Can a Personal Trainer Really Make a Difference? Survey Says “Yes!” July 15, 2015
Can a Personal Trainer Really Make a Difference? Survey Says “Yes!” July 15, 2015

What do skydiving and maximizing your workout have in common? They’re both pursuits that work much better with a partner. And as for the latter, a recent study proves it.

Research conducted by UCLA’s David Geffen School of Medicine revealed that individuals who work out with a trainer can expect greater results. Specifically, among the subjects of this study:

Lean body mass increased by 3.3 pounds; the self-trained group saw no change.
Muscle strength increased by 42 percent, versus only 19 percent among self-trainers.
Maximum oxygen intake (VO2) rose 6 percent, versus a 3 percent decrease among the self-trained subjects.

Interview With a Guru Feeling inspired now? You may find that selecting a trainer is a little bit like finding a mate—it pays to make some basic first-date considerations:

Where did he/she go to school? Just about every gym and health club in the country requires its trainers to be certified by a third-party organization. After at least 200 training hours, a would-be trainer can receive certification(s) from the AFAA (Aerobics and Fitness Association of America), ACE (American Council on Exercise), ACSM (American College of Sports Medicine) and NSCA (National Strength and Conditioning Association), among others.

Most gyms offer trainer bios online or in the club. Don’t be shy about asking for them. After all, it’s in the gym’s best interest to find you the best possible fit with someone you’re going to be working closely with for at least 8 to 10 hours a month.

Does he/she have any special interests? Are you looking forward to your first triathlon? Working around a bad shoulder? Trainers must get continuing education credits to stay certified, so many develop a specialty. For example, a trainer can earn advanced certification in weight management, youth or senior fitness, and orthopedic exercise, in addition to many other concentrations.

Is he/she tough? Some people want a supportive Danny Tanner-in-Full House type of rapport with their trainers; others may want to explore their inner masochist with someone like Animal House’s smarmy pledge master, Eric Stratton. It all goes down to preference. But just make sure that the trainer you choose listens to your needs, goals and circumstances–and responds with a solid plan.

Have you been hurt before? You must tell a potential trainer about any past injuries or physical limitations you may have, so that he or she can develop a program addressing your condition.

Just like dating takes time, so does picking the right trainer. So why commit right away? Play the field a bit and take advantage of any introductory offers; it typically takes at least a few sessions to discover your potential interaction and the trainer’s overall style, anyway. But for the long term, get a package: It’s built-in motivation to stay on course and make that lasting commitment to total fitness.

Keeping on your fitness game–with or without a personal trainer– is easier than ever with FitnessBuilder on your iPhone, Android and the Web. PumpOne’s complete workout guidance and tracking tools include over 1,000 workouts tailored to your fitness goals and the ability to create your own sessions from more than 7,000 exercise images and videos. Download it from the App Store or Google Play, or sign up at

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