Personal trainers can help people of all shapes and sizes rehab from injury or surgery, lose weight, feel younger and improve self-esteem, according to Tony Magden, a personal trainer who owns two Fitness Together studios.
“What we do is not rocket science,” he says. “We do direct people to exercise the right way, but I feel it’s more about accountability and relationships and encouragement.”
Magden says he believes in a holistic approach to improved health, which includes eating well. “I never put anyone on a diet,” he says, but he does have people keep a food journal and then helps them explore healthier choices in their diet.
Magden suggests interviewing two to three trainers and to be wary of anyone who won’t offer a free consultation before you sign up. Discuss your goals, whether they are long-term improvement or a short-term shape-up for a wedding or reunion, and decide if the suggested plan can fit into your life. Look at testimonials and ask for referrals, he adds. Finding the right trainer and the right atmosphere are essential to ensure people reap the rewards exercise can offer.
The benefits of exercise include stress reduction, better sleep, lower blood pressure and weight loss, says Magden, noting his clients range in age from teenagers to 80- and 90-year-olds. He says the older clients especially benefit from improved balance and overall better health. Many are able to reduce or eliminate medications for high blood pressure or diabetes with the benefit of an exercise program.
The big difference Magden sees in his clients is an enhanced self-image. He proudly points to before and after testimonials that show not only trimmer, fitter bodies, but more importantly happier, brighter expressions.
Laura Flax has come to small-group classes at Fitness Together for about a year. “I have always done some form of exercise but with this group I have found my greatest success. Working with a trainer pushes you to do and try things you would not do on our own. Working with a small group provides support, friendship and a little competition….I am 53 and have lost over 20 pounds and feel strong and healthy. Tony and his staff are kind, motivating people.”
Sherri Poole, a client for three years, comments, “I have so much more strength and energy than I did three years ago. I am 46 and I feel better than when I was 35.
“I am still working on my goals and get great advice and encouragement from all the trainers at FT. They have helped design a program that works with my life and have been so understanding with the amount of time I was committing.”
Magden says that any fitness program must consider a person’s financial and time resources. While a client’s goals at an initial evaluation might suggest the need to work out four to five times a week, if finances or children, work and other commitments make that impossible, trainers need to work out a schedule that will work and help people adjust their goals.
At Fitness Together, clients work with a trainer whenever they use the resistance equipment or private exercise room, but they are welcome to come in and use the cardio equipment anytime during regular hours (6 am to 9 pm, Monday-Friday; 6 am to 3 pm, Saturday). Last year, FT added small group sessions for about half the cost of individual training.
In Portland, the cost for a 45-minute to one-hour session with personal trainer ranges from $50 to $100, says Magden.
“It is an investment,” he says. “The people who get the best results are those who have decided they are ready to change their lifestyle.”