Personal training courses are more popular than ever as an increasing number of people train to work in the fitness industry. Many of these courses are excellent but gaining a qualification doesn’t make someone a good personal trainer. So how do you choose a personal trainer?
Safety is paramount so the personal trainer should be aware of any past or current injuries and design the training program around any potential risk or limitations. A good knowledge of physiology will enable the personal trainer to choose exercises which will avoid injury and – in most cases – improve or resolve an existing injury.
The personal trainer should also be able to quickly assess your skill level and use an appropriate range of exercises. As coordination and body awareness increases training can progress with more complex, integrated exercises.
Enquire about the personal trainer’s sporting background to assess how knowledgeable he is about training. Also consider whether his experience is relevant to your personal goals: a body builder probably won’t be the best person to train you for a marathon.
The personal trainer is there to help you achieve your health and fitness goals. Any good fitness program should be structured around your specific aims and not simply follow a ‘one size fits all’ approach. Someone who wants to increase muscle bulk should train predominantly with weights whereas an aspiring triathlete should be focusing on aerobic training to reflect the nature of the event.
The body will respond to the stress it is subjected to so adaptation only occurs if the body is required to work harder than it has previously. Repeating the same speed, intensity, weight or duration each session will eventually lead to a plateau as the body isn’t being stimulated enough to cause the necessary adaptations.
An effective exercise program will continually challenge the body as the work load is safely progressed. If you’re not seeing the results you hoped for it could be because you’re in the comfort zone and the training isn’t hard enough.
To constantly challenge the body the personal trainer should include varying forms of exercise including the following:
- Cardiovascular exercise:
Continuous aerobic exercise essential to develop stamina, reduce blood pressure and improve general energy levels.
- Interval training:
A combination of short, hard efforts and long recoveries designed to increase metabolism.
- Resistance training:
Exercises using body weight or free weights which cause muscular fatigue and develop muscle tissue. Essential to improve functional strength, prevent age-related atrophy and raise metabolic rate.
Completing the same form of exercise each time will produce increasingly limited results so ensure your personal trainer has a number of weapons in his arsenal!
Hiring a personal trainer is a considerable investment to help you achieve your personal goals. A good personal trainer will have the experience and knowledge to understand what training is required to help you achieve success. Do your research and don’t be afraid to ask questions – the right person will be able to give you the correct answers.