New year, new you – new personal trainer?
Countless people resolve each year to get in shape. And many over 50 might decide they need the guidance a personal trainer can provide.
We think that’s great, either way. And we can help connect you with the right trainer for you, regardless of your goal or current fitness level.
See, hiring a trainer is like finding a favorite hairdresser or auto mechanic. Qualifications are important, but so is personal chemistry between the two of you.
Here are two examples to prove the point.
In the first, our friend Anthony hired someone he knew casually, who just assumed Anthony was in good shape because he looked fit. But he didn’t stop to ask Anthony about injuries or chronic health conditions – or his goals, or how he was feeling, or much else. Instead, the friend/trainer put him on an intense training regimen of weightlifting and running hard.
The result? Anthony hated every minute, quit after a month, and never went back.
In the second example, Terry was 61 when she went looking for the right trainer. She met Johnny, more than 30 years her junior and certified to help active agers get fit – and stay fit – with effective, safe, and fun individualized programs.
The result this time has been strikingly different. Terry and Johnny (pictured) have been working out together happily for years, and she’s a huge advocate for healthy living.
What to Look For
When you meet a trainer you are considering, he or she should ask you these kinds of questions about fitness after 50:
- What are your goals?
- What’s your exercise history?
- Do you have any injuries, physical limitations or medical conditions?
- Have you ever had a joint replacement?
- Have you discussed fitness with your physician?
You might want to ask if he or she is certified by one of the main training organizations, like the National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM) or the American Council on Exercise (ACE).
Also, does he or she have other experience or certifications in working with people over 50? Or does the trainer have expertise working out people who have had health issues like yours?
Don’t be afraid to ask for references.
And – this is really important – do you like this person? Can you see yourself enjoying time with him or her, or interacting via computer for virtual training?
Finally, be open to small-group training. That’s when a trainer works with, say, 4-6 people at once. It keeps the cost low while providing enough personal attention for many people.
Terry says it’s important to set realistic goals.
“You really have to accept where you’re at in life – and then be better,” she says. “You’re not going to be 25 again. It’s impossible, and it sets you up for disappointment.”
Anthony agrees. He just wants to enjoy his sports without feeling pain, and he’ll be clear with that now as he searches again for help.
Trainer Johnny says that being clear about your needs and preferences is super-important.
“Communication is key,” he says. “Terry’s not afraid to ask questions. She tells me about any issues she’s having with her body. The bottom line is, every time she comes in, she’s ready to go.”
Holly Kouvo is a personal trainer, functional aging specialist, senior fitness specialist, brain health trainer, writer, and speaker.