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Exercise (cont.)

Using a Personal Trainer

If you're new to exercise, then it's a good idea to enlist the help of a personal trainer. Exercise is hard to learn on your own, and resistance exercise is especially so. It's just hard to learn it from books, and there's always that doubt about whether you're doing it right or not. A trainer will fix all of that. They can evaluate you and set up the proper routine for you. You can set up a plan with which you see the trainer several times a week or just once month to check in and to modify your plan. Consult with the trainer as to what to do, but ultimately you'll decide based on cost, availability, scheduling, and how confident you are doing it on your own.

If you're an exercise veteran but want a little push, a trainer might be perfect, even if for just a few sessions. It can add variety, change things up, and might just give you the boost you're looking for. By the way, a personal training session makes a great gift!

You should look for the following when selecting a trainer:

  1. Tell the trainer your story and what you want out of training. If you're unsure the trainer can help, then keep looking.
  2. A trainer should listen carefully, hear you, and understand what you're looking for. It's about your goals, not the trainer's.
  3. Make sure you feel comfortable with the trainer and that you're not afraid to ask questions. If there isn't a connection, you're not going to show up. You don't have to be in love, but it won't work if you don't get along.
  4. Ask the trainer for two to three references.
  5. The trainer should ask to speak with your doctor if he or she doesn't understand your medical problems. It's a good sign if a trainer asks for permission to speak with your doctor.
  6. Find out if you can speak with the trainer during time you're not training.
  7. Ask about payment and cancellation policies.

Trainers' fees vary all over the country, and the range is anywhere from $45 to $150 per session.

Trainers should be certified. Several organizations have certifications for personal trainers; they are ACSM (, NSCA (, and ACE ( There are other agencies certifying fitness and aerobics instructors, but these three are the most highly regarded. You can also check these Web sites to locate fitness trainers all over the country.

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