I love being a personal fitness coach; I get to use my mind and body to help people achieve their goals -- mental and physical -- each day. I also love being a father; I use the same exact set of skills to help two much smaller people accomplish their goals. Their goals are usually a little easier to attain, as they include watching movies, playing outdoors and finishing their dinner so that they can have dessert.
Recently, my oldest daughter, Taylor Rose, fell in love with these little elfish action figures at the store, and we spent what seemed like hours pouring over the various decisions to be made; which prince to buy, does he get a horse, is there an evil sorceress -- you name it and there was a bin filled with little plastic dudes and dudettes. I was lost and certainly playing outside my pay grade.
It made me think of how daunting a task it is for the fitness neophyte to choose a fitness program. Let's look at the types of programs and products that may fit your personality type.
Do-it-yourself fitness program
Now, if you have changed a flat tire, planned and catered a dinner party or hung Sheetrock in your home, this could be the right one for you. Most programs look easy on television -- with super-fit people doing it in some phony bedroom or in the "living room" with kids and dogs running all around -- so beware. Make sure that you fully understand the hard work will be done under the watchful eyes of nobody but yourself, so make sure you're a go-getter before you go and get something sent to your home.
Join a commercial health club
This is a great idea; I work in a big, well-equipped gym so there is never a shortage of machines to hop on. If you are the type of person that pays attention to detail and is very motivated, you can really shed pounds and get yourself in great condition at a club. Beware that these machines do not do the work "for you," as it is never the wand but always the wizard that has the true power. It's up to you, once again. (Noticing a theme here?)
Hire a trainer
A trainer provides a guaranteed butt-kicking session (providing you show up; you lose money if you don't!), strong nutritional guidance, and motivation, the angel on one shoulder telling you what you don't want to hear (pizza is not a vegetable) while being the devil that whips you into shape. No downside, except that it can be expensive. Just be ready for hard work.
These are but a few choices; you can pick one or find another. But to live without making a choice at all is certainly choosing to go nowhere.
Darin St. George is a personal fitness coach at Gold's Gym in Natick, Mass. Visit his Web site at www.TrainerX.com.
author: Darin St. George