2007-07-09 12:01:45.0 Jeannine Stein: Welcome to our chat with personal trainer and gym owner Erik Flowers. Please feel free to post your questions about trainers, including how to choose one, how to work with one, and what qualifications to look for.
2007-07-09 12:04:13.0 Erik Flowers: Jeannine...Let's look first at "how to find a good trainer". Go to your closest gym, walk in the door and ask for the owner (neighborhood gym) or manager...
2007-07-09 12:05:34.0 Jeannine Stein: Please feel free to post your questions for Erik.
2007-07-09 12:06:13.0 Erik Flowers: If it's a neighborhood gym (unlike a corporate gym), the owner usually is a trainer with a great amount of experience--ask for him/her! Say I want you! Afterall, he/she's likely a gym rat and has the most knowledge. If it's a corporate gym, take a look at the pictures on the Trainer wall. Look at their backgrounds. See what appeals to you personally.
2007-07-09 12:06:18.0 tmock: I've been working w/a trainer for a few months now. I'd like some tips on how to motivate myself to lift weights w/out prodding from my trainer. I do cardio several times a week at the gym, but haven't done weights solo.
2007-07-09 12:08:48.0 Erik Flowers: Have your trainer make an exercise card with your routine on it. It's a lot easier following something that's written down than trying to improvise and remember what the Trainer told you.
2007-07-09 12:10:35.0 Erik Flowers: Maybe even find workout bud. Also, when you work out on your own, don't stay for hours and hours--keep it short and sweet; then go home knowing you did something good on your own!
2007-07-09 12:11:00.0 Jeannine Stein: Erik, are there any mental motivational tips you can give to help someone stay enthusiastic about workouts between visits with a trainer?
2007-07-09 12:13:24.0 Erik Flowers: Keep it simple--just stay active. Do other things that keep you moving--walks, gardening, tennis...consider all that "cross-training"....
2007-07-09 12:13:38.0 Erik Flowers: It doesn't always have to be about the gym.
2007-07-09 12:13:49.0 tmock: Thanks Erik. My mom has osteoporosis, so you'd think that would be motivation enough for me to lift weights . . . good question Jeannine.
2007-07-09 12:13:55.0 Jeannine Stein: Erik, what kind of a trainer should you look for if you want to train for a specific sport, such as tennis? Would the trainer also have to be a tennis player?
2007-07-09 12:16:53.0 Erik Flowers: Yes. First stop is a Trainer who is a good model of what you'd like to be....Great question, answered this way: when you interview the Trainer don't just ask "gym" type questions. Ask what their hobbies are, what they did in the past, what their personal goals are--this, more than anything will give you the best info you need about Them as a person, who you will be working closely with.
2007-07-09 12:17:21.0 Jeannine Stein: How do you know when it's time to get a trainer? If you're working out regularly and getting OK results, is a trainer really necessary?
2007-07-09 12:18:20.0 Erik Flowers: When you have the time alotted, when you have the budget alotted, when you are to the point when what you are doing is not working anymore.
2007-07-09 12:19:16.0 Erik Flowers: Trainers can be hired part-time--monthly check-ins, or weekly. As we get older, we get busier, so need someone sometimes to keep us on the "healthy" track.
2007-07-09 12:19:37.0 Jeannine Stein: Erik, you mentioned budget...what is the going rate for trainers these days?
2007-07-09 12:20:33.0 Erik Flowers: Varies from health club to gym, but I'd say in L.A. area $45-$75 is reasonable.
2007-07-09 12:22:10.0 Jeannine Stein: How important is it to get along with your trainer? Do you have to be best friends, or just maintain a professional relationship in the gym?
2007-07-09 12:22:48.0 Erik Flowers: Some Trainers will do 30 for 30-- $30/$30min blitz workouts. Those are good to find!
2007-07-09 12:23:22.0 tmock: For me budget wasn't as much an issue as giving myself permission to spend time on improving my health. As a mom of two young children, it was time for me to reclaim my health. My trainer has been tough yet encouraging. I'm now the healthiest I've been since I was a teen.
2007-07-09 12:25:10.0 Erik Flowers: I've been Training for over 25 years. Many of my clients think I'm their priest, business partner, best frind, therapist....It's all good. There's an implied confidentiality, and we do work very closely with clients. That's why it's called "Personal" training. But I do have many secrets.
2007-07-09 12:25:53.0 Jeannine Stein: We won't ask you to reveal them! Erik, many trainers these days use Internet and phone coaching in addition to, or instead of, one-on-one training. What do you think of these newer methods?
2007-07-09 12:26:00.0 Erik Flowers: Tmock, you're a stud. You made a choice. I commend your follow-through!
2007-07-09 12:27:40.0 Erik Flowers: I think you can do "mental-game" coaching over the phone, but I can't wrap my head around doing "physical" training over a phone. I mean, I know how it works.....
2007-07-09 12:28:31.0 Jeannine Stein: Thanks for joining us on the chat. Please feel free to post any questions you have for Erik Flowers, personal trainer and gym owner.
2007-07-09 12:29:40.0 Erik Flowers: Internet training? Sure, I know that too. Seems the same as hiring a good Trainer, having that Trainer write stuff down for you and following it. Where's the "Personal" in "Internet training"?
2007-07-09 12:31:11.0 Erik Flowers: Wouldn't you rather have someone in your ear saying "Do two more--because you can--DO IT!"
2007-07-09 12:31:19.0 tmock: Thanks Erik. I find that being a good healthy and strong model for my 9 yo daughter is an excellent motivator. My trainer motivates me w/email messages and she sends me cards reminding me how far I've come from couch potato to 5K runner!
2007-07-09 12:31:50.0 Erik Flowers: Now, I have to say, I've developed a cardio workout on audio CD--that's different (of course).
2007-07-09 12:32:39.0 Erik Flowers: It's intresting that people will follow instructions better on audio than they will on paper or internet. Why? Because it's in their head.
2007-07-09 12:33:44.0 Erik Flowers: A good Personal Trainer will stay on you with phone calls, emails, reminders, weighing anf measuring--it's accountability. It's what we all need. It's what you paying them for.
2007-07-09 12:34:46.0 Jeannine Stein: Erik, we've talked about when it's time to start using a personal trainer...how do you know when it's time to stop working with a trainer? Obviously budget and time are factors, but is there a time when a client can 'graduate'?
2007-07-09 12:36:26.0 Erik Flowers: Pause with any workouts if you have nagging injuries...Stop when they start talking more about themselves than you. Come on, this is YOUR hour!
2007-07-09 12:38:21.0 Jeannine Stein: You bring up a good point. Let's say you start working with a trainer and realize, after a few sessions, that you don't enjoy working with them. Is it OK to break things off and start working with another trainer? What if you're at the same gym--does this make things awkward?
2007-07-09 12:38:57.0 Erik Flowers: You can also say "Hey, I'm going to take some pilates or boxing lessons for a month or two. I'll train with you again after that. Mix it up.
2007-07-09 12:40:47.0 Erik Flowers: Also, mentally, you've got to try other things: hire a guitar or language teacher. Feed your mind and your body--keep learning things, keep changing your mind and your body.
2007-07-09 12:42:10.0 Erik Flowers: Write down your personal goals....Emmit Smith, the Hall of Fame football player said, "it's a dream until you write it down; then it's a goal."
2007-07-09 12:43:18.0 Erik Flowers: Find like people that do like things....If you want change you have to put in the effort. Your Effort will match your change--exactly! Funny how that works.
2007-07-09 12:44:25.0 Erik Flowers: I ask my clients, "How's your eating going?" They say, "I did just okay." I respond, "The you will see just okay results."
2007-07-09 12:45:30.0 tmock: Erik - writing goals down really does help. I never ran a 5K until February after writing a schedule leading up to running 3 miles. Now I plan to run a 10K in September, increasing my runs each week. I also print out motivational quotes like, "A true champion works hard and never loses sight of her dreams," Dot Richardson, Olympic gold medalist.
2007-07-09 12:47:26.0 Erik Flowers: Let me add this about changing trainers....Avoid the awkwardness by saying to your Trainer, "If it's okay with you--" and what are they going to say 'NO IT'S NOT!"....say, "I'm going to mix up my training a bit here and try her." Give the reason.
2007-07-09 12:47:50.0 Jeannine Stein: I would guess most people hire trainers to learn more effective ways to work out with weights. Can a trainer help with cardio workouts as well? How?
2007-07-09 12:49:08.0 Erik Flowers: Ask Trainers if they have specific cardio routines, or specific workouts for becoming leaner or more muscled. Tell them exactly what you are looking for and see if they have the specific experience...Now, to tmock...
2007-07-09 12:50:51.0 Erik Flowers: Motivational music helps too. Get your good stuff on your MP3 player. Also, give yourself a motivational secret word: "Strong"....or phrase only YOU know: "Strong to last long" or "I can do this!"
2007-07-09 12:52:48.0 Erik Flowers: The key to hiring a Trainer is to find the one who can very specifically help you with your ver personal and specific goals...that's why you have to know what you want first and foremost.
2007-07-09 12:53:38.0 Jeannine Stein: Great advice. We'd like to thank Erik Flowers, personal trainer and owner of Body Builders Gym in Los Angeles, for joining our chat today. The transcript of this chat will be available on the Health page at latimes.com in about two hours.
2007-07-09 12:54:08.0 tmock: Thanks Erik.
2007-07-09 12:54:44.0 Erik Flowers: Thanks for listening! Listening? Ah, but reading is listening isn't it. See, find a Trainer who can get in your head. Stay strong!Copyright © 2015, Los Angeles Times