How did you become a personal trainer?
I was working a mind numbing desk job and was not happy.  I couldn’t wait for my after work workout because I had been sitting there like a blob all day.  I was beginning to get bored, which from my Eating disorder past, i knew was not good for me. So I made the decision that I needed to make a career move; something that wouldn’t just keep me interested for a time, I wanted something i could do for the rest of my life.  The only criteria was that I had to do something I LOVED and that I need to help people. So it hit me like a medice ball: personal training.
So I researched it online, on company time of course, to figure out how to proceed. School was out of the question because I didn’t have the money or the time.  I found that the ACE (American Council on Exercise) offers an at home course, with a few practical skills classes. You don’t actually need to go to the classes, but I wanted to do the best job I could do so I went to a few at a near by community college.  So I bought the text book, study guide, and practice test and went to work.  i studied in my spare time for about 8 monthes. If you have more time to devote, it wouldn’t take nearly as long.  I took the test at another near by community college and got my results back instantly. I passed, got my certification and found my job.  It was the best decision i have ever made.
What’s your workout schedule like?
I get some form of exercise everyday.  I usually go to the gym in the evenings 3-4 days a week (I’ve never been able to work out in the morning, I don’t feel like I can give it my all if I just woke up) and do a combination of cardio, strength training and flexibilty.  On days I can’t make it to the gym, or just feel like something different I will woprk out at home. I either go for a run, take my pooch for a long walk, run stairs at the middle school across the street, and do strength training at home with a stability ball, dumbbells and my own body weight. My gym workouts last around an hour and a half start to finish and my ones at home are pretty all over the place. if i don’t have anything to do I can do strength work in front of the TV all night long. If I’m rushed I try to get in atleast 30 minutes.  I guess you could say I don’t really have a schedule: I just do whatever I feel like doing. It keeps it interesting and that way its fun for me.  I also wear a pedometer almost every waking moment so that even if I dont get a proper workout in, I alteast make sure I am moving enough through my everyday activities. I aim for about 12,000 steps which is considered “active.” Its not necessary but i kind of like seeing where I am at throughout the day.
I want to start working out and lose weight. Where do I begin?
This is a loaded question.  A lot of factors come into play here: medical history, injuries, goals, fitness level, body composition, time commitment, etc. so the answer is different for everyone.  Hiring a trainer is a great way to sit down with someone, discuss all of these things, and formulate a plan together.  However, there are some general guidelines.  Adults should accumulate 30 minutes of moderate intensity cardiovascular exercise most days of the week for health improvements, 1 hour for weightloss, and 1 1/2 hours to maintain a significant weightloss (30lbs or more.)  Strength training should be done a minimum of 2-3 days a week, with no more than 2 days rest between workouts.  For a plan tailor made for your needs, see your doctor amd/or a trainer.
So how do I pick a trainer?

I might just be biased because I am one, but I feel private trainers are the best. Here is the company I work for and they are pretty much all over the US. Box gym trainers are more concerned with membership sales and pushing supplements; not about your results.  Private trainers, like me, do not get paid on commission and don’t have to sell anything; managment takes care of that. So our only responsibility when it comes to you, is training. They are more expensive, but the results are incomparable.
So either way you choose, make sure they are certified.  There are no laws regulating the fitness industry, so any whack-job can say they are a personal trainer.  A few certifiactions to look for: ACE, ASCM, ASSA, AFAA, NCSA.  A trainer should never agree to train you without seeing you first, and the consultation should always be free. This is a meeting to see if you are right for eachother. A huge part of wether or not you acheive your goals is how your client/trainer relationship is. I personally need someone to kick my ass. Other people need that sensitive, empathetic type.  As a trainer, i kow there is a fine line of when to push and when not to, and a good trainer should be able to read that after a few meetings.  You need someone you trust and get along with, but also someone that can motivate you and hold you accountable. You shouldn’t want to let them down so you always try your hardest and always SHOW UP (its really annoying when people no-call, no-show.)  You need a trainer will push you and not fall into that “friend” role. You have enough friends, make the most out of your sessions. They should also be almost annoyingly concerned about any injuries you have. If a trainer knows you have a bum knee, makes you do squats, and never asks you if you are having any discomfort or pain, they are probably not as knowledgable as they should be. Just some flags to watch out for. The most important thing is that they train in a style you like best. You might not even like them, but if they push you hard, safely, then its probably a good fit.


8 responses

17 03 2008

hey, I was wondering..I have pretty thick thigh muscles and dont want to bulk up anymore! I usually do squats and lunges with 10-15 pound weights. Should I not be using weights at all??

I have shapely legs..they are just a little thick. maybe more cardio?

Thanks! 😉

18 03 2008

I also have a similar question. My legs have always been muscular and I’ve just started to work out but I am SO scared that they’ll bulk up. I want to build lean muscle. Will the treadmill and eliptical bulk me up or what should i do?

18 03 2008

Hi – So I am curious about how accurate HR monitors are as a way to track calories burned. I own a basic HR monitor – i think a R4?
Here is my issue:
When I run (I am 26 yr old Female, about 132 lbs, an avg 7:25 min/mile), most websites or calorie burned calculators would estimate I burn about 100 calories per mile. However, when I use my HR monitor no matter what exercise I am doing it estimates I burn about 100 calories for every 10 mins of working out. I just don’t believe that when I am cross training or doing the stair master I burn the same number of calories/minute as running a 7-730 min mile. Do you agree?

Also, I would love your opinion on the “fat burning” zone of HRates. My heart rate always shoots up to the 160s+ and i think that would put me in only burning sugar/carbs not fat. But if I slow down, decrease intensity I dont feel like I am doing anything. What do you recommend?

Sorry for the long post, but I am frustrated with trying to estimate what I am burning for consuming purposes. I would like to slim down a few pounds and just can’t figure it out. Thanks for any insight you can offer.

18 03 2008

Hi, I posted this on Kath’s blog hoping someone could answer but then I remembering seeing the link to your blog 🙂

My gym measures body fat w/ the thing that you hold in both hands and it sends the current through (not sure what that’s called). Anyway, I was going to have that done this week but I heard it’s not always accurate. Is there anyway to improve the likelihood of it being accurate?


19 03 2008

Julie- thats the same kind of body fat reader we have at my work. Its called bioelectrical impadence and its the second most accurate kind you can use. The first if hydrostatic weighing with involves strapping you to a chair and dunking you in water to see where you float. its pretty impractical so the one your gym uses is the best method. There isnt really anything you can do to make it more accurate, it does a pretty good job.
Dont pay so much attention to the number, just pay attention to how it changes. if you lose 2 percent, wether it says you have 80% body fat or 3%, 2 percent is 2 percent and is the same victory.

19 03 2008

Hi. What are the best workout classes for fat loss. I already do an hour per day of jogging or elliptical most days and I’m not seeing the results I want. Is there a gym class(es) that are best, i.e. spin, step, sculpt, yoga, etc. Thanks!

19 03 2008

Jilly-Id say if you arent seeing any results after an hour a day, you may need to up your intensity. There isnt really one class that is better, per se, but ones that burn more calories will help with the reults you want. Spin is GREAT for burning cals, and step classes can be if you they are intense enough. Sculpting isnt the best for fat loss but its great for shaping your body and yoga can be very relaxing, stretch you and burn some cals, but not as much as other forms. Id give spinning a shot, with the cardio you do you will probably like it.

20 03 2008

how can i burn calories on the eliptical or tred without bulking up my legs? Do stretches work well enough to counteract this because I’m quite scared of getting legs with too much muscle but i need to burn off calories. Sorry, i see there are a bunch of leg/muscle related questions but i don’t know where to get an answer…
p.s. the blog is great!! and the video you filmed helped so much, you have no idea! thanks, and keep up the good work

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