Mind & Body
What to Expect from a Personal Trainer
4/2/2018 10:50:18 PM
Personal Trainer

If you’ve ever considered hiring a personal trainer but you aren’t sure what to expect if you do, the answer, in part, is up to you.

That’s because personal trainers don’t use a one-size-fits-all exercise plan. Instead, your trainer will develop an individualized plan to help you achieve your unique fitness goals. 

During your initial session, your trainer will likely ask you about not only your goals but also your health, exercise history, and exercise preferences. Cheyanna Glyenn, manager of Christus Louisiana Athletic Club-Lake Charles, says the first session also may include tests to measure your physical fitness in five different areas: cardio-respiratory fitness; flexibility; muscular strength; muscular endurance; and body composition, which is the relative proportions of fat mass and lean mass (bones, tissues, organs, and muscles) in the body. This assessment helps your trainer understand your current fitness level and then customize a plan for you.

Glyenn says clients’ goals vary widely. Some want to strengthen their muscles, for example; others hope to increase their flexibility or lose weight. No matter your goal, your trainer should help you achieve it — with a couple of caveats. First, your goal or goals must be realistic.

"If you want to lose 10 pounds in two to three months, we will come up with a plan to help you do that safely — one to two pounds a week,” Glyenn says. "But we are not like a ‘get-rich-quick’ diet that helps you lose 10 pounds in one week.”

Second, personal trainers aren’t magicians. Translation: You have to put in the work. And if you’re only meeting with your trainer, say, once or twice a week, you’ll have to work hard on your own time, too.
"If you are willing to work out, I will help you accomplish your goals,” Glyenn says. "I will work you out during our sessions, but I will also give you exercises to do outside of your time with me.  I don’t want to set you up to fail. I am here to help you.”

In fact, part of a trainer’s role is to educate you about why you’re doing particular exercises, how to do them safely, and how to stay motivated and make progress. As the American Council on Exercise explains: "Keep in mind that the ultimate goal of a quality personal trainer is to promote self-efficacy within the client, enabling them to take ownership of their exercise experience.”

How often you meet with your trainer is up to you and may depend on your budget and your time constraints. Costs vary, of course, but at Christus, prices are $32, $40 and $50 for sessions that last 30, 45, and 60 minutes, respectively.

Also keep in mind that what you can expect from a personal trainer may depend on the trainer. Unlike your doctor, who you know graduated from medical school, your personal trainer may — or may not — have received any of a large number of certifications or degrees in order to be designated as a personal trainer. 

Glyenn recommends choosing a trainer who has a bachelor’s degree in a field such as kinesiology, health and exercise science, or health and human performance and/or is certified through the American College of Sports Medicine, the National Academy of Sports Medicine, the American Council on Exercise, or the Athletics and Fitness Association of America.

Above all, Glyenn describes a good personal trainer as "a motivational trainer and an accountability partner.”

"You don’t want to fail, and I don’t want to fail you as a trainer,” she says. "You do your part; I do mine.”

Posted by: Andrea Mongler | Submit comment | Tell a friend

Categories: Health

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