As you know, I’ve been going to the gym lately, peddling away on my bike and watching all the men walk by…for scientific research and blog writing purposes only, of course! And I’ve noticed another practice that I think is worth mentioning and somewhat disturbing. Personal trainers who may lack the expertise one would assume when handing over a check for $50 or more an hour.
Over the last few weeks, I’ve watched trainers take their clients through the same routines day after day – no matter what their age, physical condition or fitness level. I’ve watched women in their fifties and sixties off balance and struggling to lunge across the length of the gym floor with a huge exercise ball (must we do every conceivable exercise with this confounded ball just because we can?), trying to hold it in their outstretched arms with grimaced looks of disbelief, as if to say, “Can this be good for me?”
Yesterday I watched an older woman on her hands and knees lifting her leg and flexing her foot parallel to the ceiling (you remember this butt buster), while her back dipped and swayed and her body became more off center, elbows bending under her weight while her very expensive trainer stood satisfactorily by counting off her sets. As though completing 30 of these diabolical lifts was more important than doing one of them right. I had visions of this woman sitting at home later that evening dialing her chiropractor with a heating pad strapped to her back.
So, what’s the lesson? All personal trainers are not alike and good ones are probably harder to find than you might imagine – especially if you’re compromised in any way.
Before taking on a personal trainer be prepared to ask lots of questions and make sure they ask you plenty of questions as well. There are a plethora of certifications PT’s can obtain these days, and with all those letters behind their names who’s to know what any of it means? (Sadly, you can obtain exercise certification over the internet with no more expertise than qualifying for a VISA). So, what’s a girl to do?
The following link provides excellent recommendations about selecting and effectively using a personal trainer from the American College of Sports Medicine.
And here are some additional tips for making the best use of your time in the gym.
Remember – move to feel great and find the intrinsic joy in exercise!