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During extended periods, good trainers also revise routines at least once every four weeks to prevent adaptation, another problem that can hinder reaching fitness goals. “Without trainers, people often get stuck in a rut and lose motivation,” remarks Blackie, who also adapts exercises according to bodily changes due to aging or other conditions.


Long-term relationships also allow trainers to focus on the individ- ual’s bottom-line goals, Cotton notes. For instance, “I want to lose 10 pounds,” might really mean, “I want the energy to play with my kids,” or “I want to feel more alert at work.” “Achievable goals evolve from values,” Cotton explains. “It’s not about getting in super great shape for six months and then stopping. It’s about creating a foundation for life.”


Freelance journalist Debra Melani writes about health care and fitness from Lyons, CO. Connect at Debra Melani.com or DMelani@msn.com.


Traits to Look for in a Trainer by Cecily Casey


Engage a personal trainer based on his/her positive responses to the following qualifiers.


4 Starts by discussing short- and long-term goals 4 Customizes a program for individual needs 4 Reviews one’s health history in detail 4 Conducts a posture analysis 4 Screens each client for quality of movement 4 Asks the client to track his or her food intake 4 Provides helpful cues for improvement during sessions 4 Critiques movement from various angles 4 Is able to ramp up or ease off exercise challenges as needed 4 Never uses the phrase, “No pain, no gain” 4 Keeps current with educational certifications, workshops and seminars


Cecily Casey is co-owner of RealFit Gym, in Highland Park, IL, where she is a practicing American College of Sports Medicine certified personal trainer.


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