Top 5 Questions Clients as their Trainers


Top 5 Questions for Personal Trainers
  by: Okinyi Ayungo, CSCS

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5. How often do YOU workout?

It may be tempting to look to what your trainer does to gain inspiration for your own exercise goals. However, most trainers are  fitness enthusiasts, former or current athletes at some competitive level, or just plain crazy. A lot of the time what we do for our workouts goes beyond the norm. But that is because our goals are often different than the average individual that we train.

Find a goal that is appropriate and reasonable for you, and that will dictate the frequency (and content) of your workouts. A certified personal trainer can help guide you to set reasonable goals and track your progress along the way.

As a side note to personal trainers, be careful not to give a client a workout that you have done just because it was “a killer workout”. Unless that client’s goals are similar to yours, he/she has as much experience as you, and he/she has worked through proper progressions to prepare for the workout, you should question the benefit of that workout.

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4. What Should I Eat?Which Food to Eat

Unless your trainer is also a registered dietician or otherwise has some certification in nutrition counseling, he/she should not be giving you a food plan. However, as personal trainers, we do stay abreast of current knowledge in the nutrition field and can give general guidelines for healthy eating.

For example, I advise most of my clients to drink more water and eat more frequently (starting with a good breakfast). For most people, focusing on making those two changes will correct a lot of other nutrition problems. Otherwise, a personal trainer should provide support for diet modifications that will help a client reach his/her fitness goals.

If you do need further nutrition counseling, ask your trainer to refer you to a dietician. Most trainers know at least a couple.

Registered Dietician Manuel VillacortaRegistered Dietician Manuel Villacorta, MS, RD, CSSD

 

 

3.This Exercise won’t Make my _______ Bigger, will it?This is not going to Happen Naturally EVER

This is a tricky question which is usually preceded by the statement, “I don’t want to bulk up.” Most of the time, this question comes from our female clients. The simple answer is, “No.” But the reason is a little complex.

Making a muscle bigger requires adequate stimuli in the form of weight training. But muscle hypertrophy also depends on appropriate nutrition, appropriate rest, and appropriate hormones. This last one (hormones) is what will have the biggest effect on muscle growth. The bottom line is that females have much lower levels of the hormones (mainly testosterone) needed for muscle growth.

We all want to make certain muscles bigger (we call it “toning”) and need muscle to drive our metabolism. But unless you do very little cardiovascular exercise and eat like a bodybuilder, you won’t “get bulky”.

 

2. How often should I do Personal Training?Money can be the limiting factor

The answer to this question varies by person. The main factors to consider are how much money you can dedicate to training, how much time you can dedicate, and how motivated you are to do it on your own.

Initially, most people should do at least two personal training sessions in close proximity to each other. This gives the trainer a chance to adequately assess you and start to design a program in the first session. In the second session, you can build on what was done in the first session and correct any bad form before they become bad habits.

If motivation is an issue for you, you may need to consider meeting more frequently with a trainer. If you have someone waiting for you at the gym, and you are paying for it, you will be less likely to stay in bed. I have had some clients train 4-5 days a week because they knew that that is what they needed to form a habit. Just make sure that you are realistic with the amount of time and money that you can commit to personal training. If money is an issue, you may want to consider doing personal training with a partner or group.

 

1. What’s the best Exercise for ________ (abs, inner thigh, back of the arms, etc.) ?Body Fat and Muscle are 2 Seperate Tissues

THERE IS NO SPOT REDUCING. Muscle and fat are two separate things. By working your inner thighs with the adductor machine in the gym, you will be doing very little to “slim” your thighs. To get rid of the fat in any one area of your body, you must decrease your bodyfat all over your body.

Where you gain or lose body fat the most is pretty much genetically predetermined. If your mother and father gained weight primarily around their mid-sections, then you will too (if you do gain weight).

You would have more success “slimming” your inner thighs by taking the time that you spent doing three sets of 20 adductions on the machine, and use it to do some high-intensity intervals on the exercise bike. And of course sound nutrition is a must if you are trying to lose fat in a particular area.

Now, if you want a “best exercise” to strengthen or build a particular muscle, then specificity and variety should be your guide. If you start doing pull-ups now as the best exercise to strengthen your lats, then they will not be the best exercise four weeks from now.

One of the greatest functions of our muscles is that they adapt. So you need to stimulate the muscle with different angles, speeds, resistances, repetitions, rest time, etc. If you want to strengthen a muscle for a specific task, the best exercise is going to be the one that improves that task. For example, if you want to improve your vertical jump, squats may be a good exercise, but squat jumps would be a better exercise.

 

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