're talking about being honest, I should probably admit to you that I've just consumed a piece of candy. It was Raspberry Licorice, which I die for every. single. time. This time, I blame it on my parents. They were just down in Florida for a wedding, and Mom happened to find herself a nice little health foods store where she picked up the following snacks for moi:

Some people like tschotskes, I like food. Back to the honesty part of this conversation: I dug right into one of the Raspberry Licorice treats without much hesitation. But first, you should know the following:

That's not something my typical Twizzlers can claim, which is why I dug right in. (Wouldn't you?)

So good! Notice how it isn't Crayola red in color. It almost looks like fruit leather. Tastes like it, too. Like real raspberries. As much as I love me some Twizzlers, they really don't compare. Oh, AND—14 grams of sugar. Love it! Tune in tomorrow to find out if you won the sampler pack of Ayala's Herbal Water!

Question: Are you currently working with a personal trainer? How frequently, and what has the experience been like?

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