1. No. There are many beautifully illustrated books, and videos
available to demonstrate how to properly perform exercises. There are also personalized fitness training programs available.
If you have a membership in a gym, ask a staff member to direct you to the person who can show you how to use the equipment or give you guidance in proper form.
Find a friend, someone I call a “body buddy,” that you can work out with and support each other.
2. Yes. You may choose to hire a personal fitness trainer for motivation, guidance, instruction, while recovering from an injury, sport-specific training, to monitor your progress, and to hold you accountable.
Clearly state your goals to the trainer. If you have not defined your goals, then there is no way to measure your progress in reaching them.
If you are not getting the results you are working and paying for, get another trainer. There are a lot more where that person came from. Sometimes, the only thing making gains is the trainer’s pocket.
A good personal fitness trainer will evaluate you, help determine whether your goals are realistic, and give you an idea as to how long it may take to reach them.
When I was a trainer in the '80s, I gave my clients a money-back guarantee -- that is, if they followed the program. I never had to pay a dime. I doubt that you will find that guarantee anywhere.
I didn't hold my clients' hands. My first meeting with the client was a consultation and evaluation. Thereafter, we scheduled our first session in which I showed them how to use the equipment for specific exercises, taught them proper form, and gave them a program to follow.
I met with them once each week for the first month, every other week the second month, and once each month thereafter. During those sessions, I evaluated and made changes in their workout, answered questions, observed their form and addressed any problems.
There are some excellent trainers out there; but, don't waste time or money on a trainer who is either unable to help you achieve your goals, or has no incentive for you to do so.
Unfortunately, granting a certificate or license to someone does not automatically instill good ethics, honesty, or competence. If this was not true, there would be no need for lawyers like myself.
We all want to believe that someone providing a service to us has pure motives. However, is it possible that there could be a conflict of interests in you achieving your goals in the fastest and most efficient time possible?
Is it possible that a trainer's interest in a steady cash flow of longer duration could conflict with your wallet and your desire to make measurable, timely gains?
You can bet your booties it is possible!
Being a savvy consumer and holding service providers such as personal fitness trainers to high standards benefits everyone.
I believe it is important to take personal responsibility for your own health and fitness from the start.
Oprah Winfrey is a perfect example of having the finest trainers in the world, a personal chef, dietitian, and millions of fans cheering her on. Yet, we all watched the repeated failures.
Guidance and encouragement are great to get you started; but, there are no crutches needed once you make a permanent lifestyle change. That should be your goal -- no more training wheels!
Writer/attorney, Bonnie Gabaldon, is the owner/developer of the health & fitness website, BodiesOfEvidence.com.
Bonnie graduated summa cum laude from Oregon State University with honors. She is a member of Beta Beta Beta Biological Honor Society and Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society.
She researched and authored a significant undergraduate independent study paper, The Effect of Female Hormones on Elite Female Athletes During the First Trimester of Pregnancy.
Bonnie attended the University of New Mexico School of Law and Georgetown Law Center, and has been a licensed attorney since 2003.