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2 main reasons to workout with a trainer at Manassas Park Community Center

With the temperatures warming up outside, it’s natural to feel the urge to get up, get out, and get active.

There is still plenty of time to reach your fitness goals before beach season hits, but as we get closer and closer to summer, you may find it difficult to stay on task and stay motivated. That’s where personal training can come in handy.

To help you reach your fitness goals, the Manassas Park Community Center will give you an additional 10 free 30-minute personal training sessions when you renew or purchase an annual Basic or All-Access Passport membership throughout the month of April.

If you’re like me though, you may not exactly understand what personal training is or how it can benefit you. I sat down with our Deputy Director, Jay Swisher, who has worked as personal trainer and oversees our personal trainers here at the community center and asked him some questions I had about personal training.

Shriner: So, what exactly is a personal trainer?

Swisher: A personal trainer is someone who provides not only guidance in the technical sense but also moral support to someone in an effort to help them reach their fitness goals.

Shriner: I’m fully capable of going to the gym and working out or running on the treadmill. What is the advantage of using a personal trainer versus just going to the gym on my own?

Swisher: There are two main reasons to work out with a trainer:

First, you’re working with somebody who is specifically trained in an exercise science based discipline. That specialized knowledge will allow them to prescribe the most effective program to help you fulfill your fitness goals. Exercise prescription includes everything about your workout routine – the recommended exercises, repetitions, sets, weights, frequency, and so on. This knowledge is derived from different places including past experience or background, which can include education and formal training.

Second, you’re gaining a support system. A trainer will motivate you and hold you accountable. Sure, you can go online and download sheets of exercises or watch YouTube videos but those videos aren’t going to text you to make sure you’re keeping up with your routine or encourage you to keep going when you feel like you’ve plateaued. In addition, your trainer will be able to monitor your form by demonstrating how to properly perform exercises. You can put yourself at risk by performing exercises incorrectly, but also incorrect form means you aren’t achieving your maximum potential and getting the most from each exercise.

Shriner: Okay, so I’m convinced. What do I need to look for in a personal trainer? How can I make sure I’m picking a good trainer?

Swisher: The first thing you want to do when you’re considering using a trainer, or even when you want to work out on your own, is figure out what your fitness goals are. Search for a trainer whose skill set best matches your needs. If you have very specific fitness goals, you’d want to seek out a personal trainer who has expertise in that same area.

It’s important to vet your trainer to make sure they are truly qualified. Check their background, ask about their experience and certifications. When it comes to certifications, check for reputable agencies such as AAFA, ACE, or ACSM. It’s perfectly acceptable to ask for a mini session. Tell them about yourself. Say you’re a 44-year-old male with high blood pressure who has been sedentary for the past 15 years and one of your goals is to lose 10 pounds. Listen to what the trainer would recommend and see what they demonstrate. How do you feel about their training style? Ask them about their fitness philosophies – do they make sense to you? What it boils down to is you need to ask questions, listen to the answers, and observe their style.

Another great option is to see if that trainer teaches any group exercise classes. Group exercise classes are an inexpensive way to see if the trainer’s style feels right to you.

Shriner: Okay, so I’ve scheduled my first personal training session. What should I expect?

Swisher: Well, it’s hard to say because it really depends on what your personal fitness goals are. That’s the whole point behind personal training, it cannot be cookie cutter because every person is so unique. You could expect a lot of planning your very first session. Your trainer might be walking you through a routine they developed for you.

One misconception I hear all the time about personal training is that you have to already be in good shape to start training. Trainers can and should modify routines based on the client’s current status or condition.

Once the plan is in place, get into a consistent routine. However, you want to make sure there’s plenty of variety in your program. The body gets complacent very easily. Be consistent about how often you work out but challenge your body as well.

Shriner: What do you mean by complacent? Are you saying if I perform the same workout every day, it isn’t effective?

Swisher: The body is always looking for consistency. Sometimes it’s a good thing. Think about what times you get hungry and what time you go to bed every night. When it comes to fitness, consistency in terms of doing the same work out can be a bad thing. The body will exert the least amount of effort as it continues to perform the same action over and over again.

If every day you perform the exact same routine, your body will adapt and progress will decline. Keep your body surprised by switching up your routine. It’ll also make working out more enjoyable.

It’s also paramount to allow your muscles ample rest. If you work out the same muscles every time, you could be putting your body at risk. Sometimes a full body work out can be the most effective option, but that isn’t best for everybody. Often you’ll hear people resting certain muscle groups while working out a different group. So even though they’re going to the gym 5 days a week, they aren’t necessarily using the same muscles each day, and therefore you’d see them doing a variety of exercises.

Shriner: Let’s wrap up this interview with a little shout out to our personal trainers. Can you tell me a little about them?

Swisher: Sure. All of our personal trainers are certified through a national training agency. Some of them have formal education from a university or technical college as well. They all have years of experience and are consistently pursuing their own fitness goals. For example, one of our trainers, Alan Harshaw, recently participated in a body building competition and won two trophies. Many of our trainers also teach group exercise classes and are very accessible to our patrons. If anyone is interested in personal training, I encourage them to come down and chat with one of them!

The Manassas Park Community Center is located at 99 Adams Street in Manassas Park, Va. You can learn about our wellness areas and more by visiting us online at or giving us a call at 703-335-8872.

This promoted post is written by Manassas Park Community Center.
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