By Steven Lindsey

Five ways a personal trainer can be worth his weight-loss in gold

HANDS ON A HARD BODY: Personal trainer Billy Young, back, says one benefit of a personal trainer is having someone who can motivate and encourage you in your routine. PHOTO BY ARNOLD WAYNE JONES

If everyone had the motivation to work out daily on our own, coupled with an extensive knowledge of human anatomy and physiology, we’d all be underwear and swimsuit models looking for a great ab routine to get us to the next level of perfection.

Welcome to the real world.

How many people reading this today have gym memberships that are going unused? Or home fitness equipment covered in cobwebs and dust bunnies? Let’s face it: When it comes to working out, there’s always an excuse to find something more enjoyable to fill that hour each day, whether it’s a last-minute lunch invitation, a great happy hour or a much-deserved nap.

Most of us need some outside force to motivate us to get off our collective asses. The solution for many is to hire a personal trainer. A good personal trainer doesn’t come cheap, but if you think about it as an investment in your long-term health and wellness, perhaps you can find it in your budget to pay a trainer at least once per week (though twice per week or more is optimal). The likelihood that you’ll work out the other days increases as will your overall results.

Two of Dallas’ top trainers weighed in and gave us five great reasons to put your money where your health is.

1. Increase agility, endurance, balance and core strength.

"Big arms, broad shoulders and chest do not make a fit person," says Billy Young, a certified personal trainer and lead trainer of Eric Peay’s Booty Camp, a group fitness program of COREhealth Wellness Center. "Agility, endurance, balance and core strength are equally important and tend to be forgotten by the average gym-goer, much less the person who has never worked out in their lives."

2. Get motivation and find encouragement.

"My primary role is to educate my clients, watch their form, provide meaningful feedback, give them simple direction about their limits, strengths, even their breathing. I’m here to motivate and encourage you to develop a healthy lifestyle," Young says.

The results you achieve will also serve as further motivation.
"At two weeks your energy levels will spike," says Ron Smith, personal training manager at the new Equinox Fitness on Oak Lawn Avenue. "In four weeks you will notice [a change in] the way your clothes fit."

3. Get a personalized program specific to your goals.

"A truly skilled trainer will write a program for you, not simply a workout. Anyone can find a workout; a talented trainer will assess you, then write a program for you that encompasses everything to reach your goals, including corrective exercises," says Smith.

Individualization is the mark of good training. "Everything is individual to each person. It depends on your background. If your trainer doesn’t do a full assessment on you prior to working with you, run," Smith says.

4. Learn how to change your way of life.

According to Smith, the best way to see results is through a clean diet paired with a combination of cardiovascular training and weight training. Young attributes even more to the diet portion of the equation.

"Last week I had a client tell me he’d lost eight pounds in the first week we’d trained together. The same day, another told me he’d gained three pounds. Both are looking to lose weight, but one is putting in the extra effort, which I refer to as proper eating habits. If a client wants to continue overeating, making poor choices when it’s time to decide what to eat, and continue to drink and par-tay, well, they’re gonna have only so much results," he says.

5. Exercise properly and change up your routine.

Even if you exercise regularly on your own, you might not be getting the full benefit. It’s important to do different exercises that work out the same body parts to see better results and keep your exercise routine from being anything but, well, routine.

"People tell me all the time, ‘I did 500 sit-ups last week and I got nothing!’" Young says. "Well, you probably were not doing them correctly and there are so many other exercises that will build that strong, sexy core."

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition February 20, 2009.

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