Posts Tagged ‘personal training’

Are They Working Hard or Hardly Working?

A personal trainer should be very easy to talk to, smiling, dressed well and appear to be organized and prepared. The personal trainer should be paying attention to the client, what they are saying, what they are doing and how they are doing it. They should be providing feedback and motivating the client. The personal trainer should be inspiring and engaged with the client at all times. Their tone of voice and body language should be motivating and attractive. They should be putting the “personal” in personal training. That is what you are paying for!

A personal trainer should be very easy to talk to, smiling, dressed well and appear to be organized and prepared. The personal trainer should be paying attention to the client, what they are saying, what they are doing and how they are doing it. They should be providing feedback and motivating the client. The personal trainer should be inspiring and engaged with the client at all times. Their tone of voice and body language should be motivating and attractive. They should be putting the “personal” in personal training. That is what you are paying for!

It has been some time since I have put my thoughts into writing but today I saw something that inspired me to write this short article about the things you should be looking for in a personal trainer. 

For the past ten years I have had the opportunity to work with, manage and teach many aspiring health and fitness professionals. In this time, I have also been a witness to many practices that I will never understand and today was one of them. When I exercise I tend to keep to myself and observe everyone else. I do this for a couple of reasons; one of them being that I am a lifelong student and I am always watching people to learn from them and their successes and mistakes. The other is that I have had the pleasure of observing some of the best and some of the worst fitness professionals in the industry.  

Today, I witnessed something that I still cannot wrap my head around. When I am teaching aspiring fitness professionals the one thing I spend a fair bit of time on is safety. Today I witnessed a complete disregard for safety by a certified personal trainer. While working with his client and spotting her on a dumbbell flat chest press, he spotted from the elbows (which is the first mistake). When spotting his client, she failed and the dumbbell fell on her face. The part that I am still struggling with is that within a minute, he attempted to spot her again from the elbows, and again, the weight fell on her face. First things first, when spotting any dumbbell press, you should always spot from the wrists or hands so that when your client does fatigue, you do not push the weight into their body or face like I witnessed today. This is one of the most commonly made mistakes in a fitness facility but any educated fitness professional should know this. Secondly, he did it twice!  

There are an increasingly large number of people seeking personal trainers in North America. With this demand, the industry has been exploding with new theories of training, new certifications, new styles of training, new corporate fitness facilities and more and more boutique style training facilities. Before you sign up and purchase personal training, there are some things you might want to consider.  

  1. Age, Maturity, Engagement, Body Language, Appearance and Attire 

Something that is not always easy to determine prior to purchasing personal training is the age and maturity level of the fitness professional. But if you have the opportunity, it is always a good idea to observe the personal trainers while they are exercising in the facility and while they are engaged with a client. This will reveal very important information regarding the personal trainer’s perspective on exercise and their approach to personal training. Look for things like whether the personal trainer has their shoes tied up, are they leaning on equipment or sitting down when their client is exercising, are they observing their client’s performance from all angles and viewpoints, are they smiling and making eye contact with their client, are they carrying a coffee while they are training their client, do they look like they just rolled out of bed and were late getting to the client’s session, are they carrying their client’s file and are they writing down information, are they actually watching their client’s technique or are they looking at other gym-goers, are they motivating and talking with their client? In between sets are they being personable or are they staring off into the distance, are they offering feedback to their client? Does the client look like they are enjoying themselves? Are they working hard or hardly working?  

The answers to these questions will tell you the quality of the personal trainer you are going to get. The personal trainer should be very easy to talk to, smiling, dressed well and appear to be organized and prepared. The personal trainer should be paying attention to the client, what they are saying, what they are doing and how they are doing it. They should be providing feedback and motivating the client. The personal trainer should be inspiring and engaged with the client at all times. Their tone of voice and body language should be motivating and attractive. They should be putting the “personal” in personal training. That is what you are paying for! 

  1. Education/Certifications 

Aside from the personal side of personal training, you want a personal trainer who knows what they are doing. In the industry today there are more certifications than we know what to do with. There are certifications that you can achieve by attending a weekend course, certifications that require a minimum of two years of post secondary education before you can achieve them, certifications that you can achieve online, certifications that are one day workshops and certifications that specific to a type of equipment. What you want to look for in a personal trainer are certifications that are theory based because the theory-based certifications typically require formal education prior to attempting the certification. Some of the more common theory based certifications are CSEP – CPT, NSCA – CPT, NSCA – CSCS and the YMCA Fitness Education certification. These are certifications that require education and mentorship hours to achieve. This means that they have formal education in health and fitness in addition to their personal training certification. Keep in mind that just because someone is wearing a shirt that says “Personal Trainer” does not mean they are certified. I was a “Personal Trainer” for a year at a well renowned fitness facility without any certifications 

Most fitness facilities will post their personal trainer’s credentials for you to see. Google what the certifications are or the requirements to obtain them to see just how qualified your personal trainer is! 

Ideally, your personal trainer should have formal education (post secondary) in health and fitness as well as a theory-based certification. I am not saying that any personal trainer who does not have this is not high quality (I currently do not have a theory based certification but I do have 10 years of post secondary education in exercise science and 16 years of work experience in the field) but it is something to consider!  

  1. Walking the Walk 

Another questions to ask is, does your personal trainer practice what they preach? Are they coaching you to do something that they cannot do themselves? If this is the case they might not be best suited for you. Think about your stockbroker. If they were encouraging you to purchase a specific stock, but they would not purchase it themselves, would you buy it? If your doctor prescribed a medication for you but they would never take it themselves, would you be confident in taking it? Find out what your personal trainer does in their spare time, their hobbies and interests. This will tell you a lot about whether they will be able to inspire you and motivate you to health and wellness.

In closing, a real fitness professional will be professional. They will treat their job as a profession. They will design workouts and programs specific to your needs and your abilities. They will contact you on your off days and see how you are feeling. They will ask you questions about you and listen to your answers and offer advice when needed. They will be YOUR personal trainer and make you feel that way. They will inspire you to be better, to do more, to achieve goals that you have never thought possible. They will educate you and teach you why you are doing what they are telling you to do. And lastly, they will encourage you and guide you to the results you want to see while making sure you are getting there safely. 

If you have any questions or comments I would be happy to hear from you. Check out my website at www.mohawkcollege.ca/corefusion, follow me on twitter @nickjpetrella and @corfusion1, add me to facebook or email me at nicholas.petrella@mohawkcollege.ca. I would be happy to hear from you! 

Fitness not only changed my life, it gave me direction and purpose.

Juan Carlos Flores – Fitness has not only changed my life, it gave me direction and purpose.

Who I am today

I have as of last week completed a two-year Health, Wellness and Fitness program at Mohawk College and I anticipate graduating in June with honors. My current interests consist of running and weightlifting, I have re-kindled my love for soccer and I continue to play regularly. My goals include taking up MMA as a hobby, and to eventually participate in a marathon.

I am currently employed as a Conditioning Coach with Core Fusion Athlete Development and Conditioning. My job as a Conditioning Coach is to assess my clients on an individual basis and then create and implement a periodized program according to their unique needs. Baselines are established in order to systematically monitor progress. As I mentioned earlier my availability has recently opened up, I am currently accepting new clients, teams and groups to train.

My Childhood and Sport

I grew up in Hamilton Ontario; I was quite active as a child always running around participating in whatever sport or activity I could. I remember taking swimming and diving lessons as a young child and I was actually a pretty good swimmer until one day while vacationing in Mexico I got caught in an undertow. That was it, I was scared of the water for a time and to be quite honest with you, I still don’t enjoy swimming as much as I did back then.

My parents didn’t really have the money growing up to enroll me in other sports but I played just about every sport in which my elementary school had a team. In high school I tried out for Jr. football and made the team but never actually played. The following year I decided to stick to soccer as I enjoyed it much more than football. I was not great, but good enough that I got to play. That year a wrestling team was introduced and thought, why not? To my surprise, I was a pretty good wrestler and won gold in just about every tournament I participated in. I remember winning City Championships and then placing second in the Golden Horseshoe Area Conference (GHAC). That was the end of sport for a very long time in my life.

A New Beginning

I cannot truthfully say I have always been passionate about fitness or active living. There was a dark time in my life in my early twenty’s where all I did was work and come home. I was the epitome of a sedentary individual, I did nothing but relax and enjoy “Good” food. I knew I wasn’t in the best of shape and people that I hadn’t seen for sometime would say to me “you look healthy” but they would stutter in the process. That was their way of saying you got fat in a polite manner. I stand 5’5, and at my worst I was approximately 190 pounds, I was borderline obese. I knew I had to change and that was the point that made me reconsider what I was doing and slowly I managed to change my life around. I became more active, and at times I was hitting the gym twice a day. I was addicted to the new me!

Fitness not only changed my life, it gave me direction and purpose. I like to believe it starts with our desire to look better, but fitness has contributed to so much more for me. In July of 2011 I found myself unemployed with no job in sight. I had received a nice severance pay and was uncertain of what to do with my life. I flirted with the idea of returning to school and I researched various courses of which I was interested in. I was accepted to a few programs but something inside me pushed me toward health and wellness. I accepted and started in September of that year, the last two years of my life have been nothing shy of extraordinary.

No End in Sight

I am by no means a big guy but I know that I have made strides in my physique and I have never felt better. I am stronger today then I was in previous years. I can run faster and greater distances than I could ever imagine. There is, and always will be room for improvement but I am by no means in any rush to get to the finish line, I believe this to be a life long process. What I do know for sure is that as I age, I will continue to be the very best that I can be.

In terms of mental and spiritual awareness, I have grown exponentially. Now more than ever I understand and value the importance of mental and spiritual wellness and it’s effect on health and longevity. I have come to realize that your mental state makes up a great part of everything you do because there will always be struggles. I have seen my fair share of setbacks, but those that know me well will tell you that I always have a big smile on my face. I believe that if you maintain a positive attitude and carry a positive outlook, the world is a better place. I realize it is not a perfect world, but the truth is that the power to make it better starts with you, and that is exactly how you need to approach everyday.

I strongly believe that I do what I do because I am never truly satisfied with where I am. I am happy with what I have accomplished and where it has taken me, however I will always strive to be better. It is my opinion that if we become satisfied with where we are, something inside of us has already died. I want to live the rest of my life knowing I couldn’t have done any better, the only thing that drives me, is me.

My Strength

I have been blessed with a really amazing family and must admit that I would not be in the position that I am now without them. I grew up with my aunt, uncle, grandfather and sister. To me they are the fantastic four, they have never lost faith in my abilities, even when I was uncertain of myself. I am eternally grateful to them because they seen in me what I have become, long before I could even fathom it. I couldn’t have done it without them, and I love them to pieces.

My professors at Mohawk College have done a tremendous job of mentoring and molding me into the professional I aspire to be. As a Conditioning Coach with Core Fusion I have been very fortunate to work with some amazing people who have guided me throughout my tenure as a student and coach. Thank you Nick, Chantal, Mark, Kim, Chris, Danielle, Sarah and Bryan.

I have been privileged enough since the summer of 2012 to be writing for Lifestyle & Strength. Matt is the website administrator and has been very supportive of me since I met him last year. I believe he has definitely influenced my growth as person. Furthermore he has fortified my passion for fitness and helped me find a way to reach people through his website, thank you Matt.

Do I Take The Red or Blue Pill?

I think when I first started on my journey the lack of knowledge and overwhelming misinformation was confusing and frustrating. I have to say this was the hardest thing for me to overcome. Everyone is an expert but no one has a solution. My solution – you have to find what works for you and become your own expert. It is trial and error and you must fall flat on your face before you find it.

Past Accomplishments

When it comes to fitness I know that losing an excess of 30 pounds was a feeling of great relief and satisfaction. I can now run 10k in under 45 minutes, to me that was a tremendous accomplishment. In January I enrolled a few of my friends as well as myself in “My Hamilton Amazing Race”. We ended up placing first; it was an awesome experience I will not soon forget. My current workouts range from week to week. I write my own programs and I enjoy mixing things up, I have recently completed a power phase. The next phase I complete will be more of an endurance phase with high repetitions and low rest periods.

My Philosophies of Training

I am not a big believer in supplementation and therefore I do not consume them regularly. I have supplemented in the past but I don’t anymore, I am a believer in eating wholesome foods. My meal plan is currently under reconstruction as my routine has changed, and I am no longer in school. My philosophy however is still the same; eat when you’re hungry, just make sure it’s wholesome. What we eat directly affects how we function, so I eat as healthy as possible to ensure I am fueling effectively. That’s not to say I don’t have vices, but I know the difference between a lapse and a relapse and as such I enjoy those meals where I can let loose.

My current fitness goal is to increase my flexibility to improve my range of motion. I have incorporated some corrective exercises into my routines in an effort to improve posture and functionality. Stretching is another component that was non-existent for a time but now I practice with regularity. I have in the past few months started to do some power lifting and I am in the process of improving upon that as well.

Parting Words

There was a time when I lacked the motivation or desire to do anything for my health. I know that many people feel exactly how I did back then, some of which may be reading this right now. To them I say; we are all scared in the beginning, the unknown quickly becomes familiar and that which you thought you knew becomes a distant memory. So fight to become the person that you want to be, it will be a struggle but it may very well be the greatest investment of your life, live with no regrets.

You must learn to be resilient and thick skinned because you will experience the doubters and negativity that comes with progress and success. Focus your efforts solely on what you can control, and even then do not dwell on your tribulations. May your memory be short term but that you can remember how you started your journey. Everyday is a new day, a blank sheet for you to write your story; we all have 24 hours in a day, sleep when absolutely necessary but not on your dreams.

Every means of communication with regards to social media is a tool; use it to find like-minded people. Surround yourself with people that are better than you, be a sponge and show humility. I have devoted all my social media outlets as a means to network myself. I am always happy to help wherever possible, please feel free to follow, or add me; I will never shut you out.

I want to leave you with a quote which I believe absolutely defines me. At times I feel like I have lived two lives with everything that I’ve been through. Without further adieu … “A man who is a master of patience is a master of everything else”

I want to leave you with a quote which I believe absolutely defines me. At times I feel like I have lived two lives with everything that I’ve been through. Without further adieu …
“A man who is a master of patience is a master of everything else”
 
Contact Info:
Juan-Carlos-Flores@mohawkcollege.ca
Twitter @_flofitness or Carlos Flores Facebook Carlos Flores or floresc4@yahoo.ca
Body Mechanics writer at Lifestyle&Strength.com

Give change a chance, you might just like it.

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A personal fitness trainer will work with you on an individual basis to create and monitor an exercise regimen tailored to your fitness goals. There are several advantages to using a personal trainer, whether you are aiming for health maintenance, weight loss, rehabilitation and recovery — or training for a specific event or race. A good personal trainer should be experienced and certified in the field, and ready to listen to your fitness history, ambition and any concerns about exercise.

Motivation and Monitoring

A personal trainer can be an effective way to get motivated about sticking to an exercise schedule. As well as devising your workout schedule, your personal fitness trainer will monitor your progress and let you know how you are advancing toward your fitness goals. If you are prone to making excuses not to exercise, the presence and monitoring of a personal trainer may make it more difficult to avoid exercising on a routine basis.

Training

Personal fitness trainers can help educate you about how to exercise efficiently and what activities and intensity levels are appropriate for your age and ability. A trainer will also discuss your medical history and present health condition. She can monitor your execution of these exercises to make sure you’re performing them effectively. Your personal trainer can also advise you about appropriate sporting equipment choices such as the best type of training shoes for your body type and exercise style.

Individual Tailoring

Your personal trainer will create an exercise plan which is specific to your personal medical history and heath goals. He/she can make sure you don’t attempt any common exercises or exercise forms which are inappropriate or dangerous for you; as well can adapt exercises and workouts to accommodate an existing injury or disability. Personal trainers can play an important part in recovery and rehabilitation.

Physical Safety

If you are new to regular exercise, or if you have a health condition which may be exacerbated by exercise, the presence of a personal trainer can help ensure your personal safety while you’re working out. If you are significantly obese, starting an exercise program intended for weight loss may be done most safely with the presence or supervision of a personal trainer to hold you accountable. Also, strenuous exercise may carry risk of injury (ie. bad form or placing your heart under strain). If you experience problems while working out, your personal trainer can call or assist with medical help.

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In home personal trainers and Corporate Wellness programs available at http://www.sociallyfit.ca

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