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Health and Fitness Tips

One-on-One - Finding the right personal trainer for you

Imagine arriving at a health club for your first exercise experience with your new personal trainer, "Joe," a muscular, tanned, no-fat-to-be-found-anywhere image of human physical perfection. Joe flashes you a reassuring smile as he leads you toward the workout area of the gym. You're feeling a little nervous and excited while thinking to yourself: "Boy, I'm in luck. This guy really looks like he knows a lot about diet and exercise."

After Joe briefly questions you about your goals and lifestyle, he has you warm up for a few minutes on a treadmill. Before you can catch your breath, he starts you on a series of strange and difficult exercises. Suddenly, you begin to feel queasy; waves of nausea wash over you, making your legs feel weak and wobbly. But Joe doesn't seem to notice that you're feeling ill - he's too busy encouraging you to 'go for the burn."

Determined not to look like a total wimp, you say nothing and somehow manage to endure the entire session. Finally, when it's over, you crawl to your car, and drive home. After several days of suffering painfully sore muscles, you find yourself saying, "if this is what I have to go through to get in shape, forget it."

Horror stories like this happen quite often, so knowing how to evaluate a personal trainer makes good sense. Credentials and education are important factors. Make sure your trainer is focused on you and your goals - watching your form, mixing-up your exercises to work your muscle groups properly, and in a variety of ways.

Make sure you feel comfortable talking to your trainer. Communication is key. If you are in pain, let him know. If you are not motivated let him know. If you don't feel you are reaching your goals let it be known. The interpersonal rapport you have with your trainer is as important as the one you would have with a medical doctor, dentist, or hairstylist. If you were unhappy with your haircut you would ask it to be fixed. If you had a tooth-ache you would want the pain to stop. And if you were tired all the time you would make an appointment with the doctor and discuss it with him.

Here are a few questions to ask a potential personal trainer when you are searching for the right professional.
1). How long will it take me to see results?
2). How many times per week should I exercise with weights?
3). How long will I need supervised training?
4). How much aerobic exercise should I do?
5). How much will training cost?
6). What should I eat?
7). What will I need to do to achieve the results I want?
8). Should I eat before and/or after I exercise?

Finally, ask for references. At least two, maybe three and contact them with questions. I always tell clients 'go with your gut." If it is a right fit, you will know it. And along the same lines, I also know, after listening to your goals, if I feel I would be a good trainer. Remember, a personal trainer is a trusted professional, make sure that he/she is doing all they can to help you achieve your goals.

Rick Gusler is a certified personal trainer and diet nutritionist who serves his clients through Gusler Body Sculpting Fitness Center in central Denver. To schedule a free consultation, or to learn more about the Gusler method of body sculpting, spin yoga, or Rick's Boot Camp, please contact him at 303.860.7131 or online at

Gusler Body Sculpting Fitness Center, LLC
459 Acoma Street · Denver, Colorado 80204 · 303-860-7131
Hours: Monday-Friday: 6am-8pm · Saturday: Closed · Sunday: Closed