What do I need a trainer for??


I kind of stumbled into the field of fitness. Not literally, but figuratively. I was in junior college and had a part-time job working at a real estate office. Since I had a set schedule there,  I decided to look for another job on the other days of the week.


I was hired at a small, women’s only,  fitness center I had joined because I didn’t like the fitness center at my school. I worked the front desk, did tours, signed people up, cleaned equipment and handled the phones. Eventually, they had me teach some of the classes. I loved it! I hadn’t been sure what I wanted to study beyond junior college and my general courses, but now I knew. I wanted to study and learn about fitness.

So, I worked and went on to study Exercise Science at Southern Illinois University in Carbondale. My journey to being a trainer had just begun!



Before I began to learn about the actual science of exercise and how the body works, I did workouts I found in magazines, books, or even videos. I took some classes, and basically did whatever I felt like. Luckily, I was young, healthy and didn’t hurt myself. The things I know now make me look back and shudder! Nowadays, it’s even easier to find exercise plans with the internet. There are even some fantastic sites that give you access to hundreds or thousands of workouts to stream to your device of choice. I’ve checked out many of them and they are awesome.


However, they can’t determine if you’re doing the right workout for you.




When you hire a trainer, the first thing that most want to do is evaluate you. It’s not always fun, but I highly recommend you don’t skip this. Each trainer or facility is a little different, so the evaluation can vary. Often, they include: measurements, cardiovascular test, strength test, mobility test, and possibly a movement evaluation. These numbers give you your starting point. They can tell your trainer where you may need improvement, what you’re doing well, and can show your progress as you consistently exercise. These evaluations help us determine where to start your program. Trainers also take a look at your health history. Do you have any medical concerns such as heart disease or diabetes? Have you been exercising or leading a sedentary lifestyle? Do you have chronic pain? These are essential considerations to choosing a beginning fitness regimen with appropriate exercises to get you started.


Ouch, my knees!


I can’t even tell you how many of my clients have had knee or back pain through the years. I have both myself. And you know what? I have to modify programs I find from others because of these issues. When you work with a trainer, they are going to teach you proper form for every exercise you do. There is risk involved in all exercise, but you can really hurt yourself if you’re doing something wrong. And if you’ve had an injury or have chronic pain, some exercises are just not appropriate for you. Luckily, there are thousands of exercises to choose from, and a trainer can modify and help you do them the right way.


Do it the right way, and you’re going to get stronger, leaner, healthier and feel great!


But I only have 30 minutes!


Well, that’s okay. Many people can’t spend a couple hours working out each day, nor do they want to. This is where we trainers can get creative. We can design an intense workout, suitable to your ability, and show you how to do it in the time you have. You can combine cardio-based movements with strength training to really get your heart rate revved and see results. Now, you have to do the work, but your trainer is there to guide you and motivate you so you get the best workout you can in that time frame.


How do I choose?


I have had the opportunity to work with many trainers throughout the years. Each one of them had a personal training certification through a major organization. Some of these are: NASM, NSCA, ACE, and NCSF. These are just a few. Any trainer you work with should be certified, and feel free to ask about the certifications. Some trainers also have degrees in exercise science, physiology or kinesiology. This is not mandatory, and I’ve met great trainers that did not have degrees in the field. So, interview the trainers. You are making an investment in yourself and in them. Ask questions about their experience, training philosophy, their education, and how they deal with clients. If you’re not comfortable with that person, move on. You want to get the most out of your experience, and even great trainers don’t connect personally with everyone.


Even as a trainer, I’ve hired personal trainers. It’s fun to get pushed and learn how other people put things together. At one place I worked at, all of the trainers routinely put each other through workouts. We had a blast!


Exercise should be challenging if it’s going to change your body, but it can be fun too.
I’d love to hear your stories about getting to your best with the help of a personal trainer.



Bethany Kochan started her fitness career at a local women’s fitness center at 19 years of age. This part-time job lead to a career that over 20 years later, she still loves. Bethany earned her B.S. in Exercise Science from Southern Illinois University Carbondale at the same time becoming certified as a group exercise instructor. After college, she pursued NSCA-CPT and CSCS, group cycling, mat Pilates and YogaFit certifications. In 2009, she and her husband made a big move across the country to pursue his dream job in the field of strength and conditioning. At this point, Bethany began writing and training online to be both with her husband and the fitness industry. Today, the Kochans split their time between AZ and CA, pursuing their passions and enjoying life together with their two rescue Weimaraners.