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Personal Training

Personal Training is the utilisation of a professional trainer to improve fitness and health through exercise. Personal Trainers use physical activity methods such as cardiovascular training, weights and stretching to help individuals reach specific fitness goals for reasons such as sports performance or weight loss.

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Personal Training

In This Article
History of... How Does It Work?
A Typical Appointment Treatment Time / Cost / Number Of Sessions
Is It Right For You?
The practice of physical training dates back many thousands of years and is probably as old as mankind itself. Using weights to condition strength and performance of the body can be attributed to the athletic traditions of the ancient Greeks around the sixth century B.C. although their reasons for doing so were also related to combat as well as sport or health.

It wasn't until the modern era of the 20th century that personal training became popular as people began to utilise professionals as a way to improve health through exercise. Fitness equipment and personal training programmes became prevalent during the 1930s in part due to the pioneering work of Jack LaLanne.

LaLanne was born in the United States and as a child developed a sugar addiction. After attending a lecture about nutrition, he began a regime of dieting and exercise to solve his problem. By 1936, he opened a health club in Oakland, California personally training all his clients and becoming the first recognised 'Personal Trainer'. In doing so, he invented many of the common exercise machines found in gyms today such as cable-pulley weight machines.

The modern fitness movement developed further in the 1960s when Dr Kenneth J Cooper introduced Aerobics. Dr Cooper's health philosophy was for using regular exercise as a way to prevent disease. Personal training is now one of the biggest growth areas for health with personal trainers recognised and respected worldwide.

Before you find a personal trainer it is important to know what to expect and how it works. Personal training involves using the expertise of a 'Personal Trainer' to improve physical fitness. Reasons for wanting to improve fitness range from disease prevention to improving sports performance, weight loss to building self-esteem.

A Personal Trainer will lead individuals, or small groups of two to three people, through physical exercise activities such as cardiovascular training, strength training and stretching. A Trainer will work in a variety of environments such as gyms, clubs, offices and clients' homes assessing clients on their level of fitness and then setting fitness goals for them to reach. They will also demonstrate exercise techniques, monitor progress and may advise on lifestyle changes such as diet to help improve fitness.

Personal training offers many benefits over working out alone. When you find a personal trainer they can help with motivation (one of the common reasons why people give up on an exercise programme) and tailor a fitness regime to account for any chronic health conditions you may suffer with. Personal training is more efficient than working out on your own and can be sports specific if you compete in a particular activity thus helping to improve your performance.

Be prepared
It is advisable to choose a Personal Trainer who has achieved the necessary training and qualifications and has membership to a professional association or governing body. The Register of Exercise Professionals (REPs) is a government backed charity for the self-regulation for all fitness instructors, coaches, trainers and teachers involved in exercise and fitness.

A recognised membership ensures your fitness session is carried out in a suitable environment and by someone who has received formal training and ongoing development. Members are also bound to a code of ethics and practice. Further personal training organisations are listed at the foot of this article.

Examples of UK held fitness training qualifications include:
  • Future Fit Training
  • YMCA Personal Trainer Diploma
  • Lifetime HF Personal Trainer
  • FIE Certified Personal Trainer
  • Premier Training Diploma
Also ensure your Personal Trainer has a current CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation) and First Aid certificate. They should also hold liability and indemnity insurance.

Do not drink alcohol on the day of your session and have a light meal a few hours before commencing any physical activity. Ask your trainer what clothing you will be required to wear for your session and be aware that your trainer may be hands-on with you while demonstrating exercise methods and techniques.

What to expect
Once you have found a suitable Personal Trainer, your first session will involve meeting and discussing in detail what your fitness programme will involve. This will be dependant on a number of factors such as your current health and what you hope to achieve. You may be asked to fill in a health questionnaire before commencing any activities.

It is important to make your trainer aware of any health conditions you have before beginning any physical activity.

Your trainer will give you details about the forms of exercise you will be expected to carry out such as running, step work or weight training. They will explain how you will be assessed during your programme (through fitness tests, body measurements etc.) and how often you are expected to exercise with or without them present.

Be prepared for your fitness programme to alter during your time with a Personal Trainer as varying factors will determine your progress. If your trainer has nutritional knowledge they may also provide you with dietary advice on what to eat.

Your first session with a Personal Trainer may take longer than subsequent sessions as your trainer gains knowledge about your medical history and then recommends a training programme. Expect a typical training session to last for one hour.

Costs of personal training sessions vary so check with your trainer before making an appointment. Your trainer may offer other services such as massage which will usually incur additional costs. Further costs may also be involved if your trainer carries out sessions in your home or workplace.

The number of sessions you require with a Personal Trainer will depend on your circumstances and physical health. Physical fitness is an important lifestyle choice and therefore you may have an ongoing professional relationship with your trainer to ensure you remain in good health.

It is a proven fact that exercise is important for health and wellbeing, both physical and mental. Therefore, physical activity should be part of your lifestyle choices and to ensure you receive the maximum benefit from exercise it is a good idea to employ the services of a professional.

If you suffer with any chronic health condition it is vital that you first seek advice from your GP before beginning any exercise regime. You should also ensure that your Personal Trainer is fully aware of your current state of health before commencing a fitness programme.

This therapy or modality may help with:

Abdominal Pain Back Pain Chronic Fatigue
Chronic Pain Circulation Problems Constipation
Digestive Problems Disc Problems Frozen Shoulder
Headaches Indigestion Joint Pain
Low Self Esteem Lumbago Men's Health Issues
Menopausal symptoms Migraines Muscle Cramps
Muscle stiffness Neck pain Obesity
Osteoporosis Personal development Post operative pain
Pregnancy Repetitive strain injury Rheumatism
Sciatica Scoliosis Shoulder pain
Sleep disorders Spinal Injury Sports injuries
Sprain (Ankle, Knee) Stomach cramps Stress
Tennis Elbow Weight Management Whiplash
Womens health issues

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