It once was that personal fitness trainers were exclusively for
the super rich, sighted by us normal folks only in paparazzi photographs of a
celebrity's entourage. But as fitness centers have spread throughout the
country and the number of personal fitness trainers has increased, getting your
own has become a real possibility for the average person, says Patrick
Hagerman, EdD, a professor of exercise and sports science at the University of
By Sari HarrarHow to get him to shape up - without nagging or driving yourself
Last winter, Eric Lagergren caught a stubborn cold. "I was exhausted for
a week and a half and just not getting any better," he says. He also was
drinking water constantly and getting up eight or nine times a night to go to
the bathroom. "Then I got clumsy," says Lagergren, 33, who's an editor
at the University of Michigan English Language Institute. "One weekend, I
broke two or three things around the house...
"They're really much more affordable than people would
think," says Hagerman, who is also a board member of the National Strength
and Conditioning Association and owns Quest Personal Training in Oklahoma
Nor are personal fitness trainers just for the buff,
spandex-sporting crowd, says Fred Klinge, chairman of the Health and Registry
Board at the American College of Sports Medicine. Klinge emphasizes that the
scope of personal fitness trainers has broadened. "It's not just about
weight lifting and cardio work anymore," he tells WebMD. "It's more
about assistance in developing a healthy and fit lifestyle."
Although there haven't been too many, some studies have shown
that personal trainers can help people stick to their exercise routines more
effectively than they would on their own, according to Cedric Bryant, PhD,
chief exercise physiologist at the American Council on Exercise (ACE). But for
someone who hasn't had any experience with personal trainers, figuring out how
to get one can be daunting.
Who Needs a Personal Trainer?
You may ask yourself why you would benefit from a personal
trainer. After all, why should you pay for somebody to tell you to exercise
when you can just go and exercise for free?
But for some, having a person to answer to really helps provide
motivation. After all, if we never got scolded by our teachers and parents for
not doing our homework when we were kids, a lot of us would still be in the
second grade. Knowing that you have someone who will take you to task can make
Hagerman sees a lot of practical advantages to having a
personal fitness trainer. "It saves time and it reduces injuries," he
says. "You have someone who can help you figure out what exercises you need
to do and how the equipment works rather than wasting time figuring it out on