Personal Trainer
LaRue Briggs
In big-city gymnasiums, suburbia's fancy-health clubs and at local YW/YMCAs, one finds that the trend toward jogging, bicycling, swimming, playing racquetball, working out with the various types of sophisticated muscle-building equipment, doing aerobics, or calisthenics and stretching exercises has risen markedly during the last few years.

From this occurrence, it would appear that a sizable number of out-of-shape people have come to recognize the need for regular exercise and the practice of sensible eating habits, as well as having gained an acceptance of a pleasingly contoured physique that displays vitality, strength, coordination of movement and muscularity.

And because of widespread media coverage, a now national preoccupation with exercising and dieting has incited even more would-be fitness buffs to rush out and join recreational centers.

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

Their initial health and fitness intentions are usually very good, and, some, even praiseworthy. (For example, one person said that she wished to decrease her overall body fat and redistribute her weight so that she would feel better and look more attractive in her clothes. Another person said that he wished to increase blood circulation and improve the immune system's resistance to illness and disease.) 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 on a three-times-a-week basis the "muscle burning agony" of vigorous exercise. In fact, recent studies show that well over half of the people who begin some kind of exercise regimen quit within a period of six months.

They start to abandon their sleek centers for such diverse reasons as: He 1: "I really dislike and am distracted by the large crowds and deafening noises;" or, She: "I am just too bashful to exercise with a bunch of strangers;" or, He 2: "More often than not, I discover that all the machines I want for my workout are in use when I get to the gym. As a consequence, I have to sit around wasting valuable time until they're available."

Aside from those mentioned above, there are other reasons why getting and staying in shape tends to be a hassle for a host of people who wish to do so. One of these reasons is that, ordinarily, after a tough 9-to-5 workday, most employees merely want to go home and unwind. They have to put forth a great effort not only to follow through with their earlier plan to exercise but also to "fight all that dreadful, rush-hour traffic" traveling "all that way" to get to the gym, making an already difficult day seem considerably longer and even more taxing. At this juncture, the workout that should be so mentally and physically rewarding, and ultimately relaxing, becomes an inconvenient task for them to have to perform.

As an alternative to the gym scene and aerobics group class, a good percentage of turned-off exercisers, as well as those engaged in serious athletic training, have sought the professional services of personal trainers either to help them get started, or to keep them from becoming bored with exercise by suggesting new routines, or to overcome a sticking point. And many of these exercisers have found personal trainers to be exactly what was needed to assist them in alleviating those and some of the other multifarious problems they encountered through the physical conditioning process.

For the purpose of clarification, a personal trainer, who can be either a man or a woman, is a qualified, experienced conditioning instructor with a background in exercise and nutrition. These days, there are many elite trainers throughout the country who have a formal education in such subjects as exercise physiology, behavior modification, health assessment, nutrition and weight management.

A personal trainer works with his or her clients, after first evaluating their present physical condition and helping to spell out their goals, to devise and properly implement exercise and nutrition programs that embody precisely what the clients need to achieve their respective health and fitness objectives. With the trainer as motivator, guide and coach, clients are able to cover a wider range 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 experiencing musculo-skeletal injuries to their bodies.

These challenging, no-nonsense exercises, moreover, enable clients to develop their bodies faster and with a higher degree of efficiency than many of them could guarantee through working out by themselves. Additionally, by having personalized, one-on-one instruction, clients have the opportunity to consult with their personal trainers at each workout session regarding the exercise program that has been designed specifically for them.

And a dedicated trainer never forsakes a client. When a client has been left on his or her own, a dedicated trainer takes the initiative to call by telephone to make sure that the client is carrying on with the exercise program.

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 made use of by patients, who have first gotten their doctors' permission to exercise, recovering from some type of physical impairment to become healthy, strong and ambulatory again.

However, personal trainers are primarily employed by actors, models, professional athletes and fast-track corporate executives, whose livelihoods depend on 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, stamina and strength. Plus, they generally have much improved mental capabilities and more creativity as well.

They know too that physical fitness promotes in the healthy individual a feeling of being "on top of it all." Perhaps most importantly, they are knowledgeable of the data from the medical field showing that frequent exercise is one of the best ways to control stress, anxiety, tension and other pressures which commonly occur in the life of a busy professional.

Furthermore, today's ambitious, hard-working men and women at the top, and those headed there, typically operate under very tight deadlines. With daily calendars full of events, their days are routinely long, hectic and tedious. 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, and put them through their paces, at a prearranged, mutually convenient time and place. The time could be before the client starts work, at noontime, or at the close of the workday. The place could be privately in the client's home, the client's place of business, a gym, or some other location that offers convenience, provides security, and whatever else both client and trainer may desire to facilitate them in having not only an excellent workout session but also allows them to arrive and leave in comfort and safety.

But adding the exclusive attention and status of a personal trainer to one's life is not cheap. In truth, it's quite expensive. Personal trainers charge clients from $25US to $100US an hour for their services. On average, though, a workout session costs $30US to $35US.

So you had better be sure that you're going to be committed to working out and attaining your preconceived fitness goals when you retain a trainer. You should try hard to make your body-conditioning experience a worthwhile one that ends up with you getting positive results by not letting yourself become a fitness dropout. For in the final analysis, the benefits you obtain from your workouts will only be commensurate with the time and effort you put into them.


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