What Does a Personal Trainer Do?

You don't have to be a rich celebrity or a contest on an extreme weight-loss TV show to hire a personal trainer. Although the popular image is of muscular men and women clad in track suits barking orders at exhausted, obese clients clawing their way to weight loss on souped-up treadmills, there's more to being a trainer than applying drill sergeant techniques. A good trainer should educate and motivate. Think of a trainer as your own personalized fitness coach.

What Does a Personal Trainer Do? (Image: michaeljung/iStock/GettyImages)

Read more: What to Expect At Your First Personal Training Session

Discuss Needs, Assess Fitness

Your personal trainer will first ask you what you want out of your training, such as weight loss, strength and flexibility, an improvement in cardiovascular health or a combination of all of these.

Your trainer will then assess your current level of fitness, taking into account any current medical conditions or constraints. Often, he will measure your body composition and check your weight, as well as giving you strength and endurance tests.

Next, your trainer will set short-term and long-term goals. (Image: Chris Clinton/Digital Vision/Getty Images)

Set Long-Term and Short-Term Goals

Next, your trainer will set short-term and long-term goals. Short-term goals are measurable factors, such losing a certain amount of pounds, toning up specific body parts or increasing the amount of weight you can lift within a matter of weeks. Long-term goals are achieving marked weight loss, flexibility or strength, and improving your overall health in a year or more and maintaining it for a lifetime.

Make a Plan

Your personal trainer will then create a personalized plan for you to achieve your short-term and long-term fitness goals. Trainers will often mix up aerobic exercises, such as walking, running or using treadmills and elliptical machines, with strength training. Some trainers add sports to the plan, group aerobic dance or Pilates classes. A nutritional plan is often included to coincide with your fitness plan.

Show You How It’s Done

The next step after creating your personal plan is for the trainer to teach you how to do the exercises and to make sure you're doing them correctly. Body position is key with most exercises, and it's a personal trainer's job to monitor you, make sure you're doing the exercises safely and effectively and to alter the program as necessary. A trainer should also be certified in first aid and should administer help to you if you are in distress or get injured from exercising.

Motivate and Cheer

One of the most crucial roles of the personal trainer is to motivate you to succeed in your goals and to cheer you on to do your best. Exercising is supposed to be fun. An effective trainer will show you how to avoid boredom with your workout, as well as how to push yourself to succeed when you feel like giving up.

Read more: 7 Benefits of Hiring a Personal Trainer

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