By Carrie Beth Summers, MS, ACSM-CPT (Republished with permission from “The Healthy Weigh” blog)
I often hear the question, “Do I really need to work with a personal trainer? I think I know what I need to do.” My answer usually goes something like this: Do dentists do their own dental work? Do surgeons perform surgeries on themselves? Absolutely not! Regardless of how much knowledge you have in the Fitness department, working with a Fitness professional will help you accomplish the results you are looking for.
When exercising on your own, there is one vital part of the process that you cannot do alone. Analyzing form and proper technique is not only important for overall safety, it will help you achieve the results you are working for. This not only applies to strength training but can be applicable to cardiovascular and mind body exercise as well. Joseph Pilates, the creator of the Pilates Method, stated simply, “A few well balanced movements, properly performed in a balanced sequence, are worth hours of doing sloppy calisthenics or forced contortion.”
The hardest part of a workout is usually showing up to the gym. Most people I work with have admitted that while they may pass up a group class or open gym time, they will show up to an appointment they have specifically paid for. A fitness professional can provide accountability and motivation that will keep you coming back consistently.
Fitness professionals can also help you to track your results and help you progress accordingly. It is all too easy to fall into a routine at the gym that feels comfortable, when exercise is meant to keep your body guessing and working to achieve the next level. When a certain amount of weight becomes easy, you need to increase it. When a certain pace doesn’t feel like a challenge, it’s time to go a little faster or add some incline. When you work with someone who can record your results and see when it’s time to do a little more, you will see results faster.
Finding the right fitness professional for you and your schedule is key to your success. Look for someone who has a certification from a credible source (such as ACSM, ACE, NASM or AFAA) and is available when it fits into your schedule. Also make sure that your personalities are a match. Don’t be afraid to ask for a session before committing to a package or membership- and if it doesn’t work out, ask for someone else! There are plenty of different kinds of Fitness professionals out there for your individual needs- from Pilates and yoga to strength and high intensity interval training. When you find the right fit, plan your workout sessions in advance- and take note of the cancellation policies and fees. Remember, fitness professionals are here to help you work smarter-not harder! Get ready to see some great results.
Carrie Summers is an Exercise Physiologist for the Duke Diet and Fitness Center. Carrie has a Master’s Degree in Exercise Science with a concentration in Cardiopulmonary Rehabilitation from Appalachian State University. She began her career working as an Exercise Physiologist in Cardiac Rehabilitation at Iredell Memorial Hospital and recently transitioned to the Duke Diet and Fitness Center from the Cardiac Diagnostic Unit at Duke Hospital. She is an ACSM certified Personal Trainer and an AFAA certified Group Fitness Instructor. She is currently pursuing a Power Pilates Certification.
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