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?