You need a trainer |

You need a trainer

Rhonda Beckham

Years ago, hiring a personal trainer was limited to the rich and famous. Today, with the evolution toward keeping ourselves physically fit, smart people realize just how much a professional fitness coach can help.

Going to the athletic club or participating in outdoor activities is great, but are you making the most of your time?

I see people every day at the gym going through the motions of a workout, often not pushing themselves enough to make improvements, or worse, working improperly with the risk of injuring themselves.

With the holiday season approaching, we need to work extra hard to not to gain those eight to 10 pounds the average American adult will put on between Thanksgiving and New Year’s.

Be proactive. Whether you belong to a gym or not, call a personal fitness trainer for a free consultation. Many will come to you to custom-design a program for you to use at home. You can work with a trainer three times a week for the rest of your life, meet once a month, or just once to help you get you started.

1. You’re not seeing results. If you’ve been exercising consistently for several weeks or months and aren’t seeing the changes you’d like, hiring a trainer may be a good choice. A trainer can look at your current program and eating habits and help you see where you could make changes to create more effective workouts. A trainer can also help you determine if the goals you’ve set are realistic for you.

2. You don’t know where to start. Knowing how to set up a balanced schedule that includes all the activities you need to do can be confusing. The great thing about a trainer is that he or she can help you maximize your time while helping you stay within your limits so you don’t overdo it. A trainer can also help you set goals and map out a specific schedule so you know when, how and where you’ll fit in your workouts.

3. You’re bored with the same old workouts. If you’re an experienced exerciser, maybe you haven’t considered working with a trainer. But it can be a great choice if you need variety in your workouts. A trainer can bring a fresh perspective and new ideas to challenge your body and mind. Even if you just do a few sessions or meet every few weeks, you’ll find it refreshing to have new workouts and new exercise toys to play with.

4. You need to be challenged. If you’re like me, you sometimes tend to slack off on your workouts, especially when things get tough. A trainer can motivate you to push past those self-imposed limits, encouraging you to lift heavier, go longer and challenge yourself more than you would on your own. You’ll find it’s very hard to slack off with a trainer standing over you, telling you to do just … one… more … rep.

5. You want to learn to exercise on your own. Even if your goal is to create your own workouts and exercise by yourself, hiring a trainer for a few sessions can be a great benefit for learning the right way to exercise. This is especially true if you want to learn more about the muscles in your body, the exercises that target those muscles and how to do those exercises with great form. Just a few sessions can teach you a lot about your body and how it works.

6. You need accountability and motivation. Trainers come with built-in motivation. Not only are you investing money into your exercise program, you’re investing 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 some accountability, so even when you don’t have a session, you know your trainer will be asking if you did your planned workouts. Just knowing that may make it harder to skip your workouts.

7. You have a specific illness, injury or condition. If you have any specific issues like arthritis, heart disease or old injuries, working with an experienced trainer (who works with your doctor, of course) can help you find a program to help heal injuries and avoid any further problems. It’s also a great idea to work with a trainer if you’re pregnant and want a safe, effective workout to keep you healthy and fit. Just make sure your trainer has experience with your issues.

8. You’re training for a sport or event. If you’re training for a marathon, a golf tournament, ski season or some other type of sport or event, an experienced trainer can help you figure out what you need to do to stay strong without taking away from your other training. She or he can also help create a training program and map out a plan for the coming event. Just make sure they are experienced in the sport you’re training for, since not all trainers do sport-specific training.

9. You want supervision and support during workouts. Some people know how to exercise, and they even know how to do the exercises correctly, but they like having a trainer around for support and supervision. If you’re lifting heavy weights or need someone to help with partner-type exercises, working with a trainer might be a good choice for you. He or she can spot you during workouts and help you come up with a good training plan for your goals.

10. You want to work out at home. If you’d like to exercise at home but either don’t have a lot of equipment or aren’t sure how to use what you have, in-home personal training is an excellent choice. A trainer can show you exactly how to use what you have to get the best workout for you, or he or she can bring equipment to give you a great workout. A trainer can also make recommendations for equipment.

Now you know why you need a trainer.

1. A personal trainer should be, at the minimum, educated and certified through a reputable fitness organization such as AFAA, ACSM, ACE or NSCA. An exercise science or other related college degree isn’t necessary, but the more education your trainer has, the better. Beware: there are a lot of online certifications offered, and a person can be “certified” simply by paying $49 and answering a few questions.

2. Your trainer should have an updated certification in CPR and/or first aid.

3. Make sure your trainer has several years of experience, especially in relation to your goals. For example, if you’re a bodybuilder, you want someone knowledgeable in that area.

4. Specifics: If you have a specific medical problem, injury or condition, such as being pregnant, heart problems or diabetes, make sure your trainer has education in these areas and will work with your doctor.

5. Personality is important, too, because you’ll be working closely with this person. Make sure you get along with your trainer and feel comfortable asking questions. It’s your money and your body.

Typically, the cost will be between $30 and $70 per session. Many trainers will offer package discounts. Some will offer semi-private sessions.

Being proactive in your wellness is far less costly – physically and financially – than attempting to heal illness or injury.

— Rhonda Beckham is owner of Help Me Rhonda and Perfect Pilates, a Pilates instructor at Lake Tahoe Community College and Sierra Athletic Club, as well as a personal trainer operating out of Sierra Athletic Club and the Tahoe Keys Marina Dance Studio. She may be reached at (530) 208-6369, and

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