Do I really need a personal trainer?

fitness model male    This post originated in April of this year.  However, I think it is an appropriate follow-up to my last entry.

DO I REALLY NEED A PERSONAL TRAINER?

The short answer may be a “no.”  But, you may want to check out a few guidelines on my ABOUT page, to see if you really do.

A personal trainer can provide motivation, as well as strategic implementation of workout routines, helping you reach your goals.

However, you may want to consider who is training you first.

Who is their target audience?  This is a priority question.  If you are looking to run your 1st marathon, you need a coach/trainer which runs consistently–not one which thinks running supplements his weight lifting routine.  Same consideration affects your choice if you are looking to gain muscle hypertrophy (enlarge your muscles).  You want someone who is knowledgeable, and understands safety is paramount.

Is your personal trainer certified?  This is controversial to some, but certification adds credibility.  It is not a guarantee of client results or expertise in the field; however, it means that the PT has completed an exam assessing his/her knowledge of essential principles.

Who is/was their clientele? Knowing who they have helped and gained results for in the past, can predict your future; and if they are the trainer for you.  My focus and target audience is also listed on my ABOUT page.

Do they have references? There should be someone who can recommend their services to you.  If they work out of a health club, look at the people they have trained.  Watch them train.  Do you like what you see on both counts?

Be prepared…Have a list of questions which are important to you, to reach your goals.  For example, “Do you check in with your clients, even on off days?” or “I’ve been told I am pre-diabetic, but I also have knee issues.  Can you still help me?”  Being prepared also means being prepared to expend more than calories; you should be willing to invest in your health and overall well-being.  It is an investment; and your mindset should reflect that.  Shoe shopping, Starbucks, and eating out certainly add up; and spending money on a trainer is certainly more results oriented.  Also, certifications as well as preparation costs.  Realize this, and be cognizant of your trainer’s time as well as efforts.

All for now.  Keep up and keep at it.

Questions?  Contact me at serrenity.c@gmail.com

Is Crossfit a good fit? Maybe…..

getting ready  Getting a little bored with your routine?  Perhaps you’ve hit the proverbial wall; your weight loss has stalled, your DVDs hold the same old same old, or maybe you want to spice things up–workout wise that is.  There are many ways to add spice; but for now, mainstream exercise is the topic.

Some clients have asked my opinion on Crossfit.  I ask “what do you know about it?”  Most of them tell me “nothing.”

While employed as a staff nurse, I recall a young patient whose doctor visited her with discharge instructions.  This was highly unusual.  Most physicians leave this task to the floor nurse.  I went to her room to help her pack, as well as clarify anything she didn’t understand.  She informed me she slept through most of what her doctor was telling her.  “Can you ask him to come back?” she asked.  I pulled up a chair for a little “heart to heart.”  Understand that this patient was not groggy from surgery.  She hadn’t had any medication to induce drowsiness.  Nor was she a pediatric patient.  Though not much older than she, I put on my “experienced” face.  I told her I would put out a call for the physician, but she had to explain WHY.  This shook her out of her lethargy.  I also told her what I’ve used as a signature phrase throughout my nursing career.  “You are responsible for your own healthcare.”

And just like that patient, I remind my clients that they are responsible for their well-being.  Whether in the capacity of staff nurse, educator, or personal trainer, I am simply a facilitator.

CROSS TRAINING VS. CROSSFIT

Some confusion seems to exist–there are those who interchangeably use Crossfit and cross training.  Crossfit may be a form of cross training.  Considering the intensity level however, it may not be a fit for everyone.  I think of cross training as a form of exercise to alternate with a normal routine.  For example, my son runs cross-country and track.  He occasionally sports a t-shirt around the football elite which reads “My sport is your punishment.”  True or untrue, running would be their cross training.  Players attempting to catch him, to give him a piece of their mind might be their Cross fit, but I digress.

CHECK IT OUT

Crossfit appears to be a collaboration of weight training, plyometrics, rope climbing, tire throwing, tire carrying, gas mask running, kickboxing, obstacle course phenomenon which appears to be grabbing major attention–for diverse reasons.  However, I’m not  convinced that all of the above activities, while wearing the Crossfit label, are indeed mainstream Crossfit.  Still if you are interested, it pays to keep in mind a few ideas.  I will preface this list with what I say in most posts, when talking fitness.  “Not every exercise is for every body.”

1.  Observe to preserve.  Assessment is the first step in the nursing process.  This is the information gathering stage.  It includes history of present illness, review of systems, as well as medications.  Assessment or inventory can be your best friend when discerning whether a program, or even a trainer is right for you.  By observation, you preserve your resources (time, money, and your body) before signing on the dotted line.

2.  Do your homework.  What’s in the facility?  This includes the trainers.  Are they certified?  I’m not saying certification always implies results or guarantees safety, but it does imply credibility.  Asking questions should never be a threat to a personal trainer.  It helps both client and trainer decide if they are a fit for each other.

3.  Ask for a trial class–even if you have to pay for it.  Not everything is free.  Trainers have expenses.  Their time like yours, is a precious commodity.  But before you commit to package or buy 3 get one free deals, ask to try a class.  The only way to know  if something is really for you, is to do it.

Need a little more info?  Check out http://www.crossfit.com.  Videos, personal success stories, and more details can be found on the website.

Fitness is indeed a journey, and its destination can be uncertain–like life itself.   it is fraught with bumps in the road, boredom, success and setbacks.  And like life, there needs to be challenge to effect change.  Yet there are many ways to challenge yourself, to bring about that change.  Furthermore, the challenges you are willing to face, should never outweigh the benefits you want to reap.  Setbacks in the form of muscle breakdown, joint displacement, or other injuries are not the change most of us desire.  Therefore as with any exercise, workout regime, or even trainer, it is up to the participant be mindful; and awake.

All for now.  Keep up and keep at it.

This might surprise you…..

recovery neededFrom my teen years till now, I considered cardio the ideal fat burner.  High intensity exercises, ranging from INSANITY, back to 80’s style aerobics, were (and still are) the core of my routines.  Strength training, machines or free weights, were a distant second.  If I was too tired for cardio, machines and weights were my “back-up.”  I tolerated strength training; like many tolerate or endure uninvited in-laws; after two weeks.

While that ideology has changed for me, most of you familiar with my posts, realize running preserves my sanity.  Even after a car accident, running was my constant–the north star in a time of uncertainty.  It was there for me to shed the “baby weight.”  It was there after a long work day; working with people who made snobbery an art form.

Since most of my running consists of submaximal workouts, not sprinting, this information would not apply.

Did you know that fat oxidation is reduced, with increasing exercise intensity?

Scraping the surface only, here are a few reasons.

Intramuscular triglycerides (lipids inside of muscle) are used 1st.  Then comes fatty acid oxidation.  Possibly, your body likes to hang on to its excess baggage; for a couple of reasons.  Just in case there’s a famine; just in case you decide to skip a meal or two–just in case you become pregnant.

Lactate also plays its role; it stops fatty acid mobilization.  The good news:  if you are an endurance athlete, you produce less lactate.  Yes, it’s a slow process to become one of those.   BUT, another perk of endurance training–when you finish, fat oxidation is increased.  Free fatty acids in plasma and intramuscular triglyceride oxidation is increased; contributing to fat usage.

What’s the take away if you want to burn fat?  Slow and low.  More to the point, you might want to alternate low and moderate intensity workout days.

My opinion?  High intensity should be part of your regime.  Why?  To shake things up a bit.  Your body can reach a set point with any routine; high or low.  However, if you start low, you still have somewhere to go.  If you start high, your appetite will definitely match that.  That will leave you with an ever-increasing hunger–quite disconcerting if you are trying to lose weight.

In subsequent posts, I will try to address more on this subject.  The exercise physiology class in which I’m enrolled and deriving this information, should shed additional light.  There is more to fitness than just the newest 3 day detox, or trendy workout routine.  It entails, as with nursing, evidence based practice.  Coupled with experience, this is the premise from which I operate–both as a nurse and now as a nurse personal trainer.

All for now.  Keep up and keep at it.

Do I really need a personal trainer?

fitness model male  The short answer may be a “no.”  However, you may want to consider “who” rather than “if.”

A personal trainer can provide motivation, as well as strategic implementation of workout routines, helping you reach your goals.

However, you may want to consider who is training you first.

Who is their target audience?  This is a priority question.  If you are looking to run your 1st marathon, you need a coach/trainer which runs consistently–not one which thinks running supplements his weight lifting routine.  Same consideration affects your choice if you are looking to gain muscle hypertrophy (enlarge your muscles).  You want someone who is knowledgeable, and understands safety is paramount.

Is your personal trainer certified?  This is controversial to some, but certification adds credibility.  It is not a guarantee of client results or expertise in the field; however, it means that the PT has completed an exam assessing his/her knowledge of essential principles.

Who is/was their clientele? Knowing who they have helped and gained results for in the past, can predict your future; and if they are the trainer for you.  (Check out my ABOUT page, to understand my focus & target audience)

Be prepared…Have a list of questions which are important to you, to reach your goals.  For example, “Do you check in with your clients, even on off days?” or “I’ve been told I am pre-diabetic, but I also have knee issues.  What can I do?”  Being prepared also means being prepared to expend more than calories; you should be willing to invest in your health and overall well-being.  It is an investment; and your mindset should reflect that.  Shoe shopping, Starbucks, and eating out certainly add up; so why should you mind spending money on a trainer?  Also, certifications as well as preparation costs–be cognizant and respectful of your PT’s time as well as efforts.

All for now.  Keep up and keep at it.

Questions?  Contact me at serrenity.c@gmail.com