A personal trainer is much in demand today. Getting the right trainer will let you set and achieve realistic goals.

A lot of hype and hoopla surrounds the whole concept of a personal trainer. A career in fitness is an option many people are taking up quite seriously. Good trainers are in demand, and they move quickly from one training to the next. The good ones show the results you are looking to achieve. Of course, with a lot of focused work from your side.

Depending on what your goals are, a trainer will motivate you to achieve them. But before you go and hire someone, do a little research. In styles of training and working out, nothing is right or wrong.

Muscle groups

The body – every body – has only six sets of muscle groups:

Chest muscles include the neck, chest, shoulders and biceps. They are mostly used for pushing movements.

Back muscles consist of the lattisimus dorsi or lats, as they are commonly known. These muscles are used for pulling: like when you pull open a door or pull a chair to sit on.

Abdominal muscles or abs are very much in focus right now. Also known as the core, they are the ones that let us twist and turn our bodies. Holding them right is critical to a good posture and balance.

Upper leg muscles include those critical hamstrings: very important muscles for movement. The equally important quards form the front of the upper leg.

Lower leg muscles or the calves are actually two separate muscle groups and are most prominent when we stand on our toes or wear stilettos. They are used to ‘push off' the body.

Arm muscles are formed by the shoulder muscles, biceps or the front portion of the upper arms. These are the muscles men use to show off their strength. The triceps are at the back of the upper arms.

Now, to work out all the six muscle groups, there are three sets of movements: Concentric movements mean when muscles are shortened to move; Isometric movements mean that muscle lengths do not change when contracting them. Isometrics are done in stationary positions; Eccentric movements are done by lengthening muscles.

You need to decide on what sort of training you are looking for. If you are a sports person, you would obviously be in training with an expert in your field, someone who will help you enhance your performance on the field. But, if you want general fitness (which is the most common) you do not need someone qualified to train sports people.

Be realistic

Training, or working out depends on the goals you want to achieve and how soon you want to achieve them.

Find a trainer who is known to help people achieve realistic goals. If he promises you a 10 kg weight loss in two weeks, or even a month, he is not the man for you. The maximum you can drop without harming your health is 2.5 kilos a month and is considered ‘healthy' weight loss.

While only 30 per cent of a trainer's knowledge comes from theory, he or she must have that 70 per cent of practical knowledge gained from experience. This 70 per cent is what helps them help you get the results you want in consultation with a good nutritionist. Even though the body has only six muscle groups that move in three ways, every body is different. Each body reacts differently to different foods. A good nutrition plan will feed the body and the taste buds without caloric excesses. If weight loss is your goal, the nutritionist and trainer will put you on a fat-loss-muscle-growth plan.

Check out your trainer's certifications. Ask him who his clients are and whether he is willing to let you talk to them. Give his clients a call and ask them questions about their goals and the results.

Important. Find out if he upgrades his knowledge from time to time. A good trainer must be in the know about latest happenings in the world of exercise.

Challenge your trainer by giving him a goal. Your goal. Instead of letting him decide where he wants to take you.

Make sure you never plateau by changing your workout every month. Challenge your body. It will perform.

Finally enjoy every bit of your training.

Ajit Shetty is the managing director, Score Fitness, Chennai.

As told to Ameeta Agnihotri


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