Finding a Personal Fitness Trainer
They're popular and they get results, but making a good match takes effort.
Exercising With Special Conditions
"For people with special needs, exercise can be
tremendously beneficial," says Bryant. "We're finding that exercise has
a positive role in helping many medical conditions. But it has to be given in
the proper doses, if you will. A trainer has to make modifications to a typical
exercise program to make sure that he or she is not putting someone at
According to all three experts, the number of people with
special medical conditions who are getting personal fitness trainers is
increasing. One reason is that as insurance companies have decreased the number
of physical rehabilitation sessions they cover, people who have recently had a
heart attack or a stroke are coming to the gym sooner, says Hagerman.
The trend also has to do with demographics, says Klinge, as
baby boomers get older and start developing medical problems.
Klinge, Hagerman, and Bryant report seeing clients with all
sorts of medical conditions: cardiovascular problems, arthritis, hypertension,
fibromyalgia, and obesity. Klinge has even treated two clients with recent
heart transplants. For any of these conditions, finding a personal fitness
trainer with expertise in treating people with the specific condition is
crucial, and getting someone with formal education is highly recommended.
Clients with medical conditions should always check with their
doctor before starting a program, and your personal fitness trainer may
collaborate with him or her to develop a workout routine.
It's not only people with medical conditions who require
expertise. Klinge reports seeing an increase in the number of adolescents and
children he sees in the gym, some of whom are brought by parents who are
concerned for their health. "We try to help kids stay active as a way of
replacing the physical education that has been cut in a lot of school
systems," says Klinge.
Similarly, both Klinge and Hagerman see an increasing number of
seniors who are seeking out personal fitness trainers in order to stay agile
and limber and as a way of staying active and preventing falls. Again, you
should seek out a trainer with expertise in treating those with your particular
Before you even meet with a prospective personal fitness
trainer, you need to have a good sense of just what you want to achieve, says
Klinge. Do you want to lose 10 pounds or 50? What kind of exercise do you want
to do? How many sessions per week can you reasonably fit in or afford?
Bryant urges that you get the business policies of any
prospective trainer in writing, so that you clearly understand his or her
charges, cancellation policies, and liability insurance. You may also want to
ask for references, although some trainers may be reluctant to give them in
order to protect their clients' privacy, says Hagerman.