If you’ve been to the gym lately you have probably noticed it is a bit busier than normal. People are working hard to accomplish their New Year’s resolution to finally get fit. It can be tough to know where to start in your journey so I met with a personal trainer for some expert tips.
Natalie Barratt didn’t need to set a resolution to get fit this year, she has been active her entire life. At 14 she started weight training and also enjoys snowboarding, mountain biking, dance and martial arts. She started her personal training courses while still in high school and is now a certified personal trainer. She is also working towards her Kinesology degree.
I’ve never worked with a personal trainer before but after talking to Natalie I realized how important it is to consult with a personal trainer before beginning to exercise. Personal trainers can help you avoid common mistakes such as doing too much too soon which can lead to injuries. They also teach the proper form, technique and breathing for exercises to reduce injuries and increase their effectiveness.
Personal trainers can also help you stay motivated by providing accountability. They can help you set realistic, specific, time-based goals. Too often our New Year’s Resolutions are vague promises to get in shape and lose weight. A personal trainer will help you set measureable goals so you have something to work towards.
How can you find the right trainer?
Natalie recommends making sure the person is a certified personal trainer first. There are different certifications and you may want someone with a 3rd Age certification if you’re older or someone with a sports background if you are an athlete.
After that you should make sure their availability matches your schedule. People may be more comfortable working with someone their own gender or age. Most trainers will offer an initial consultation to make sure you are compatible.
What’s the process to Personal training?
When you start you will meet to get a fitness and lifestyle assessment. After evaluating your current fitness level and your time availability you will discuss and set realistic goals. Then you will go through the training plan and make sure you know how perform the exercise correctly. After that you can meet with the trainer as often as you’d like. Some people want to have a personal trainer with them every workout but other people prefer to meet every few weeks to re-evaluate and change their fitness plan.
What are some basic rules for beginners.
You should start slow and work your way up. Aim to work-out 2-3 times a week at the beginning and make sure to drink enough water. You should always give your muscles at least 24-48 hours in between weight training. Always see a doctor if you are new to exercise or are over 45. If you are unsure how to use some of the equipment ask someone to help you to learn to use it properly.
What type of goals or resolutions should people set?
People should make SMART goals
S – Specific
A- Achievable and Attainable
T- Time Based and Time Bound
By setting these types of goals you have something specific to work towards and you won’t get frustrated by unrealistic expectations. Instead of a goal to “get fit” make a SMART goal to “Go the gym 3 times a week in order to lose 15lbs by June 1st.
Are free weights or weight machines better?
Much of personal training is person specific and the equipment you use will depend on a number of factors.
Machines are great for beginners and people with balance issues. Body builders also use them to target specific muscles.
Free weights work more muscles at the same time. They are also more versatile and can be used in a variety of settings and provide more functional based work-outs.
If someone wants to work out at home what equipment should they have?
It is possible to work out without any equipment by using your body weight but in general the following items can be used to provide a varied work-out.
- Yoga Mat
- Big Exercise Ball
- Light dumbbells
- Skipping ropes
A personal trainer can provide a training program that can be done in your house or you can use a fitness DVD or other training program.
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