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Getting Help From A Fitness Professional

Need help with a new physical activity routine? Don't know where to start? Seeking the help of a trained professional can get you on the right track to beginning a safe and effective fitness plan.

There are two types of professional help to consider — initial consultation and ongoing training.

Initial Consultation

A free (or relatively inexpensive) one-time consultation with a fitness professional is often given when you join a health club or gym. This consultation involves assessing your current fitness level and setting up a program for you. The fitness professional should work to learn about you — your likes and dislikes, physical limitations, concerns — in order to personalize a program. Don't be afraid to ask questions like these:

  • What exercises won't make my knees hurt?
  • How does that machine work?
  • I don't understand; will you explain that again?
  • Seeking the support of a professional trainer can help you learn the fitness techniques to achieve the results you desire. A personal trainer can also help you explore what the facility has to offer. It is a great way to get your questions answered and feel better about the physical activity routine you are about to begin.

    Ongoing Training

    Working with a fitness professional one-on-one for multiple sessions is another option. This is often done at a fitness facility, but some personal trainers will also come to your home or office. In order to get the most benefit from this experience, you'll want to consider the following:

  • Certification of your trainer. Make sure your fitness professional is certified by a nationally recognized accredited organization. This is important to make certain you are receiving safe recommendations.
  • Special Needs. Your trainer should have you fill out a health history questionnaire, and he or she should also inquire about any health conditions (e.g., bad knees, heart disease, chronic back pain) you have. Make certain this trainer can meet your individual needs.
  • Monetary cost. Rates for these services vary, so don't be afraid to"shop around" to find something that will fit into your budget. Before you begin working with the fitness professional, ask for their billing and cancellation policies in writing.
  • Support. Do you enjoy spending time with this person? Does he or she make you feel comfortable? Are you motivated by this person to follow through with the routine? Support is a key component of reaching your weight loss goals. You want your personal trainer to be one of your support troops.
  • Intimidated?

    If going into a fitness facility or using exercise equipment is intimidating for you, consider these remedies to lessen the uneasiness:

  • Find a workout buddy to join you. Having a friend there to support you and go through the experiences with you can put your mind at ease. You can often get personal training sessions at a reduced rate if you train with a partner.
  • Go it alone initially. Take a week or more to get a feel for the fitness facility before getting assistance from a fitness professional. This will allow you to get comfortable with your surroundings before trying unfamiliar activities.
  • Avoid peak times. The intimidation factor increases when the gym is full of other exercisers, who appear to know exactly what they are doing. This may also hamper with your self-esteem or body image.
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