You're watching television when a toned celebrity pops up bragging about a personal trainer. But you think, "Yeah, I'd look like that, too, if I could afford a trainer."
Guess what? You probably can. Personal trainers are less expensive today and more flexible than ever. They charge between $25 and $50 an hour, but many will work around what a client can afford. Most trainers will meet weekly or monthly, or even check in by telephone.
More importantly, a certified personal trainer can provide you with an individualized plan that will help keep you motivated and free of injuries.
For six months, Better Homes and Gardens magazine hired Lisa Goodman, a certified personal trainer in Des Moines, Iowa, to help two readers.
Doris Lohrman, 50, recently lost 60 pounds on a medically supervised diet. She wanted to further improve her health by working out at a gym, but didn't know where to begin.
The gym wasn't an option for Kathleen Bock, a 36-year-old mother of three. She needed an exercise program she could do at home. Kathleen also had lost weight (about 30 pounds), but couldn't lose the last few pounds from her third pregnancy.
Let's see how they did.
The word exercise wasn't even in Doris Lohrman's vocabulary before she signed up for six months of personal training.
But the mother of three grown children had just turned 50 and was determined to mark the milestone with a commitment to a healthier life. Her goals were ones many of us share: lose and keep weight off, lower her cholesterol, and walk farther than one block without huffing and puffing. She did that and more.
Her total cholesterol dropped from 281 to 207 (260 is considered high risk for her age) and her body fat-the percentage of body weight due to fat-plummeted from 40 to 28 percent (22 to 28 percent is normal for her age). She lost 19 pounds.
"I can't believe how much more strength I have," she says. "Sometimes I think it's all in my head, but now I work out in the garden like a 30-year-old."
Trainer Lisa Goodman put Doris on a treadmill walking program, and within a month added weight training. She also asked Doris to drink eight glasses of water a day and to keep a food diary. They met once a week to review her progress.
Even after losing weight, Doris was still eating food high in fat and low in nutrition. "I was eating less, but not the right things," she says. "I was eating fried food and hardly eating any fruits and vegetables." The diary forced Doris to examine her eating habits and make smarter choices. She started to swap fries for fruit.
Finding time to exercise was also a challenge. Doris works full time and is an emergency medical technician for a volunteer fire department. But going to the gym at 5:30 a.m. when her husband, Bob, left for his job as a police officer didn't cut into family time in the evenings.
Although she did the work, Doris says she couldn't have done it without a trainer. After two months of hard work, she didn't see much physical change and became discouraged. During their regular meetings, Goodman would remind Doris to stay focused on the big picture. "I really learned how far I could push myself," Doris says. The experience has made her want more out of life. "I never thought 50 could be so exciting and fun."
Doris walked on a treadmill and rode a stationary bike three times a week. She walked for 35 minutes and rode for five minutes.
Trainer Lisa Goodman slowly increased the treadmill speed and incline over six months. At the end, Doris was walking for 50 minutes at 4 mph at varying inclines. (She also did 10 minutes of abdominal exercises every day.)
Every three weeks, Goodman altered the intensity of Doris's walking (called interval training) so she would burn more calories. "Your body gets used to the same routine," she says. "It's good to cross-train every few weeks for best results."
After the first month, Doris began upper- and lower-body work on weight training machines, starting with one set of 10 and working up to three sets of 15.
|Weight||183 lbs.||164 lbs.|