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wedding exercise - trainer

Shape Up: Get the Most Out of Your Personal Trainer

Looking to shed serious pounds and tone up in time for your wedding day? A personal trainer may be the solution. International best-selling fitness author, James Villepigue, JamesVillepigue.com, gave us the nitty-gritty on hiring a personal trainer.

What does a personal trainer do?

A good trainer is someone who holds you accountable and keeps you on point. If you say you're going to achieve a new you, the first step is being ready for the changes. A nationally certified trainer should educate you on proper exercise technique and form, proper eating tips, and a powerful exercise plan of action. A quality trainer will also guide you and keep you on track.

What are the benefits to having a personal trainer?

When it comes to looking your best in your wedding dress, time is of the essence. You need to make the time you've got left until that special day work for you. A trainer can help you set time-oriented and realistic goals. Think S.M.A.R.T. goals: a direct plan of action that's Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Timely. If you've got six weeks and you need to lose a few here and tone up a bit there, a trainer can help you get the most out of your time.

Are there different personal training styles?

There are many different styles of personal training. Most trainers can be hired to train you in a local gym where they regularly train their clients, or they'll often willingly make a visit to your regular gym. Bringing a trainer into your gym will usually cost you an additional daily gym rate fee and a personal training percentage paid out to the gym. Many trainers are now training their clients remotely. They may rely on the Internet, the phone, or a mix of both. A best-case scenario is to meet with your trainer one or two times a week and work with her remotely another two days a week. It makes for great motivation and big results.

Where do I find a good personal trainer?

Your best bet is to contact the most highly recognized personal fitness trainer credentialing organizations directly. Visit the American Council on Exercise (ACE) website (ACEFitness.org) to find an ACE professional. Also, try the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA) at NSCA-Lift.org to locate a trainer in your area.

What sorts of questions should I ask a potential trainer?

Once you found a few prospective trainers, write down some questions for them. Ask them how long they've been training, whether their training style is gender-specific, and whether they can provide referrals from happy clients. Call them and see how you feel talking with them. If they effectively answer your questions, supply you with some satisfied past or existing clientele, and you felt a good rapport with them, you've very possibly met your match! Don't stop there though: Ask them for a complimentary training session. Let them know that you're serious about being trained and that you'd just like to make sure you both mesh well together. When you meet with a trainer, ask him what his style of training is. Also, decide whether she's assertive enough or if she's too much like a drill sergeant. Don't stop searching until you find a great match -- a trainer who really motivates you and trains you the way you want to be trained.

-- Anja Winikka

See More: Getting in Shape