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Anyone work with a personal trainer?

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Anyone work with a personal trainer?

Old 12-01-10, 09:33 PM
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Anyone work with a personal trainer?

Over the long Thanksgiving weekend, I realized that my "stay in shape in the winter" gym class, beginning fencing, was not giving me what I needed. Sure, an hour of drills tried to impart some level of coordination to my usually disconnected mind-body interface -- but I wasn't getting sustained cardio, and I wasn't getting increased muscular strength, either. Over the last few weeks my weight drifted up towards the point where I was afraid to post here -- would my signature line still be truthful?

Monday night, while driving to class, I realized that not only was the class not giving me what I needed -- it made it harder for me to get those needs met elsewhere. A half-hour drive each way for an hour-long class twice a week chews up time. So I turned around, went to my local gym instead, and did 30 minutes of intervals. Yesterday, more intervals. Today, rest; tomorrow, back to the gym.

I can get a pretty good handle on cardio/aerobics on my own, but I'd also like to work on developing upper body and core strength. I figure core will help keep me comfortable in riding posture; and as for upper body, at least once in my life I'd like to do a push-up.

Which leads me to the question of personal trainers. At my gym, one session with the trainer costs more than twice the monthly membership fee! Has anyone worked with a trainer before? Or maybe someone reading this IS a trainer? What can an overweight, poorly conditioned midlife matron expect from working with one?
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Old 12-01-10, 09:43 PM
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I've had three sessions with one, all of which came with the gym membership (actually the membership came with a $150 gift card that I could spend on a trainer, or on some of the gym's other extra-cost things). I don't know that I'd say these three sessions constitute "working with a trainer," because now I'm pretty much on my own. But for what it's worth, he talked with me for the first hour, listening to what I wanted to accomplish, what I thought my strengths and weaknesses were, and what my motivation was. The second session he introduced me to the weight machines he thought would do the most for me, given our initial "chat." The third session was on core conditioning, balance, and cardio. All he did really was make some recommendations for me to work within, as I guide myself through the whole process.
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Old 12-02-10, 10:29 AM
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I used a personal trainer years ago. I found for me it was really helpful. She taught me how to do all the various exercises and what stretches to do for the various muscles. She taught me good form for the exercises, which is really important in order to get the most benefit and prevent injury. And now I feel confident doing weight training on my own. I think I used her 2x/week for 2 months, but I'm not totally sure (it was in like 1998).
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Old 12-02-10, 10:55 AM
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My experience with PTs is dreadful - almost all meatheads looking for the next meal ticket. I refuse to pay someone to watch me exercise, especially if they are an idiot.

Bad advice from personal trainers:

"Energy drinks are instantly metabolized, so if you count calories you don't need to include it in your daily totals."

"Back pain shouldn't interfere with your lifting."

'If you don't set a time goal for your century, it doesn't count.' - that's the CPFitness troll a few months ago
 
Old 12-02-10, 10:56 AM
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Originally Posted by The Historian
My experience with PTs is dreadful - almost all meatheads looking for the next meal ticket. I refuse to pay someone to watch me exercise, especially if they are an idiot.

Bad advice from personal trainers:

"Energy drinks are instantly metabolized, so if you count calories you don't need to include it in your daily totals."

"Back pain shouldn't interfere with your lifting."

'If you don't set a time goal for your century, it doesn't count.' - that's the CPFitness troll a few months ago
Oh, and the classic "you'll not get anywhere without me." HA!
 
Old 12-02-10, 11:05 AM
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I don't know what type of gym you are at - but here at the city run facilities they have 8-10 week courses. Some examples include plyometrics/cardio/strength etc. Any chance you could find something like that? You'd learn lots about specific exercises, without having to pay a small fortune.

That being said - if you are stuck for types of exercises, it might be worth it for one or two sessions.
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Old 12-02-10, 11:11 AM
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I've worked with personal trainers a couple of times, though they were usually "free" sessions I got when I joined a gym. In most cases, the trainers weren't that great and the sessions didn't end up being worth much.

If you're interested in weight training specifically, I think a do-it-yourself approach works best: buy a book (e.g. Weight Training for Cyclists) or grab one of Muscle & Fitness magazine's "beginner" issues (they come out every few months, it seems), plan a workout for yourself, then hire a personal trainer for 1-3 sessions to show you how to do any exercises that you're not familiar with. Once you know how to do the exercises, it's pretty easy to follow your own plan... assuming you can stay motivated.

Another alternative might be to hire an online coach or a trainer who isn't associated with a gym. In my experience, these folks seem to have a bit more motivation since they don't have a steady stream of clients shoved in their direction. Many gyms won't allow outside trainers to work in their facility. That's fine. Have the person you hire focus on planning your workout regime (and nutrition!). Keep written records of what you do, then check-in with your coach/trainer every week or two to make adjustments to the plan. Keep in mind that you might still need to supplement your online/outside coach with someone from the gym (ex: to demonstrate proper form or show you how to use particular pieces of equipment safely).
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Old 12-02-10, 10:02 PM
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I've been using a trainer for three years now. It's the best thing that ever happened to me. From all the other posts I'd guess YMMV. First - she's a benefit of the place I work. You sign up to go, if you go it's free, if you miss it it costs you $17. The trainer is woman, an ultra marathon runner, in her late 50's. She focuses on getting my core in shape (lots of tasks that keep you off balance while you work). I have a bad back and the work has really helped. I also finally broke through the weight loss wall that I was bumped up against. It's such a major plus that I turned down a job offer a few weeks ago because I can't afford it and I really need it.

It's only one session per week but it still helps (slowly for sure, but it continues to help even after three years).
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Old 12-03-10, 01:46 AM
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Personal trainer - good / bad ?

I hate to say it, but it depends, IMO.

From my own observations only;

If you are a person who thrives on scheduling your days and daily activity then a personal trainer coming to your home at scheduled times might be a good thing for you.
It worked wonders for a wife I once knew.

If you are person who needs a push to exercise or someone watching over you to more or less make sure you do it, then a PT is probably a good thing.

If you don't feel that you fit into either of the above, then find someone to create a routine around the activities/machines/exercises that you like to do/use, that will work towards your fitness / strength goals.
You don't need a personal trainer other than if the routine becomes easy or every 4-6 months to give you an assessment of your progress towards your goal and make changes if needed.

As others have noted, it may be a challenge to find an effective one.
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Old 12-03-10, 06:09 AM
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f you are person who needs a push to exercise or someone watching over you to more or less make sure you do it, then a PT is probably a good thing.
I think this is a big factor. When I was at my heaviest in September 2008, my daughter suggested a PT as a birthday present. At first I blew off the idea mainly because I felt as always I could lose the weight on my own and it was a waste of money. But I had to face the question, if I was going to do it on my own when was I going to start? Well I caved and hired a PT. I think I got lucky because the guy turned out to be somewhat knowledgeable, but the big thing was he pushed me. He made me concentrate on the things I hated to do. Not always, but often. In addition he pushed me to do that one more rep or that extra 10 mins of cardio. He never did this in an over bearing or abusive manor but he was the boss and I did what he told me to do. It helped that we had other things in common. I did lose about 30lbs in a few months but had to stop using him for other reasons. Now I did gain back the 30lbs eventually and have since lost just shy of 70 on my own, His guidance is what I needed at the time. If it will get you in the gym and give you the desired results then go for it. Trying it is the only way to know.
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Old 12-03-10, 10:49 AM
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I think you need to take a set back and ask youself what your goals are. If you go to a trainer and say, I want to "tone-up" they will have you lifting pink girly weights and acomplishing nothing. If you say, "I want you to teach me how to work a program so I can strengthen my muscles to help me burn more calories so that I can eventually do it by myself" you'll have a better chance of success.
Trainers are like bikes, some good and some really - really bad. Typically the kid at your gym knows about as much about exercise as you do - they just have a clipborad. Some are certified by accredited instutions or have advanced degrees from actual universities and those are the ones you want. ASK - ASK if your trainer is certified and where they got their certification. Then go on the internet and see if its a "real" program or something they got in a Cracker Jack box. Please don't pay some punk kid with big arms (or skinny girl) $75/hr to stand over you with a clipboard and count your reps. I've watched a woman at my gym over the last year do stupid (and dangerous) exercises with the help of one of the 'trainer bunnies" and she looks exacly the same as she did a year ago.
Personally I think if you can read a book you can do just as well youself - hire a trainer to show you the correct form and get you comfortable with the exercises and go from there.
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Old 12-03-10, 10:23 PM
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Well, since the trainers haven't been able to find a time when they can actually meet with me, it may be a while before I follow up with the next part of the story!
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Old 12-04-10, 04:23 PM
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Personal trainers vary. Some are accredited, while others are experienced based. Some have specialty knowledge in a certain subject, while others are generalist. Some will work well with certain clientele where others can get along with different groups. Some have a certain style and others are flexible in their approach.

Talk to your gym and see if they have different personal trainers. Set it up like you would an interview. See if their qualifications match what you are looking for. See if their schedule can work with yours. Ask for a demonstration of their services. See what their style is.

I've seen good and bad personal trainers. I've also seen conflicts in styles and motivation which is neither parties fault.

For instance I have worked with people before. I am more of a specialist in free weight exercises, but a generalist in nutrition and machine based equipment. Some people want me to be a training partner, but that does not work well for me. I am not a "rah rah" motivator either. I can be flexible in what program I adapt to your needs and focus, but I center most of my approaches around HIT and POF techniques.
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