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Finding a personal trainer

So you’ve got a personal financial advisor, a personal attorney, a personal coach and maybe a personal banker. You need one more personal professional: a trainer.

I used to think that having a personal trainer was a luxury that only the very wealthy, or top professional athletes, would have. That was before I began working out with one.

I've had the pleasure and good fortune of working with four highly dedicated and skilled professional trainers over the last 10 or 15 years. And I'm here to tell you that a good one is worth every penny of his or her fee.

These folks are experts on your physical body, just as financial advisors are experts on your money matters and attorneys are on legal issues. They assess your starting condition, help you establish goals for improvement, then take you through a very measured and effective program for achieving them.

Yes, a trainer will push you harder than you will push yourself, but a professional will never push you beyond your safe zone. And that push the trainer provides will give you an edge you probably wouldn't develop by yourself.

A good trainer will boost your self-confidence as well as your physical condition. And it's OK if you're overweight and out of condition to start. The important thing is to start and to stay with your program.

Your body in some ways is like your car, your house, your financial security. They all require maintenance. The old saying, "Use it or lose it," was probably first used to describe your body.

Many people select a trainer by joining a health club, and there are many solid, reputable clubs with highly capable professional trainers. You may want to enhance your selection process by doing some research on the web: we recommend that you check out two organizations that certify trainers: the American College of Sports Medicine (http://www.acsm.org/ and the National Strength and Conditioning Association (http://www.nsca-lift.org/).

The ACSM claims to be the largest sports medicine and exercise science organization in the world. The organization’s website says it “continues to look for and find better methods to allow individuals to live longer and more productive lives. Healthy people make a healthier society.”

The ACSM has a locator function to help you find an ACSM trainer near you at http://forms.acsm.org/_frm/crt/online_locator.asp.

The NSCA “develops and presents the most advanced information regarding strength training and conditioning practices, injury prevention and research findings… By working to find practical applications for new research findings in the strength and conditioning field, the association fosters the development of strength training and conditioning as a discipline and as a profession.”

The NSCA also has a locator function at http://www.nsca-lift.org/trainers/locator.

You have nothing to lose but a few pounds and some of that flab!

Last revised April 2008

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