What to Look for in a Personal Trainer

Recently, Fitibie had a great article on 5 Things to Look For in A Personal Trainer and then one of my favorite bloggers, StrongFitBeautiful, expanded on the topic even more. Both did a fantastic job capturing all the things to consider when looking for a personal trainer- so I’ve summarized all the tips below!

1. Your personalities click
Trainer tip: Don’t be afraid to shop around
Personality is paramount when it comes to considering working with a trainer. A trainer can have all the qualifications and experience in the world, but if you don’t connect, then it will be difficult to develop a relationship that leads to commitment and success. I always encourage potential clients to interview me during our initial assessment to make sure our personalities match.

2. They put their clients before the program

Trainer tip: The first session will say it all
Going through a workout at the first session can be a sign of a bad trainer. It is impossible to receive personal training until the trainer knows the person behind the program they are creating. Your trainer should become familiar with your goals, history, likes and dislikes, schedule, current movement abilities, and areas of pain.

3. They’re all ears and a lot of heart
Trainer tip: Make sure you do most of the talking
A good trainer has good listening skills, a compassionate disposition, and generally feels like someone with whom you connect personally.

4. They never stop learning
Trainer tip: They are committed to their own ongoing education
Make sure your trainer has a NCCA-accredited personal training certification and also has committed to ongoing learning by attending workshops and conferences. The fitness industry changes at warp-speed, so it’s important for all fitness pros to stay up with the latest trends, knowledge, and practical ways to deliver results.

5. They know why it’s called personal training
Trainer tip: Be sure the workout is about  your specific goals
When you pay top dollar for one-on-one workouts, you deserve more than a canned workout. While every trainer has some favorite moves that they may use for multiple clients, your workout should be very specific to your goals, your shortcomings, and your level. Be sure that your trainer focuses on your individualized needs–and doesn’t just give you the same workout she gives every client.

6. They have references
Trainer Tip: If you know people who are like you who love their trainer- it’s a good bet you might too!
Do a background check. No, I’m not talking do they pay their bills on time – but rather their experience.  Which professional certifications do they hold? How long have they been training? All of these are great questions to ask to make sure you are working with a qualified professional – not just somebody who looks like they work out a lot. You can look up most trainers on IDEAFit or other sites. Here is an example (yep it’s mine) of a trainer profile!

7. It Needs to Be the RIGHT FIT for Both of YOU!
Trainer Tip: You will be spending a lot of time with this person so make sure it works for you both.
Your training should fit your life – and your schedule. If you know you aren’t going to be out of bed and to the gym by 8 a.m. on Saturday morning, find another time (and if necessary, another trainer). Many trainers will still charge your hourly fee if you don’t keep your appointment time – and you aren’t going to make any gains (or losses) if you aren’t committed to putting the work in! Also, be clear about what you want to accomplish in training. A trainer can only help you achieve your goals if he or she is clear on what they are. Are you trying to lose weight? Bulk up? Feel healthier? Different goals require different strategies – and just like people are not one size fits all, neither is training.

Perhaps above all, your trainer should be upbeat, motivational, and committed to helping you become a better version of yourself.what-doesn-t-kill-you-makes-you-stronger-p-source

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You check-in on Facebook- Don’t you think you are worth checking in with too?!

4503668346848746_cceW7Zn0_cSo, you all have been at it for one week!  You are seven days into your New Year’s resolutions and fitness goals!  Since many of you set goals that by their very nature will take a while to achieve, it is important to review your goal progress from time to time to make sure that you really are progressing and not just going around in circles.  It is also  crucial to take a moment and recognize and celebrate your small successes!  Setting mini-goals will help you keep moving forward and give you something to celebrate instead of waiting until you reach the big ultimate goal (then you can REALLY party)!

Your self check-in should include:

Measurement: The method of measurement should be established at the start of the goal setting process, along with the baseline. By determining your current goal  measurement (weight, speed, # of workouts, etc.) and comparing it with your starting point, you will be able to see whether or not you have progressed towards your goal.

Relevance: Goals are established based on your situation at the time of setting them. Has your situation relevant to this changed significantly? If there has been a significant change, is it still necessary or are you still able to achieve this goal?

Resources: Are resources  (money, time, information, support) adequate? Is this holding you back from achieving your goal or do you find that you are really struggling?

THEN…

think about each of the following…

  • Is this goal easier or harder than expected?
  • Can you take on more, or do you need to take smaller steps?
  • Overall, are you happy with your progress? If you are, then great! If not, work out why and fix the problem.
  • What are you doing well towards this goal? …and keep doing it!
  • What do you need to do better to achieve this goal? …and do better!
  • Are you enjoying this goal, or at least excited about the end result? Reward yourself for achieving mini-goals and milestones to keep you on your journey. Remember, the end result needs to be something you really want.
  • Have you been honest and ethical in your progress towards this goal? Your highly moral sub-conscious won’t let you achieve goals if they have unethical components or if you haven’t been honest with yourself. Is this holding you back?
  • Are you afraid of failure?…

I am incredibly impressed and proud of the steps I have seen many of the Northern Grrrls take this past week in achieving their goals!  Keep it up everyone and keep working so hard!  I know you all have it in you!

adapted from http://www.achieve-goal-setting-success.com

Hey Fat Girl, I got something to say to you…

I had to re-post this.  This is the time of year when I like to remind you fellow fitness fanatics that while the New Year’s resolution gym crowd can be frustrating,  those very people need  encouragement and support- not your attitude of superiority.  When you encounter newbies out there in the coming days at the gym or the pool or wherever… Be patient with them and the people who are clueless in your workout classes. Each of these individuals are starting a new scary journey and have their own challenges to overcome. Show them how to use the treadmill. Tell them what equipment they need for class if the instructor is busy. Smile at them.  Make them feel welcome in your gym so that they want to return the next day.  Become inspired by them!

Hey Fat Girl, Image

Yes, you. The one feigning to not see me when we cross paths on the running track. The one not even wearing sports gear, breathing heavy. You’re slow, you breathe hard and your efforts at moving forward make you cringe. 

You cling shyly to the furthest corridor, sometimes making larger loops on the gravel ring by the track just so you’re not on it. You sweat so much that your hair is all wet. You rarely stay for more than 20 minutes at a time, and you look exhausted when you leave to go back home. You never talk to anyone. I’ve got something I’d like to say to you. 

You are awesome. 

If you’d look me in the eye only for an instant, you would notice the reverence and respect I have for you. The adventure you have started is tremendous; it leads to a better health, to renewed confidence and to a brand new kind of freedom. The gifts you will receive from running will far exceed the gigantic effort it takes you to show up here, to face your fears and to bravely set yourself in motion, in front of others. 

You have already begun your transformation. You no longer accept this physical state of numbness and passivity. You have taken a difficult decision, but one that holds so much promise. Every hard breath you take is actually a tad easier than the one before, and every step is ever so slightly lighter. Each push forward leaves the former person you were in your wake, creating room for an improved version, one that is stronger, healthier and forward-looking, one who knows that anything is possible.

You’re a hero to me. And, if you’d take off the blaring headphones and put your head up for more than a second or two, you would notice that the other runners you cross, the ones that probably make you feel so inadequate, stare in awe at your determination. They, of all people, know best where you are coming from. They heard the resolutions of so many others, who vowed to pick up running and improve their health, “starting next week”. Yet, it is YOU who runs alongside, who digs from deep inside to find the strength to come here, and to come back again.

You are a runner, and no one can take that away from you. You are relentlessly moving forward. You are stronger than even you think, and you are about to be amazed by what you can do. One day, very soon, maybe tomorrow, you’ll step outside and marvel at your capabilities. You will not believe your own body, you will realize that you can do this. And a new horizon will open up for you. You are a true inspiration.

I bow to you.

See original post on Flintland…

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Success in Weight Loss… Do the Math and Get Results!

Keeping a Food Diary Can Double Your Weight Loss

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If you are taking in more calories, fats, sugars, and carbs than you are burning, weight loss will be a challenge. Period. You can workout 5 times a day, but if you are eating more calories than you are burning, you will not see the scale move (except for maybe up). There are several online apps and programs that can help you record your meals.

My favorite 100% free app & website is MyFitnessPal. It will work on your laptop, iPad, iPhone, Blackberry, Android, or Windows phone. It has over 2 million foods in the database, provides you with a support community and the ability to “friend” your workout buddies to help each other stay on track. You can also enter your workouts into the system to track input vs. output each day.

Since we are on the topic of the additional importance of tracking your activity and workouts… let’s talk about that for a moment. There are a TON of apps and websites that will track your activities and caloric output like MyFitnessPal, but not all allow you to track nutrition. Here is a list of just a few that I have experience with:

Nike+: This is the program I started with years ago simply because they were sort of the only game in town. Nike+ works both with GPS on your phone or Nike+ watch or you can go old school and use the pod in your Nike shoes (if you don’t have Nike shoes, you can purchase a little pouch for your laces). Nike has improved their Nike+ system quite a bit and their website is interactive with lots of challenges and colorful graphics. The biggest drawback I think for Nike+ is if you are running it off your iPhone or other device it will drain power very quickly as my friend found while training for Grandma’s Marathon. It also can be quirky if you live in a rural area with a lot of dead cellular spots.

Endomondo: This is a website/ app that has both a free and paid version. It acts as a personal trainer and social fitness partner. Endomondo is ideal for running, cycling, walking and any other distance-based activity for which you want GPS. This program too has the ability to participate in challenges with your friends or strangers and tracks your caloric output as well as mileage etc. The paid version is not worth the money as far as I am concerned. The best feature of Endomondo is that it will sync with Garmin and Polar devices and also will connect to your MyFitnessPal account which eliminates duplicate entry!

MapMyRun (or MapMyRide / MapMyWalk): Powered by MapMyFitness, Inc. these apps have been selected as About.com 2012 Readers’ Choice Awards Best Running App and Best App for Walkers, respectively. Bonus part of these applications are that they allow you to seek out new routes if you are in an unfamilar area. Again it has a community, nutrition component called the Nutrition Dashboard to understand your recommended calorie and nutrient intake and track your eating habits. One stop shopping! The mobile app has the same issues as Endomondo and Nike+ however if you live in an area where your workouts may take you in and out of cell service which will affect the GPS. You can also use this on your laptop, iPhone, Blackberry, and Android.

Garmin / Polar: These are the most expensive option as you will need to have the GPS watch in order to use their sites. There are a number of huge benefits in investing in a satellite based watch and tracking system in a rural area. Garmin Connect and Polarpersonaltrainer.com both allow users access to a community-based website for runners, cyclists and outdoor enthusiasts who track their activities with Garmin devices.

I truly cannot stress enough the importance of tracking your food consumption. Every person I have ever worked with who struggles with weight loss is taking in more than they are burning. It is easy to become deluded about the food that you are eating. Something seems healthy because it is whole grains? Or lots of fruit is good for you right? Wrong. A few cookies is no big deal… etc. You will be shocked when you start tracking everything- how quickly it adds up. Oh and don’t forget what you DRINK. Alcohol packs a ridiculously huge punch in terms of calories and sugars. Soft drinks and fancy coffees also count for your daily calories. I have known people who don’t count their drinks at all or who drastically underestimate how much alcohol they have consumed because they don’t want to admit they just slugged back two days worth of calories in beer. DON’T DO THIS. You are only cheating yourself and will become quickly frustrated as to why you don’t see the results that you want. Please don’t set yourself up to fail- you deserve better than that.

I am a huge proponent of WeightWatchers since it is the program I started with and had success on. Whatever website/app/watch you choose – the main goal is to find one that works for you! Find a software or method that works for you – even if it is a plain old notebook. And do not get me wrong… I am the first person to agree that skinny does not mean fit & strong. However, most individuals have fitness and weight loss goals that go hand-in-hand. So get going and start tracking! And stick with it for at least a month… I bet that you will be surprised how the results begin to change!

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