Recently I was interviewed on the Amesbury Cable Channel about fitness and nutrition. When asked about how a person should start exercising, I suggested that there could be real benefits from working with a personal trainer. Perhaps the better question is what should you expect from making this investment? Here are the principles I follow when working with a client no matter their age, fitness level or training experience:
- Do No Harm
Setting goals is important but they must take into account both acute and chronic injuries, illnesses, life stressors and past negative training experiences.
- Look at What a Client Does Regularly and Include Exercises to Counter the Effects of Repetitive Movement Patterns
Most people sit far too much with shoulders rounded forward, hip flexor muscles shortened and butt muscles deactivated. This often results in shoulder pain, low back issues and tightened hamstrings (the muscles that make up the back of your thigh.) A good program should include lengthening and strengthening these areas.
- We Are All Wired to Take a Path of Least Resistance
When it comes to movement the brain only cares about getting the job done. While there is an optimal firing pattern for muscles to complete a movement, soft tissue changes like the ones described above often result in using muscles to do work they were not intended to do. A good trainer watches for those compensations, corrects them and includes exercises to engage dormant muscles.
- Working With a Trainer is a Two Way Commitment
Your trainer should require a commitment from you around appointments and following through with work done on your own. More importantly, you need to be confident that your trainer is committed to your success and bases workouts on your needs and realistic goals.
- Training Sessions Should Involve Elements of Fun
I like to think of the training studio like a playground. It is easier to work hard when training feels as though you are playing.