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SAU Professor, Alan Sivell, says he’s going to change directions this spring, by adding a personal trainer to his workout regime. He’ll keep up his walks at Sunderbruch Park, though!

By LMQC Battle of the Bulge blogger, Alan Sivell

For the first time in my life, I am getting a personal trainer.

I need one.

I’ve been faithfully working out since I went out for sports in high school, beginning in the spring of 1967. But it’s always been by myself and my routine has rarely varied.

That changes the first of March.

Taking the first steps to finding a personal trainer

I volunteered to be trained by a St. Ambrose senior kinesiology student. It’s part of Professor Erica Thomas’s capstone Exercise Prescription/Program Design class.

“The trainer can come in handy when you have specific goals that you are wanting to work toward,” Thomas says.

“If you want to work toward a race or there are certain movements that you want to work on, it’s a good investment.”

Everyone needs goals 

My goal is to break out of my 50-year workout rut. I ran until I couldn’t run anymore. Now I bike or do the elliptical. All cardio, all the time.

Dr. Thomas suggests I try the weight machines, partly because they can be intimidating if you don’t know how to use them. She says trainers help you gain experience and comfort with them.

My goal set and plan in place, Thomas says I need to do one more thing before I start. I need to ask the trainer some questions before I commit.

Experience matters in this field, she says. And while trainers should be prepared to work with just about anyone, some prefer to work with certain clients, such as seniors, young athletes or pregnant women.

Finding a trainer who’s a good fit is key

“I tell people to look for a good fit,” Thomas says. “A good trainer can provide you with good information. They can help you try something new safely.”

I can’t help but think back to my first trainers. They were my coaches. Their idea of a workout was wind sprints, leg lifts, jumping jacks and deep knee bends. Their primary measure of success was how much their charges were sweating at the end of practice.

My favorite training tip came from my college baseball coach. Upon learning I was a left-hander, he told me not to drive with my window open, because that was a sure-fire way to get a sore arm.

Since then, I’ve read more than a few books, articles, and studies about it. I’ve talked to a lot of people at runs and gyms. I like to think my workout thinking has matured, if not my routine. (I still do leg lifts).

We’ll see what my new trainer says. The one assigned to me was a student in my speech class 3 years ago. Now the roles will be reversed.

I hope it’s a good fit!