What makes Personal Training Personal?

By Jen Morin – Seekonk, MA

Would you consider working with a personal trainer a “luxury” or a service that could allow you to reach those goals you’ve been trying so hard to complete?  For those who are struggling with losing weight, decreasing their risks for heart disease, or improving their bone density, working with a personal trainer may be what it takes to get the job done.  The fact is personal training includes creating a program based on the individual’s goals, needs and abilities, which creates a tailor-made program–hence why it is “personal.”

Many individuals can identify a reason, or reasons, why they have not been successful in achieving their fitness and health-related goals. Walter Medeiros, head personal trainer for Total Fitness Clubs in Seekonk, MA,  sums it up best: “Most people work with a personal trainer for one or more of the following areas:  time management, accountability, education, safety, and motivation.”   Regardless of your fitness level (beginner exerciser or advanced), working with a trainer will help you overcome obstacles you may be experiencing in one of these areas.

1. Time Management –  A personal trainer can help you manage your time more efficiently in the gym by creating workouts that take half the time but still get the job done.  Trainers can also identify time in your day when you could get in a little more activity that could add to your overall total activity for the week.

2. Accountability – Sticking to a fitness program is half the battle. Scheduling that time with a trainer will force you to commit to that time. Trainers will often follow up with you after workouts or before to see how your progress has been going and keep you accountable to your plan.

3. Education – In the fitness industry, there are always new and exciting exercises being shown, and new equipment being demonstrated.  Many people will try the latest and greatest fitness trend, which results in frustration or even injury.  It is the trainer’s job to set their clients up for success by matching them with a program suitable for their level and needs, which ultimately will keep them safe.

4. Safety – Proper progression of a fitness program to keep a program safe and effective is an area that many clients are unaware of.  Most people will follow programs from the fitness magazines, online resources, or a workout their “buddy” gave them, but again, is it suitable for their level and needs?   When working with a trainer, the trainer will start off by assessing your fitness level and talk to you about goals and what you have done in the past, all of which figures into the overall fitness program.

5. Motivation – This is the biggest reason why most don’t make it to the gym, or don’t get up in time to work out in the morning. Your personal trainer is your biggest cheerleader, even on the days when you know you can’t give 100%, they’ll take whatever they can get and commend you for it. Trainers are equipped to work with you at any level–physically and mentally to help you achieve your goals.

So what benefit do you see from working with a PT? Does it fit into one of the categories mentioned? When hiring a personal trainer, make sure your trainer is certified by an accredited and reputable organization.  Accredited personal training certification programs through organizations such as the National Strength and Conditioning Association, American College of Sports Medicine, American Council on Exercise and National Academy of Sports Medicine include course content that take into account the individual’s needs and abilities, not just exercises. When we take into account the other areas in which trainers assist their clients in attaining their goals, the exercises are only one piece of the puzzle.

In MTTI’s Personal Fitness Trainer program, students not only learn the foundational elements to exercise programming, but also assessments, client interviewing skills, wellness coaching, and working with special populations. These skills are taught in a hands-on environment where the students work on their interviewing, coaching and exercise instruction. Skills that ensure that personal training stays personal, giving each client a tailor-made program and not a cookie-cutter workout.

Jen Morin MS, ACSM-RCEP is a Personal Fitness Training (PFT) Instructor at MTTI Education for Employment and a Registered Clinical Exercise Physiologist through ACSM.  She created the PFT program curriculum, which prepares students for the Functional Movement Screen and ACSM Personal Trainer Certification. She has 18 years’ experience in the fitness industry as a personal trainer, group exercise instructor and program director.


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