As a personal trainer for nearly the past twenty years, I’ve observed the different populations that really reap the most benefits from my services and the one that stands out, and coincidentally is also what I specialize in, is the maturing adult or an individual that feels old mainly because they are so out of shape. This person feels lost; maybe once they were athletic and it’s been so long that they have no idea where to begin or more they’re concerned that if they do start a program, that they’ll likely hurt themselves. The reality is that it is true: exercise can be dangerous if not done properly. It’s like doing a kitchen or bath re-model yourself. If you’re not an expert in this area, you can read up on the subject or watch YouTube videos on how to DIY correctly and you might do an ok or even decent job, but you’d probably make a lot more mistakes and may even have to re-do some things simply because of lack of experience. Making mistakes with your home can be costly in time and materials but making mistakes with your body can have devastating consequences.
Take the case of Joe and Mike. Joe hired me at age 55 to train him to get into shape because he wanted to race vintage cars and knew that it was very physically demanding, requiring time in the gym to be conditioned enough for the sport. He started off very much out of shape, with no muscle tone, a pot belly, and rounded shoulders that technology and gravity had done a number on. He was very focused on his goal of racing vintage cars, so he invested in himself and his health, and trained with me. He has continued to train with me religiously 2-3x/week for the past almost nineteen years. He’s had me as his guide, helping him be in shape, guarding him from injury and to maximizing the function of his maturing body, continuing to give him the strength and energy to race cars amongst other fun activities he continues to enjoy well into his 70’s.
In contrast, take Mike. Mike works out religiously 5 days a week but doesn’t think he needs a trainer because he lifted weights in either high school or college, so he feels he knows enough to stay in shape without a trainer. A case of DIY. Mike comes to see me after a recommendation from his wife that I look at his chronic shoulder issue. I first did massage on Mike, but quickly realized from our discussions that his workouts were to blame. In Mike’s best efforts to help himself, he was actually hurting himself by not understanding the biomechanics and the importance of a good program design, plus proper form, like a solid blueprint to work from.
My best advice when it comes to exercise folks:
Stop wasting your time in the gym. Do it right, Hire a trainer!