You’ve made the decision to improve your health, and now you’re wondering what it would be like to have your own personal trainer (ideally, a Certified Personal Trainer). Perhaps you found a trainer that offers one or two “starter” sessions at a discount. What can you expect from your first personal training session? How can you make the most of it?
Your trainer will first want to get to know you and find out about your personal goals. That is the advantage of personal training; it is focused on you and what you want to achieve! Everyone is different, so your trainer will develop a program that is customized for you. For example, are you trying to lose weight? Maybe you are satisfied with your weight, but you would like to tone and sculpt your body. Or perhaps you are an athlete and would like to improve your performance in a certain sport, or increase your overall fitness and stamina level. It all depends on where you are in relation to your particular goals. So, the most important thing to do before your first training session is to take time to clarify those goals. Envision the way you want to look (or perform)! For example, you might want to find a picture of someone who has the type of body you would like to have, or at least write out a description of it. Some people find it helpful to post a picture that exemplifies their ideal body appearance in several locations around the house such as the bathroom mirror or the refrigerator.
Be sure to bring a comfortable set of workout clothes to your first training session. Your trainer will probably begin with a fitness assessment, asking about your goals and how you want to improve. Some trainers also offer nutritional counseling, during which they will review your diet and offer recommendations for macro nutrients and calorie intake. If you don’t have good eating habits, your trainer will probably at least encourage you to develop them right away in order to obtain the greatest benefit from your training sessions. He may also have some forms for you to sign before beginning your first workout.
You will probably begin with a light warm-up on a treadmill, bike, or rowing machine. The next part of your workout will often involve body weight exercises, including stretching and flexibility exercises to determine your range of motion and reveal any problem areas. Your trainer may recommend certain types of exercises to help relieve stress or improve your posture. Sitting at a desk hunched over a computer for many hours each day can cause many problems!
Ideally, you will end your first workout feeling relaxed and refreshed. If you are not accustomed to exercise, you may experience a small amount of pain from muscles that haven’t been used in a while. Any painful areas will generally dissipate within a day or two. It’s important to understand that you will probably not see any dramatic changes in your appearance within the first couple of weeks. The first thing that most clients notice is an improvement in their energy level and sense of well-being. This often leads to other benefits such as reduced stress, better performance at work, and improved sleep function. You will probably also experience a mental and emotional “boost” from the knowledge that you are doing something good for your body.
Within 4-8 weeks, most personal training clients start to see significant body changes. Depending on your body type, goals, and level of commitment to your program, you may experience a drop in your body weight and waistline size or you may notice an improvement in your overall definition, strength, flexibility, and range of motion. You definitely should see improvements in your ability to perform various exercises, such as being able to increase the number of repetitions or amount of weight used. In addition, almost all clients will have significantly more energy and will develop a sense of well-being that will last throughout the day.
Personal training is an investment in your health, personal appearance, and performance level that will also affect your life positively in many other ways. You will have more energy, self-confidence, and be able to perform at a higher level on the job and at home. Remember that what you get out of your program will depend on your level of commitment. If you have never developed healthy eating habits, now is the time to start. Commit yourself to maintaining a healthy lifestyle and you will maximize the results of your training program, plus you will reap the benefit of improved overall health.