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Here is a helpful training tip when you are dealing with machines that require vertical plate loading. For those unsure what I am referring to, please see the picture of a seated-calf raise machine below:

seated-calf-raise-yukon-fitness.jpg

Photo courtesy of Yukon Fitness

When stacking weights, stagger a heavier plate with a lighter plate. For example, if you are using two 45’s, sandwich a 5lb. or 10lb. weight between them. This will make the plates easier to remove and you will be less likely to pinch your fingers when re-racking your weights.

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If you seek out the services of a personal trainer you will want to conduct a thorough search as you are not just hiring a temporary service provider, but entering into a relationship with someone who will help direct you toward a healthier lifestyle and hopefully a longer life. I remember reading in the late 90’s that the personal trainer would become the hair dresser of the 21st century as people share problems, family moments, and seek personal advice beyond that of fitness.

How you find a personal trainer depends on your initial vantage point. Are you currently a member of a gym or are you looking for both a gym and a trainer? Which category you fall into, will dictate the order of the following you should take into account and consider before deciding on a trainer.

Consider Your Goals – Before you begin looking for a personal trainer, consider the goals you wish to accomplish. Do you want to loose weight, tone up, or gain size? Is there an event you are trying to get ready for, such as a wedding, vacation, or reunion? You shouldn’t hire a trainer to tell you what your goals should be, although they will help you refine them over time.

Personal Observation – This applies if you are already a member of a gym. Take the time to watch a trainer with their clients. Do they work with a particular type of client (female, male, senior, special needs, etc.)? Do their client’s show progress over time? You also need to ask yourself what type of person motivates you. Though rare, I had a couple of potential clients tell me they needed someone to get in their face and bark orders at them. Whereas I can do this with workout partners, it was not a position I liked to work from in a trainer/client perspective and I referred them to another trainer.

Certifications – There is no surprise that this is the most important recommendation made by certifying organizations. Unfortunately certifications have become like degrees and ordained minsters, 15 minutes online and you too can be certified. Whereas a certification does show a sign of commitment made on the part of the trainer, keep in mind that experience and ability cannot be measured entirely by the letters after someone’s name. If you are to look for certifications, focus on those that require not only written tests (ACE), but also practical exams conducted by other experts in the field (ACSM, NASM, RTS-2, etc.).

Experience – I remember one of the first free assessments I gave as a personal trainer. I had just concluded a training workshop and was preparing for my ACE and RTS tests. Despite having over 10 years of personal workout experience training myself and a few others, I was told “I don’t think you should be able to tell me what to do after a three-week course.” As with many situations in life, you should get a complete picture of the situation and find out as much as possible about your potential trainer’s background experience. I for one had grown up with juvenile arthritis and had the challenge of developing personal special needs programs since I started lifting weights. Did I have a certification in developing programs for joint related problems? No. Did I have experience relevant to the situation? Yes. Which is more important?

Word of Mouth – If there is a good trainer in your area or the gym they will hopefully have marketed themselves relatively well. Generally a personal trainer recommended by the sales staff at the gym is qualified since the club is interested in keeping you happy long enough for the contract to become legal. Another avenue to check is local supplement shops.

Above all, remember that just with every relationship in life, if your trainer is not motivating you or meeting your needs, find a replacement.

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