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No time for breakfast? Coffee, on the run? Mid-day fries and diet coke … sound familiar? Over the past two decades, the number of overweight and obese adults in the U.S. has continuously been on the upswing. According to the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute, approximately 97 million Americans are overweight or obese, a condition that raises the risk of heart disease, hypertension, dyslipidemia, type 2 diabetes, cancer, stroke, gallbladder disease, osteoarthritis, sleep apnea, and respiratory ailments. Total costs attributable to obesity-related disease in the U.S. approaches $100 billion annually.

It is true; Americans love to dine out, and recent studies show that food portions have gotten larger over the years. For example, a bagel 20 years ago was three inches in diameter and contained 140 calories. Today, a six-inch bagel contains 350 calories, an increase of 210 calories! Additionally, an eight-ounce cup of coffee 20 years ago contained 45 calories with milk and sugar. Today, our flavored 16-ounce latte includes 350 calories, nearly one-third of our recommended daily allowance!

Personal Trainers – Not Just A Bunch of Dumbbells*

In today’s society, busy executives are turning to in-home personal trainers to achieve and maintain their personal fitness goals. Michael J. Sokol, voted by Men’s Journal as one of “The 100 Best Trainers in America,” offers these 10 reasons for hiring a personal trainer: Personal trainers help you save time through efficiency; they help you to achieve your fitness goals quicker; they act as motivational coaches; they teach you advanced exercise and cardiovascular techniques; exercise is safer as you learn correct form; the likelihood of injury is greatly reduced; a personalized exercise program is introduced based on personal need; a personal trainer helps with nutritional guidance; and they make exercise fun and interesting.

A good example is, Miguel Calhoun, ACE, NASM, COTFA certified, Hip Hop X-treme Instructor. Calhoun likes to “get into clients’ minds” to motivate them. Calhoun has designed fitness programs for NBA players’ wives, as well as a famous gospel singer. He comments, “I have worked hard to achieve acceptance and confidence when entering someone else’s home. I keep a text list of clients to send daily refresher messages in order to check on their progress.”

In addition to in-home training, Calhoun also choreographs kickboxing and specialty dance classes in Aurora. Personal trainers love what they do. According to Calhoun, “Participating in health and wellness activities allows me to better understand my own family’s challenges. I’m having a great time!”

Bill Cummings, founder of the “Personal Trainer Network” of certified training professionals, believes, “Most people need to make a workout personal in order to achieve results.” Home-based in Chicago and suburban Illinois, Cummings’ goal is to “provide a selection of the most educated, experienced, and certified professional trainers to the public.”

He adds, “The recent trend for personal trainers is to work for themselves, specializing in personal, in-home sessions, or working at private personal training studios.

Suzanne Gray, founder and President of Right Fit, a sports, fitness, and, wellness facility, is a perfect example. In order to promote the physical, emotional, intellectual, and social well-being of each client, Gray introduced a patented “Up-Right Assessment” and educates clients on the value of proper posture and body mechanics.

What to Look For

One-on-One Fitness Personal Training Service, Inc. hires personal trainers with years of extensive fitness and nutrition experience. According to founder Michael J. Sokol, “Our fitness staff is comprised of the best personal trainers in the industry. We look for the top ‘gold standard.’ Our trainers have achieved national certification from organizations such as The National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM), The American Council on Exercise (ACE), The International Fitness Professionals Association (IFPA), The Aerobics and Fitness Association of America (AFAA), and the International Fitness Association (IFA).”

Michelle Rossfeld specializes in weight loss and exercise programs for women. According to Rossfeld, “Men do not know women’s bodies.”

Rossfeld worked at Curves to become ACE certified and has since been featured in magazines as the top female trainer for women. Rossfeld bases her exercise programs on exercise level and personal background. Programs include strength training, core or balance techniques and cardiovascular. “My approach is more no-nonsense,” she begins. “My passion for health and wellness has allowed me to design client programs averaging monthly weight loss of 8 to 10 lbs. each month, instead of the usual 4 lbs.”

In addition to experience and certification, Rossfeld recommends that a good personal trainer must have liability insurance, a desire to answer client questions, as well as the ability to design a personalized program based on individual client needs and objectives.

Fitness Start to Finish

Upon hiring a personal trainer, each client participates in an individual body assessment including BWI and flexibility. A good trainer will ask questions regarding lifestyles and goals. One-on-One Fitness trainer, Michael J. Sokol emphasizes, “A crucial element to reaching goals is a positive mental attitude and a willingness to accept challenges and overcome obstacles.”

Suzanne Gray agrees. “A personalized program must accommodate a client’s lifestyle, based on their likes and dislikes. Trainers don’t want clients depending on them to keep up with workouts. For a life of ultimate health and fitness, most people need a personal trainer four times a year.”

One-on-One Fitness believes, “In order for each client to reach their fitness goals 100 percent of the time, there are three topics that must be understood, with no exception.”

1. Nutrition – Generally requires the consumption of six smaller meals every day containing a portion of protein and a portion of carbohydrates. Proper nutrition accounts for over 60 percent of an individual’s success in reaching their goal.

2. Cardiovascular Training – A basic requirement for every individual three times each week for at least 20 minutes.

3. Strength Training – Generally required at least three times each week. Without strength training, the average individual loses more than a ½-pound of muscle per year after age 25.

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