Issue 16 • August 2013

Training For Success

There was a time when personal trainers worked only with the rich or famous. However, with a national focus on preventative health care and with the rising obesity epidemic, the general population is looking for health and fitness guidance. Currently, more and more people are looking to hire the services of a fitness professional.

Beyond general health care concerns, there are a number of particular reasons to hire a trainer.

Do you have specific sport related goals? For example, if you want to improve your tennis game, there are unique exercises and drills that can help your performance on the courts.

Do you want to avoid injury? If you have not worked out in a long time, a trainer can help you make an injury free transition back into the gym.

Do you have medical limitations? There are various medical conditions and medications that can alter what your ideal exercise routine. A trainer can help you tailor your program to meet all of these needs.

For me, however, the greatest service a professional offers is motivation and accountability.

Think about it. Getting fit is hard. If it were easy, everybody would be in great shape. Having a professional by your side to guide you can make the journey a lot easier. Even people at the very top of their game use coaches to help motivate them to be their absolute best.

Finding Mr. or Ms. Right

So, what should you look for when hiring a trainer? First, you want someone who is certified. Look for certification from organizations, such as American Council on Exercise (ACE) or Aerobics and Fitness Association of America (AFAA).

Next, just like in any good relationship, look for chemistry. If a drill sergeant approach makes you cry, a militant type of trainer will not be good for you. Make sure he/she is willing to listen to YOUR goals and find the best way to incorporate fitness into YOUR lifestyle. Everyone is different and has different needs and motivations. Most fitness professionals offer a free initial session so that you can determine if they demonstrate the knowledge and if you both have the right chemistry to make the relationship work.

Starting out

During your initial session, you will talk about your goals, your current lifestyle and medical history. The trainer will typically do measurements, such as weight, body fat, etc. and possibly a few fitness assessments to establish a starting point. Your goals, lifestyle, health history, and assessments come together to form a plan of action.

Together you can figure out the best way to reach your goal, whether it is to lose 10 pounds or run a 7 minute mile.

The costs, great and small

The cost of professional fitness training can vary greatly. However, you have to remember it is an investment in your health, and that is priceless. One way to reduce the cost is to find a partner. If you have a friend with similar goals and a similar fitness level, share the cost of the sessions.

Also, many companies will help supplement the fee as part of their wellness programs. The long term health payoff is much greater than the immediate financial sacrifice.

You may be wondering how you will benefit from a live expert when there is so much information available on the World Wide Web. Well, I just entered the word “exercise” into my search engine and received 531,000,000 hits. That’s a lot of sites and a lot of advice to filter through!

While the internet can be a great resource, it is at time an unverified resource. For me, nothing can replace my sweet coach yelling inspiration in my ear. In fact, I seldom work out without a professional, to correct my form when I start to tire and to keep me going when I really want to quit.

So what are you waiting for? Talk to a professional trainer today about your health and fitness goals. To quote the amazing Dr. Suess, “Today is your day!

Your mountain is waiting, So… get on your way!

Jackie Culver is a motivational speaker, AFAA certified personal trainer and President of JOC Fitness—a personal training, corporate wellness and nutritional counseling company. She is the featured trainer in five exercise DVDs and oversees fitness programs for over 7000 children in Northeast Florida as Executive Director of the Shannon Miller Foundation. Find out more about Jackie at

Jackie Culver

Jackie Culver

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