By Denise Harris

What’s a personal trainer? Someone who is trained and certified to help others get fit through cardiovascular conditioning, aerobic exercise, weight-lifting, yoga, or any other fitness modality. They’re called “personal” because they work with a client one on one. Who can make use of such a service? You’d be surprised!

Personal trainers are not just for those with bottomless pockets, celebrities, professional athletes, or body builders. Personal trainers are also for people just like you. Sure, they will most likely cost you money, unless they’re covered under your insurance plan, but working with a trainer doesn’t have to be an ongoing thing.

A professional can teach you how to exercise. He or she can demonstrate exercises and have you follow along closely. They can set up a whole routine that’s custom made for you, and one that you can do after your personal training sessions have ended.

You can also learn you about fitness from an expert, as well as gain knowledge about your body, muscles, and how to do exercises so you won’t get injured. Maybe you’ve tried lifting weights in the past only to hurt yourself?

A professional trainer can be especially helpful if you have medical issues. For example, they can work with you if you have heart problems or arthritis or any number of problems. Before you start, make sure they have training in dealing with conditions such as yours. Sometimes your physician can refer you to a personal trainer who specializes in workout programs for the medical issues you have.

Some people just need help getting started, while others need someone to motivate them and hold them accountable for a period of time. That’s no problem since a trainer can give you just what you want. The thing to do is talk with a few trainers before you pick one and look for a good match. If you’re confused, timid, and don’t know where to start, a trainer who barks orders like a drill sergeant is probably not the right fit.

You should also find out the following things before you hire a specific personal trainer:

1. Will they train you at your home, their studio, or at a gym? Some professionals are associated with big gyms. They’ve gone through their training program and are allowed to use all the resources at the gym. This may or may not work for you, depending on your circumstances and desires.

2. Your trainer should discuss with you what you want to achieve from the training sessions. Basically, it’s about you… not them.

3. They should be nationally certified as a personal trainer. How much experience do they have training people? Do they have referrals you can contact?

4. Do they have liability insurance? If personal training is their job and not just a hobby, they will probably have insurance. Do check though.

5. Do your personalities seem to mesh? If you’re at all uncomfortable with the trainer, then pick a different one.

A personal trainer should create a fitness program for you based on where you currently are and where you want to go. He or she can be very helpful if you have medical issues, don’t know how to exercise, or need encouragement and motivation. Lastly, working with a personal trainer can be either short term or long term, and you don’t have to be a sports rock star to hire one!

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