Nov/Dec
2011

Taking it Personally - What you can achieve with the help of a personal trainer

Written by Emily Watkins
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Fitness Jana2copyDo you need help creating exercise goals? Are you intimidated by the gym and the myriad exercise and diet options that exist? Rochester is fortunate to have many personal trainers who can help you.

Let’s just move

Jana Janosik, Fitness Center coordinator at the Rochester Area Family Y, says trainers there might each have different methods of working with clients, but they are all “pretty low key.” They stand close to their clients, talking gently and encouraging them through exercises.

    Katie Burdick of PT with KT says it’s important to be nurturing and sensitive to clients’ needs and emotions. “Clients coming in are nervous, and they come back because they feel comfortable.”

    Body image is emotionally charged, and if a client doesn’t have a lot of fitness history, Janosik doesn’t dwell on it. She says, “Let’s just move.”

    The beauty of personal training is that it’s just that—personal. Trainers work with clients to set reasonable goals and determine how often to meet. They get to know their clients and tailor work-outs, modifying if necessary. Trainers and clients meet for an initial assessment, discussing the client’s fitness, diet and health history and checking endurance level.

The dreaded scale

“If you really want to lose weight, you have to focus on your diet, too,” says Janosik.

    According to Burdick, “Weight loss is 60 percent nutrition and 40 percent exercise.” She spends one session talking about nutrition and portion sizes and helping clients create a 7-day menu plan. She doesn’t like fad diets and says, “Treat yourself in a moderate way,” exercising more if you eat more. Clients track what they eat, aiming for a predetermined calorie amount at each meal and snack. “You won’t have to count calories every day for the rest of your life, but at least let’s do it hard-core until we can reach those goals.”

    Burdick promotes no more than a one- or two-pound weight loss per week and stresses that the scale doesn’t tell the whole story. She says part of her job is to help clients “feel comfortable with the number on the scale.” She encourages, “gauge how your clothes are fitting.”

    Janosik agrees. “Most people want to see a difference in the way their clothes fit and the way they look. They have more energy and they’re motivated by their results. I’m a stickler for posture and correct form, and people notice that, too. If you get your heart rate up four to five times per week, you’ll feel better about yourself and the world around you. One of the biggest benefits is the mental clarity that you get.”

Goals, accountability, success

A personal training session is about an hour, combining cardio work with toning and strengthening exercises. Janosik says the sessions “look like a workout. We count the reps, we count the sets.”

    It’s important to stick with your program for a while, because it can take six weeks to see a change in your physique. But if you stick with it, Burdick says, “you tone up, and everything moves up.”

    Bride-to-be Colleen Ronningen, one of Burdick’s clients, says she is excited about her workout results. The beginning of her workout entails a warm-up, stretching, some reps on the rowing machine and sit-ups.

    Jessica Grimm worked with a trainer two times per week for a couple of months doing strength training. “A trainer will teach you the proper way to lift weights so you don’t hurt yourself and will help you reach your goals and hold you accountable,” she says. “There is nothing worse than explaining to your trainer why you skipped your workout.”

    Burdick says there are many success stories. One woman lost almost 100 pounds after having a baby. Another woman beat her marathon time goal with no injuries. But she is most proud that her clients consistently come into the gym and make their wellness and health a priority.

    A favorite story of Janosik is about a client with osteoporosis who no longer uses a walker after physical therapy and personal training at the Y.

    “It’s a decision to have a better lifestyle, and it can take up to a year,” Janosik says. Burdick says that you have to “treat it like a part-time job.”

    Grimm says, “Having a trainer is hard work and takes commitment, but it is worth it.”