Personal Trainer

By: La Rue Briggs

At urban recreational facilities, suburbia's fancy-health clubs, and at local YW/YMCAs, the trend toward working out with the various types of sophisticated muscle-building equipment, performing aerobics or calisthenics and stretching exercises has risen in the last few years.

From these occurrences it appears as if many out-of-shape people recognize the need for regular exercise and sensible eating habits as they gain an acceptance of a pleasingly contoured physique that exudes vitality, strength, coordination and muscularity.

Because of widespread media coverage, a now national preoccupation with being in shape and staying trim has incited additional would-be fitness enthusiasts to join recreational facilities.

However, scores of these new enthusiasts shell out hundreds of dollars for memberships, then immediately start to invent some imaginative but rather unconvincing excuses to avoid ever again setting foot in what more than a handful of them collectively call "sweat producing chambers."

Their intentions usually are good, and, some, even praiseworthy. (For example, one woman said that she wished to reduce her body's subcutaneous fat and redistribute her weight so that she would feel healthier and look more attractive in her clothes, while a man said that he wished to increase blood circulation and improve his body's immunity to germs and infections.) Yet, when left to their own devices, a lot of them do not seem to be able to summon up the willpower required to undergo the muscle trembling agony of vigorous exercise on a regular basis. As a matter of fact, recent studies show that well over half of the people who begin some kind of exercise activity quit it within six months.

They start to abandon their facilities for varied reasons such as: He 1: "I really hate the large crowds and deafening noises;" or, She: "I am just too bashful to exercise with a bunch of strangers around me;" or, He 2: "More often than not, I find that all the machines I need for my workout are in use when I get to the club. Consequently, I have to sit around wasting my valuable time until the machines are available."

Besides those above, there are other reasons why getting into and staying in shape tends to be a hassle for a host of people who wish to do so. One is that, after a tough eight-hour workday, most employees' primary desire is to go home and unwind. They have to really push themselves not only to follow through with their earlier plan to work out but also to "fight all that dreadful, rush-hour traffic" to travel "all that way" to their recreational facility, making an already difficult day seem considerably longer and even more exhausting. At this juncture, the work out that should be mentally and physically gratifying, and ultimately relaxing, becomes another inconvenient task for them to perform.

As an alternative to the frenzied gym scene, a fair percentage of turned-off exercisers, as well as those engaged in serious athletic training, seek the services of a professional personal trainer to help them get started, or to keep them from becoming bored with working out by suggesting new routines, or overcoming a sticking point. And many of these exercisers find a personal trainer to be what they needed to assist them in putting an end to those and some of the other multifarious problems they encountered through the physical conditioning process.

For the purpose of clarification, a personal trainer is a qualified, competent, conditioning instructor conversant in such subjects as exercise physiology, kinesiology, behavior modification, health assessment, nutrition, and weight management. These days, many elite trainers across the country have either a college degree or are certified by a nationally recognized accredited organization like the American College of Sports Medicine or the American Council of Exercise (other organizations can be found at

A personal trainer, after evaluating their clients present physical condition and helping to spell out their goals, works with them to devise and implement exercise and nutrition programs that embody what their clients need to achieve their respective health and fitness objectives. With the trainer as motivator, guide and coach, clients perform a wider variety and a larger number of exercises during their workout sessions than most of them would do on their own. And they are able to do this at a reduced risk of being subjected to musculo-skeletal injuries to their bodies.

These no-nonsense exercises enable clients to develop their bodies faster and with a higher degree of effectiveness than many of them could achieve working out by themselves. Additionally, customized, one-on-one instruction gives clients the opportunity to talk with their personal trainer at each workout session regarding the exercise program.

A committed trainer never forsakes a client. When leaving a client on his or her own, a committed trainer takes the initiative to call to ensure the client is carrying on with the exercise program and to answer any questions the client may have. A committed trainer is also continually on the lookout for safe, innovative ways to help a client get in top physical condition. What's more, a committed trainer always has high regard for a client and when the occasion warrants mails thank-you, birthday, and anniversary cards.

Currently, personal trainers are one of the most highly sought after groups of exercise specialists in the fitness industry. In the health care arena, their services are used by patients recovering from many types of physical impairments, who with their physician's permission, exercise to become healthy, strong and ambulatory once again.

However, personal trainers are mostly hired by actors, models, competitive athletes and fast-track corporate executives, whose livelihoods depend on them being fit, functioning at peak ability while on the job and looking youthful. These active, successful people know that individuals who are well-conditioned possess and readily display energy and strength. Plus, they usually have much improved mental capabilities and more creativity as well.

They know, too, that physical fitness in the healthy individual promotes a feeling of being "on top of it all." Perhaps most important, they are aware of the medical data showing that frequent exercise is one of the best ways to manage the pressures which commonly occur in the life of a hard-working professional.

Furthermore, today's high-powered men and women at the top, and those moving in that direction, operate under stringent deadlines. With daily calendars full of appointments, their days are hectic, tedious and long. They have precious few, if any, spare minutes. While on the job, every second represents substantial dollars to them and their companies. Therefore, they are very conscious of the ever-ticking clock and find it almost impossible to set aside time for anything other than work.

For this reason, the majority of clients prefer having a trainer who is able to meet with them at a prearranged, mutually convenient time and location. The time could be before the client starts work, at noontime, or at the close of the workday. The location could be privately in the client's home, the client's place of business, a recreational facility, or some other place that offers convenience, provides security, and anything else the client and trainer desire to facilitate them in having not only an excellent workout session but also allowing them to arrive and leave in comfort and safety.

But adding the services of a personal trainer to one's life is not cheap. Actually, it's quite expensive. Personal trainers charge clients from $25 to $100 an hour. Although, on average, a workout session costs $30 to $35.

So along with finding a trainer who complements your personality, you had better be sure that you are devoted to working out and attaining your preconceived fitness goals when you retain a trainer. Try hard to make your body-conditioning experience one that ends up with you getting positive results by not letting yourself become a fitness dropout. In the final analysis, the benefits you reap from your workouts will only be commensurate with the time and effort you put into them.