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& Body

What to Expect From a Personal Trainer by Andrea Mongler

If you’ve ever considered hiring a personal trainer but you aren’t sure what to expect if you do, the answer, in part, is up to you. That’s because personal trainers don’t use a one-size-fits-all exercise plan. Instead, your trainer will develop an individualized plan to help you achieve your unique fitness goals. During your initial session, your trainer will likely ask you about not only your goals but also your health, exercise history, and exercise preferences. Cheyanna Glyenn, manager of Christus Louisiana Athletic Club-Lake Charles, says the first session also may include tests to measure your physical fitness in five different areas: cardio-respiratory fitness; flexibility; muscular strength; muscular endurance; and body composition, which is the relative proportions of fat mass and lean mass (bones, tissues, organs, and muscles) in the body. This assessment helps your trainer understand your current fitness level and then customize a plan for you. Glyenn says clients’ goals vary widely. Some want to strengthen their muscles, for example; others hope to increase their flexibility or lose


weight. No matter your goal, your trainer should help you achieve it — with a couple of caveats. First, your goal or goals must be realistic. “If you want to lose 10 pounds in two to three months, we will come up with a plan to help you do that safely — one to two pounds a week,” Glyenn says. “But we are not like a ‘get-rich-quick’ diet that helps you lose 10 pounds in one week.” Second, personal trainers aren’t magicians. Translation: You have to put in the work. And if you’re only meeting with your trainer, say, once or twice a week, you’ll have to work hard on your own time, too. “If you are willing to work out, I will help you accomplish your goals,” Glyenn says. “I will work you out during our sessions, but I will also give you exercises to do outside of your time with me. I don’t want to set you up to fail. I am here to help you.” In fact, part of a trainer’s role is to educate you about why you’re doing particular exercises, how to do them safely, and how to stay motivated and make progress. As the American Council on Exercise explains: “Keep in mind that the ultimate goal of a quality personal

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