How can personal training nourish your soul?
Personal training involves exercising with a fitness professional who is qualified to develop a personalised training program for you, as well as instruct you, guide you and help you work out. Personal trainers may work one-on-one with clients or in small groups, but in either case, they will provide you with an exercise regimen precisely tailored to your individual needs, goals and abilities.
A personal trainer should have suitable certification in exercise and fitness, and may also be qualified to provide advice about nutrition, the importance of adequate rest, and other fitness-related subjects. In Australia, the minimum qualification a trainer should have is Certificate IV in Fitness, although many personal trainers receive further education to attain a Diploma of Fitness. A personal trainer should be familiar with industry standards and guidelines for registered exercise professionals, including the Scope of Practice and related policy documentation.
A tertiary degree in human movement or exercise science is also an acceptable qualification, as long as expertise and experience directly relevant to personal training can be shown. Your personal trainer should also have suitable insurance cover for public liability and professional indemnity.
Benefits of personal training
Personal training generally does not lend itself to academic research, but the benefits are arguably visible in the noticeably improved fitness levels of countless people who utilise personal training services. Nevertheless, there is some evidence available regarding particular health outcomes of personal training.
In one study examining how a personal trainer may influence resistance training, the results suggest support and supervision may lead to greater strength and a more ambitious workout intensity. Research also suggests that working with a personal trainer may change a person’s attitude towards exercise and boost the amount of physical activity they undertake.
One of the major advantages is the psychologically motivating effect of being coached by an experienced professional whom you have paid to hold you accountable for meeting your stated fitness goals. Another is the education and information you can receive, not only about your exercise program, but general lifestyle factors that can support your fitness goals.
A personal trainer can work within time constraints to help you get into the best possible shape if you are preparing for a particular event. This might be a competitive sporting challenge such as a fun run, or a wedding, birthday or other turning point in your life.
A trainer’s understanding of exercise physiology means they can provide you with the feedback, guidance and support you need to ensure perfect form during weight training exercises. This minimises the risk of injury as well as ensuring you obtain the best results from your strength training program. A personal trainer can also give you feedback and assess your progress, adapting and refining your exercise program to as your level of fitness improves.
Personal training may assist in relieving symptoms related to:
- Arthritis, rheumatism and osteoarthritis
- Brain fog and clarity
- Concentration, focus and problem solving
- Confidence and self-esteem
- Flexibility, endurance and strength
- Hips and pelvis
- Insomnia and sleep disorders
- Mental health
- Mobility and movement
- Mood imbalances
- Motivation and procrastination
- Muscle spasm, tightness and cramps
- Nutritional deficiencies
- Osteoporosis and bone density
- Sports performance
- Stress and tension
- Weight control and obesity
What to expect from a personal training session
As one of the first steps on your fitness journey, you will receive a comprehensive personal training assessment, taking into account your fitness level as well as any past injuries or illnesses that may affect your workouts. Your personal trainer will ask you about your goals for physical fitness, and devise an individualised program for you to follow.
How each session unfolds will depend on your objectives and whether you are working one-on-one with your trainer, possibly also with an exercise partner, or in a small-group setting. In general, you will be taught warm-up exercises and stretches for flexibility, strength training workouts, activities to improve your cardiovascular fitness, and possibly functional training.
Your personal trainer will show you exactly how to do each exercise, demonstrating the correct form and providing you with feedback and guidance until you can perform the movements safely and effectively. They will explain how to properly use any fitness equipment you might need, and advise you of any potential risks associated with the exercises. Your trainer will inform you about how each exercise plays its part in helping you achieve your fitness goal, and may advise you about nutrition.
Many personal trainers lead sessions in public areas such as a park or beach. It is the trainer’s responsibility to ensure the location where you’re working out is safe and suitable for the purpose of your training program, and you are within your rights to ask them about how they have evaluated your exercise space if you have any concerns.
Because personal training is such a booming industry, there is a risk that you might encounter an underqualified or poorly principled trainer. In Australia, you can check whether the trainer you are thinking about working with is registered with Fitness Australia, the peak body for fitness professionals. Registration is not compulsory, but indicates that a trainer agrees to abide by the National Fitness Industry Code of Practice and fulfil other obligations of membership.
As with any exercise or wellness program, please consult your medical professional before commencing personal training. If you have an injury or other health issue, or any concerns at all, also speak to your personal trainer, who will be happy to address these and customise your training sessions to your individual requirements.