How to Work with a Personal Trainer

As the summer winds down, and you are getting back into your fall routine, you may be ready to start a new exercise routine.  You may even be considering using a personal fitness trainer to rev up your exercise program.  But it may not be so obvious how best to work with a personal fitness trainer.  So what is the best way to work with a trainer?

The first thing to keep in mind is that each person is different and a trainer should focus on your goals and where you are right now in your current fitness life.  When I am talking about goals, here are some of the questions you may want to go over with your trainer.  Do you want to become a beefcake? Are you looking to become a successful athlete? Training for a triathlon? Looking to improve your balance and stamina or heading to your 30-year high school reunion?  Or are you like so many others, a person just looking to improve your golf game?

You can ask your trainer to watch you and how you work out to see your strong points and movement patterns.  You can tell your trainer what you want to do and what it is that motivates you the most.

Once a personal trainer has this background on you, your trainer can create a program that fits best for you.  For instance, a trainer may suggest the use of different kinds of equipment, such as free weights, kettle bells, cardio equipment, core utensils, or Olympic weight lifting.  The trainer can then help you start and maintain your training program.  Ultimately, your trainer can help you build strength and keep you at your optimal level of function.  Remember, a functional workout, meaning a workout that will take you through movements that you will use day to day in life, is best.  The best trainer will “meet you where you are”, and build you to be the best person you can be.  Remember, life is an athletic event!  ENJOY IT with optimum mobility, verve and vibrancy!

Suzanne Campi Stevens is an owner of Shawsu Workout Studio in Loyola Corners, Los Altos (  She can be reached at or (650) 941-6700 or

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