Fall Into Fitness: When Seasons Change, So Can We Fall is one of my favorite times of year, and it's not just the taffy apples. I'm talking crispy cool days that make my cheeks red and my toes tingle, a seasonal shift to a longer night, a shorter day, and great sales on outdoor patio furniture. "…Read more. Will an Apple Watch a Day Keep the Doctor Away? As you may have heard, the new Apple Watch has many seductive features. It's the watch that watches you. It's state-of-the-heart fitness technology tracks your pulse, your steps, the quality of your sleep, the number of times you stand in a day, the …Read more. Epigenetics: You Are the Switch That Turns on Your Destiny The Apple Watch was announced last week with this timeless and bold statement: "Apple Watch is going to greatly improve the way we keep track of our activity and change the way we look at fitness." Change the way we look at fitness? Wow, oh wow. Of …Read more. 38 Years and Counting: Signs of Intelligent Lifestyle in the Universe I've been writing this weekly healthy lifestyle column since 1976. Do the math! Fortunately, I still can, and it adds up to an astonishing number, one I celebrate every September, the month "Energy Express" started at my hometown paper, the Chicago …Read more.more articles
Guilt Be Gone! Jumpstart 2012 With a Good Trainer
It's 2012! My first column of the new year! I'm feeling so perky, so well, so grateful. Where did I hide the New Year's Eve peanut brittle? In the garbage. It's a good thing. I open up my Energy Express reader email and am instantly rewarded:
Dear Marilynn, My husband gave me 10 sessions with a personal trainer for Christmas. He knows I've been struggling to lose weight and start exercising. It's a great gift, but I'm feeling a little guilty. What good is a personal trainer? How do I find the right one? How do I get the most out of it? Thanks! — F.H. at earthlink.net
Dear F.H. and everyone else: For starters, please don't kick off your anything-is-possible new year staggering under a load of guilt. Guilt, anger and shame are three negative emotions that suck the fun out of life. Why are we here? To be happy, the Dalai Lama reminds us. So thank your husband for his generous offer and rejoice in his thoughtfulness. A loving and supportive partner is about the best holiday gift a person could wish for.
What good is a personal trainer? So glad you asked! I happen to be one, ACE-certified around the time the treadmill was electrified. If you're ready for change, if you're 100 percent committed and confident you can change, then a personal trainer will enable you to make your dreams come true. (So can a good yoga teacher, but that is so off-topic).
A good trainer will become your cheerleader, your taskmaster, your coach — whatever it takes to motivate, inspire and educate. A good trainer will help you define small, realistic goals and help you realize them, step-by-step, week-by-week. When you don't feel like working out, you'll show up anyway, because your trainer is there, waiting for you.
Are you reluctant to lift weights because you don't know how or why or how much? A good trainer will watch carefully and make sure you're aligned, and breathing, and moving in a way that reduces your risk of injuries. A good trainer will also keep you from overdoing it in the gym — the No. 1 cause of most sports injuries. A trainer who pushes you too hard and causes an injury is a bad trainer. If you ever feel stuck with a "no pain, no gain" kind of guy, remember what the Dalai Lama said and keep shopping.
A good trainer is also a great teacher and will help you discover the value of eating healthy, delicious, real food in moderation.
So how can you find a good trainer? To find someone with skills and sensitivity, you have to use your own skills and sensitivity:
— Look for an experienced, empathic trainer who is certified by one or more of the following: the American Council on Exercise (ACE); the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM); the National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM); and the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA). Certification tells you your trainer has a basic understanding of anatomy as well as exercise. It's certainly possible to find a terrific trainer who never bothered to get certified, but if he or she is self-taught, be extra cautious.
— Test drive your trainer before you commit to a series. A trainer your best friend adores may not be the best fit for you. Ask questions, listen deeply, trust your instincts. Some trainers get results by bullying. If that appeals to you, fine. If not, keep searching. It's crucial to find someone who believes totally in your ability to achieve your goals. Don't simply let the gym assign you a trainer, or you're likely to get stuck with the one nobody else wants.
— To make the most of your time with a trainer, become a student of your own wellness. Don't train on remote control: Take notes, absorb the instruction, learn how to lift, breathe, enjoy. When your 10 sessions end, you should feel you have acquired enough skill and confidence to be your own trainer. When that happens, your life will change in the most remarkable ways.
ENERGY EXPRESS-O! SHOW UP READY TO WORK
"Continuous effort — not strength or intelligence — is the key to unlocking our potential." — Liane Cardes
Marilynn Preston — fitness expert, personal trainer and speaker on healthy lifestyle issues — is the creator of Energy Express, the longest-running syndicated fitness column in the country. She has a website, http://marilynnpreston.com and welcomes reader questions, which can be sent to MyEnergyExpress@aol.com. To find out more about Preston and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.
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