By Ms. Brittany Carlson (IMCOM)April 5, 2010
STUTTGART, Germany -- Most people can go to the gym, work out on their own, and get reasonable results.
But if they want to maximize a physical training score or lose a dress size, they may want to put their fitness routine in the hands of the experts: personal fitness trainers.
"Working with a trainer actually gives you a higher gain in a fitness regimen than what you would gain on your own ... 40 percent more," said Dena Taylor, U.S. Army Garrison Stuttgart fitness coordinator. "A personal fitness trainer will push you harder than you would push yourself."
Gordon Brenner, a retired chief master sergeant, is living proof.
Brenner started working with a PFT in January to lose weight and build strength. Now, he's 15 pounds lighter and able to bench press 85 pounds - 35 pounds more than he could before starting.
"It's having someone coach me - someone looking out for what I'm doing," Brenner said during a training session March 31. "You can always overcome ... if you've got somebody pushing you."
Brenner isn't alone, either.
"I finished training a woman who lost a whole dress size to get into her wedding dress and ended up with six-pack abs," Taylor said. "And, I'm constantly working with people that it's actually saved their military career."
However, successes like these don't happen overnight.
In order to start working with a personal fitness trainer, clients first describe their goals. Frequent requests are to lose weight, build strength and improve overall energy levels, said Heather Crawford, a USAG Stuttgart PFT.
Crawford is one of eight PFTs in USAG Stuttgart, all nationally-certified and contracted though Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation.
While they come up with the exercise routines, the clients must do the physical work, Crawford said.
"I talk to them and ask... how determined are you' Are you willing to work hard'," she said.
Clients meet with a PFT for one or two sessions per week. Sessions are priced by the hour and can be purchased for individual workouts or partner sessions. Other packages are available.
The workouts are designed to push physical limits.
"I'm constantly trying to shock muscles," Crawford said. "Some [clients] are absolutely hating it when they're in the middle of it, but when it's done, they're like, 'OK, thanks.'"
Each workout is tailored to meet the client's fitness level and accommodate any injuries or conditions.
At the end of each session, clients are assigned workouts for "homework" between sessions, and sometimes keep a food journal.
"My ultimate goal is to get them on their own, to where they're not dependent on me anymore... [so that] it's become a lifestyle," Crawford said.
While the process may involve a lot of sweat and tears, the end result is worth it all, she added.
"The most rewarding thing is to see them do it," Crawford said. "Seeing them come in each week, saying 'We lost a pound'... they're very inspiring."