Gymming on your own can be a pain. You don’t end up going as often as you’d like, the equipment you prefer is never free when you want it, you may not know exactly what you should be doing, and often, the trainers seem to dole out only cookie-cutter advice. A personal trainer sounds like a perfect solution. But picking one who balances your convenience with your requirements can be tricky. Here’s what to look out for.
DO look for certification
“It means the trainer has understood the necessary concepts and is serious about someone else’s fitness,” says A Arun Kumar, head trainer at Snap Fitness. Unfortunately, India has no standardised course or degree for fitness training, but there are several private local courses and good international ones. Weight-trainers with K-11 certifications are well regarded; yoga enthusiasts should look for ACE (American Council on Exercise) and ACSM (American College of Sports Medicine) accreditation. “Check your trainer’s background,” says Neville Almeida, executive director at F2. “Get someone with at least two years’ experience in addition to his certification.”
Do get to someone like-minded
Not all of us want muscle building or weightloss. Men, women, senior citizens, athletes, marathoners, body builders, new mothers with baby weight, models, CEOs, diabetics and heart patients all need different regimens. “But most trainers have only muscle-building advice and tell everyone to switch to six meals a day,” Almeida says. “A background in physiotherapy is a plus,” says Kumar.
Do discuss goals
“Establish your goals with yourtrainer in your first two sessions,” advises Eefa Shrof, yoga instructor and founder of Superyoga. Steer clear of yes men who promise rapid weightloss or quick biceps. “Fitness is not just muscle strength, it is also muscle endu-rance, cardio-vascular endurance, flexibility and body-fat percentage,” Kumar says. “Your regime should focus on all of them.” A good trainer will start with a fitness assessment test before setting targets and will “explain the why before how,” Almeida points out. Pick a trainer who understands your lifestyle, instead of berating you for liking clubbing or hating Mondays.
DO track progress
Warn your trainer that you’ll expect periodic body-fat testing, blood pressure screening and strength, flexibility and endurance tests. “It will push the trainer to develop safe exercises instead of a single-agenda regime,” Shrof advises.
DO Talk Money
Kumar believes that freshers should ideally charge `3,000 per month for 12 sessions. Almeida finds that you can get a good trainer for `1,500 for the same hours. Several trainers go upwards of `25,000 for 12 sessions and provide more experienced counselling, up-to-date skills and trendy equipment. But be wary of anyone too cheap or too expensive.
Do Think long term
Shrof believes it takes three months to build a rapport between client and trainer, so give it time before you give up. “If you find a good trainer, don’t let them go unless you plateau,” Almeida says. A good trainer will constantly update their skills and offer something new. But it will also come at a jump in fees. Be prepared to pay for the upgrade – if the trainer you already like keeps getting better, it’s always worth the money.
What not to do
Don’t hire a drill sergeant
Trainers should motivate, not intimidate. Don’t pick one who works you so hard, you’re in pain for days (soreness is normal, but you should be able to get out of bed). Pick one who offers positive reinforcement. Kumar keeps things interesting by texting clients about a surprise workout the next day. Almeida reminds clients about the old clothes they’ll leave behind. Shrof focuses on looking healthy, focused and happy, as a reminder of what can be achieved.
Don’t fall for their biceps
“A good physique doesn’t necessarily make for a good trainer,” Kumar warns. Be wary of anyone who offers dietary advice without certification. “Let a nutritionist handle your nutrition,” he adds.
Don’t let their star client roster blind you
Shah Rukh’s trainer is not the best guy to address your potbelly. Bipasha’s trainer is not the right person to fix your hormonal weight. “Plus, their priority is often not you, but the stars,” says Almeida.
From HT Brunch, October 6
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