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Michael Feigin, M.S., C.S.C.S. Headshot

The Inside Scoop On Personal Trainers

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PERSONAL TRAINER
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Maybe you're just starting an exercise program or maybe you have been at it a very long time, but in either case, the idea of hiring a personal trainer may have crossed you mind. It is always great to have a personal trainer, for two main reasons: technique and motivation. A well-educated instructor can help you develop an exercise program that is geared toward helping you attain and maintain your goals, teach the program in a way that is efficient and specific with regard to safe technique and motivate you to help inspire you past obstacles that might otherwise stop you dead in your tracks.

Though opinions may run from "uncertain results" to "unnecessary luxury", both of which I understand, there are many instances when hiring a personal trainer may be in best interest.

  • Starting a fitness program.
If you have decided that now is the time and you want to get going, but you are not too certain as to how to begin, a trainer can help you create a program that best suits your needs.
  • Plateauing
If you've been working out for a while, and at the outset you saw fantastic results but now you are sort of coasting, a trainer can help you with new ideas and insights that can help lift you off that plateau.
  • Training for something sports-specific
If you've decided that it's time to run that half-marathon or marathon, or maybe a triathlon is in your future, a trainer who specializes in these sports can help you train safely and efficiently for best results.

But buyer beware! There is a very low barrier of entry into the world of professional personal training: there is no set state or federal criteria that dictates who may call him or herself a trainer. Therefore be very thorough when starting out looking for that special someone.

  • Education
There are many different forms of trainer education, from weekend internet certifications through PhDs in exercise science, and everything in between. Find out as much as you can about your potential trainers background and then go home and do a little research: what criteria did they have to fulfill to become certified? How much time was spent in the education process? Do they seek out forms of continuing education and further certification to learn more about how to help you? Remember: you're trusting your physical well-being to this person. Make sure they have understanding of how the body works.
  • Discussion
Have a talk with this person before the session. Tell them what it is you want to accomplish and find out how they work. Remember: you are interviewing, not just being interviewed. It's important that they ask questions to learn about you, but it is just as important that you also ask questions about their background.
  • Game Plan
Once you have had the conversation, discuss what the course of action will be. And listen to what they have to say. Do you feel that they are proposing a game plan that takes into account both your present condition and your goals? The key to a personal trainer is the word "personal". If you feel you are simply being sold a bill of goods, this person may not be right for you.

Keep in mind that when you sign up for training, you don't have to sign up for an indefinite period -- such a thing can be costly in terms of time and money. But even two or three sessions with a really good trainer can help you get started, get out of your rut, or start out on a whole new experience that you had never even considered.

And lastly, remember: when you do hire the trainer, you are hiring them to educate and motivate you, not to do the exercises for you. Learn all that you can and put that knowledge to work for you. No brain, No gain! And that will take you where you want to go.

If you have any questions about trainers, or anything fitness or nutrition-oriented, shoot me an email at michael@fitnessgurunyc.com.

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