How a personal trainer can help you safely meet your fitness goals

Some of us can get and stay fit on our own; others need a little help. The latter is where personal trainers come in. Having a personal trainer or a coach can help a person meet fitness goals faster, safer, and more effectively, gain better results, or simply learn to enjoy exercise more than they thought possible.

“People should hire a personal trainer in the same way they hire a roofer, mechanic, lawyer or carpenter,” says personal trainer Seth Thomas. “We hire experts to help us accomplish things we otherwise could not do on our own or maybe things that we could possibly do but we would be less efficient in regards to things like time, money, and safety.”
A personal trainer since 2011 and owner of Albany Movement & Fitness, Thomas says he and other trainers at his gym “help smart people who have a general idea of what they should be doing when it comes to fitness and nutrition but doing it consistently is something they struggle with. We expect people to vote with their dollars for the things they care about and what can be more important than taking care of our bodies and our minds?”

Anthony Demetriou, who has a bachelor’s and master’s degree in exercise science and is a Ph.D. candidate in exercise science, says a personal trainer can help an individual achieve their health and fitness goals. “At Train HD (in Albany, which he owns) all of our clients start with an initial consultation and assessment. In this process, we can look at health history, exercise history, muscular strength, endurance, range of motion, cardiovascular health, and biometric measurements such as fat percentage and weight.” From information gathered in this preliminary meeting, a fitness and nutrition program is tailored to support the goals the individual is trying to achieve.

“We look at personal training as an investment,” says Demetriou. “Anytime you can put money into your health as preventative care it is worth the money. We offer different options, from personal one-on-one training to small group training of two to four people, to larger group training of up to 10 individuals.” This “tiered” system makes training much more affordable. “If personal training is too expensive for your budget, then sharing the cost in a group may be a better program for you. We try to eliminate most of the barriers when it comes to cost.”

Thomas believes the “most important thing that we provide our members” is a rationale for what they are doing. “We do not just make people sweaty and send them on their way. We use the Functional Movement Screen so we can make the most accurate exercise recommendations.”

Using results from the screen, he and other trainers can help someone new to fitness as well as someone who has experience in the gym. “We practice skills to get exercise benefits. We avoid training through pain. We believe people need to be as strong as they need to be to do the things they want to do. We cannot obtain results randomly. A successful program is strategic and written out. We also provide professional guidance, support and accountability.”

Most of the clients at Train HD have been working there for over six years, says Demetriou, with some having been with him for 14 years. “Many individuals who started personal training with us transition to our group training. The group is a great way to stay motivated, build relationships with others in the gym, and push yourself harder than most ever thought they could.”

Thomas has seen clients “come and go,” adding, “I have had people utilize our services for 10 years, and some who sign up never show up. People train to get ready for weddings, a cruise, to prepare for family they haven’t seen in years, to stave off an illness a close family member was diagnosed with, to be more attractive, and to build confidence after a break-up, to reduce stress, anxiety or depression. The list goes on.”

Thomas says that his group training sessions cost about $20 each and clients usually attend class two to three days a week. Personal training is not expensive as long as the trainer is providing value, he notes.

“Not all personal trainers are created equal,” he says. “I have four college degrees related to fitness and countless certifications in a field where no credential is required to practice. Anyone can open a personal training gym and I would have to compete with them, but most gyms like that compete on price only and end up possibly hurting people.”

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