New Year New You

5 Steps to Keeping a New Year’s Resolution
January 9, 2012
1, 2, 3 … Get Motivated!
January 10, 2012

Angelique Gammon and Denise Fries double the odds they will meet their fitness goals by working with personal trainer Sara Lammerts.

I’m a cliché, and I’m happy to admit it, especially if it helps you make exercise part of your daily routine.

I’m also a hypocrite. About five years ago, I was having lunch with a friend who had just been told by her doctor that she was pre-diabetic, had dangerously high cholesterol and needed to not just lose a few pounds but to make exercise a daily part of her life. I told her I had an elliptical machine I really liked, a few stretch bands and hand weights and that solitary exercise at home worked better for me than a gym. To her protestation that she didn’t have time to exercise, I replied, “Do you have time to be dead?”

I’m not subtle.

 

Failure is not an option. Why Personal Trainers Work.

Angelique Gammon and Denise Fries double the odds they will meet their fitness goals by working with personal trainer Sara Lammerts.

I’m a cliché, and I’m happy to admit it, especially if it helps you make exercise part of your daily routine.

I’m also a hypocrite. About five years ago, I was having lunch with a friend who had just been told by her doctor that she was pre-diabetic, had dangerously high cholesterol and needed to not just lose a few pounds but to make exercise a daily part of her life. I told her I had an elliptical machine I really liked, a few stretch bands and hand weights and that solitary exercise at home worked better for me than a gym. To her protestation that she didn’t have time to exercise, I replied, “Do you have time to be dead?”

I’m not subtle.

As for the cliché, about 11 months ago I quit exercising. No injury, no big event – just no motivation. Despite a lifetime love of occasionally violent exercise, I would get on my trusty elliptical trainer … and stand there. Months went by. I could lie and say I came to the mature decision that I needed to safeguard my health and do something different, but the truth is it was a small roll that welled up above the waistband of my skinny jeans that did it.

Apparently, I’m also vain.

So I called a friend who also happens to be a personal trainer, Cliff Latham, and told him I needed help. It’s not the first time Latham’s team of personal trainers has come to my family’s rescue. My daughter had worked with one of Cliff ’s trainers for a summer a few years ago and it was a great experience for her. But until I called Cliff for my own exercise doldrums, I believed personal trainers were for other people, mostly those who didn’t know how to exercise.

To my list of faults, you may add arrogance and ignorance.

Motivation is the number one reason people turn to personal trainers, hence my being a cliché. Other drivers are the need for an individualized program, to improve skills or techniques, being new to exercise, to break through a plateau, to ultimately learn how to exercise alone, to work out safely and to lose weight.

There are no state or federal licensing requirements to call yourself a personal trainer. As a recent article about dangerous personal trainers in Woman’s Health magazine put it, the person who waxes your upper lip may have had more training and is subject to more legal oversight than some of the people who want to put themselves in charge of your cardiovascular, muscular and nervous systems as a personal trainer.

Trainers may elect to be certified and the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) and the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA) are two of the most reputable national fitness organizations. Latham, who also holds B.S. and M.S. degrees in exercise physiology and sports nutrition, is certified by both ACSM and NSCA and is also certified as a cancer and post-cadiac rehab trainer.

Having played basketball and run track at Texas A&M, my aging athlete’s knees, shoulders and back have lots of issues, including a fake knee I got for my 50th birthday. One thing I didn’t want to worry about was a personal trainer who would make things worse, not better.

I may be ignorant, but I’m not stupid.

Because of his qualifications, I trusted Cliff to assign me to a trainer who would work around my injuries and so began six months of working with personal trainer Sara Lammerts, a member of Cliff ’s team. Along the way, my husband Greg and my daughter Hallie also joined the personal training bandwagon. Having an exercise partner to be accountable to – and to whine to – is another revelation of why personal training works.

Personal trainer fees vary widely depending on the trainer’s qualifications and where you will be working out. Some trainers only work one-on-one, others work with small groups up to three or four. As with most budget decisions, you have to look at where your discretionary spending for health and entertainment currently go and set priorities. Personally, we made the tradeoff between packing a light lunch and the convenience of eating out. I have a friend who disconnected cable for a few months trading health for additional reasons not to sit on the sofa. It all gets back to motivation.

True confessions: the first three weeks of working with Sara I only showed up because it was an appointment on my calendar and it wasn’t free. Yes, I enjoyed it and knew it was good for me, but it hurt, mostly my pride because I was so out of shape. Then a curious thing happened. I was sitting reading a magazine about an hour after I had worked out and I noticed that I just felt … good. Really good.

A mazillion rats and lots of controlled studies have proven that exercise can control high blood pressure, high cholesterol and triglycerides, depression, type 2 diabetes, arthritis, and can prevent heart disease and certain types of cancer as well or in some cases better than the latest drug and medical therapies.

People still don’t exercise.

How about this? Exercise boosts energy, improves your mood, makes you sleep better and makes your sex life better (http://www. mayoclinic.com/health/exercise/HQ01676/ NSECTIONGROUP=2).

Greg and I both agree that the 45 minutes when the personal trainer is in charge – what I refer to as the Decision Free Zone – is really the best, and most unexpected, benefit: not being in charge is like a twofer. Greg says, and I agree, that trainers also elicit an intensity that’s hard to match working out on your own. All we have to do is show up and sweat.

Trainers also improve workout efficiency – they plan if it’s a leg day, arms, shoulders, etc. and put you through your paces quickly, ne relentlessly. Hand weights, machines, unique ways to torture yourself on the floor with balls, ropes, pulleys and bars … what you do with your trainer depends on your personal fitness goal and your trainer’s background. I recently met Brad Tillery, owner of BCS Fitness, who has a giant tractor tire and 5-pound sledge hammers in his personal training gym. It’s without a doubt the most unique fitness gear I’ve ever seen, and Brad says it is hugely popular with his clients.

Having exercised in gyms for 30+ years I would have said I knew all the ways to lift a dumbbell. Wrong.

Apparently, I’m not too old to learn. – ANGELIQUE GAMMON