Getting to Your Personal Best — and Staying There
You need to be physically active to get and stay healthy. Everyone knows that, but getting started can be quite daunting.
Many overworked, stressed-out Americans start a fitness program, do all right for a short time and then drop out. (According to multiple studies in the U.S., Britain and New Zealand, the dropout rate is one third to one half, and about 80 percent of the dropouts occur between January and February.) The reasons? People see no results. Or they sustain an injury.
Injuries and few rewards contribute to negative conditioning about exercise and our bodies. Then we reach for drugs and surgery to fix decades of bad behavior. And then we deal with the side effects of that.
The marketing machine promotes unattainable “Photoshopped” results, adding even more negative conditioning about exercise. Then add the gamut of weird celebrity diets. Next, add confusing and contradictory advice from various “experts”.
This pattern continues until we give in to more drugs and surgery.
The Average Person Needs Help to Break this Cycle.
Injuries related to workouts and sports plague both beginners and veterans. Because of our country’s deplorable state of health, the rise in orthopedic injuries and overall sickness, we do need help with exercise. And, if you look at American health statistics, we need it more than anything else.
It’s amazing, but while we’ll hire a plumber to fix a stopped-up toilet, we are too embarrassed to hire a personal trainer to help us take care of the human body, which is arguably a little more complex! Is it somehow shameful in today’s culture to need help figuring out the workout thing?
People can clearly see the danger in activities like downhill skiing and riding motorcycles, but they tend to forget about the long-term damage caused by exercising improperly, or not at all, or by eating poorly.
Poor mechanics (bad form in American English) leads to more injuries and fitness dropouts than people want to admit. Research indicates that over half of all orthopedic injuries are not caused by accidents, but by repetitive stress. The fact is that our joints have a finite amount of wear-ability, and poor mechanics figure hugely in long-term joint damage.
Good trainers teach proper mechanics, giving you techniques that enable you to actually “train” and not just to “work out”. This is very important. Endless workouts are just work while training for a specific goal offers a positive result—which is what we all want!
Trainers Should Teach Proper Mechanics
Do you remember learning proper exercise mechanics in school? Of course you don’t; you weren’t taught exercise mechanics in school. You were either good at your brief bouts of PE or not. Kids who were not so good in PE received a lot of negative reinforcement about many things physical. Combine that disincentive with poor nutrition and endless drug therapy, and you have a country in the poor physical state we currently see.
Moving to a state of good health takes know-how, practice, discipline–skills that trainers help you develop.
Because proper mechanics are the same for just about every body and pertain to many different activities, good personal trainers offer many benefits. Trainers keep you safe and effective, in and out of the gym. Modern, professional personal trainers hone their skills in proper mechanics and corrective exercise. (Or at least they should. Any over-the-weekend-certified trainer wearing a neon-pink tank top can scream at you to do more reps, so check on what those credentials mean.)
Most of the trillion-dollar bill for medical issues that our country pays could be avoided with proper nutrition and exercise. Ask any physician.
But Personal Trainers are Expensive…
When I hear that compliant, I chuckle, watching the endless stream of $70k-plus price-tagged vehicles, loaded with high-end skis and bikes, that pass by as I’m on my way to the gym. Not to mention all the vehicles I see parked at fancy restaurants and bars.
Money is a poor objection to hiring a trainer, especially in this valley.
My advice is to assess the results you have gotten for money you have spent on actual health-causing behavior versus the money you spent on health-diminishing behaviors. It just might turn out that finding a trainer would be a bargain.
Head Trainer at Midland Fitness in Glenwood Springs, Steve Wells has more than 25 years of experience as an athletic trainer, a strength and conditioning coach and a personal trainer. For more of his articles, see Midland-Fitness.com.