Finding a Personal Trainer That Works For You

Oct 20, 2015
Ashley Ann Lawrie

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It’s hard to commit to a routine of fitness if the program you’re on makes you dread walking in the door.

But that’s how it was for Jennifer Heaney the first time she tried working out with a personal trainer a number of years ago at one of the big fitness chains.

“I would dread it at the other gym because I was being pushed further than I wanted to be and I wasn’t seeing the same results that I do here at Free Form Fitness,” she said.

The sessions were too long to fit into her lunch hour, and there was little customization or personalization. “It was all just pumping out reps on the machines,” she said.

So she stopped going. The 37-year-old architect never struggled much with her weight, but as she got older, “I noticed my metabolism slowing down. It creeps up on you.”

Jennifer considered taking up running, biking to work or another gym membership, but despite her best intentions, just couldn’t find the right groove to get started and keep going.

After the birth of her son, Jennifer found fresh motivation to get active, to manage her weight, and “keep up my strength and energy levels for when he gets older.”

She had often walked by FFF’s ByWard Market location, which is close to her office. For years, she had been too intimidated to go in. Then last spring, she saw the sign for a new promotion – eight sessions for $96 – the perfect opportunity to try it out.

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Dread is a thing of the past

That was April. Six months later, she is still going strong.

“It’s been really inspiring,” she said. “The decision to keep going was easy. I’ve seen better results than I did at the other gym, working out for just half as long. I like the variety, I’m always doing something different.”

It’s been a pleasant surprise to discover she likes training with free weights. So far, she’s lost 14 pounds and enjoys the feeling of being toned and having muscle.

“I’m already lifting my own weight and doing chin-ups,” she said. “I’d never done a chin up in my life. My friends and family are always commenting on my weight loss and fit appearance. And all it’s taken is half an hour, twice a week.”

The keys to her success have been a personalized program and a great rapport with trainer Alex Kenzora.

“Alex is really good, she’s really friendly and easy to talk to. I’ve never felt she was pushing to me to do anything I wasn’t ready to do. That’s made it really accessible.”

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Stronger bones for the future

Jennifer acknowledges that most women overlook the benefits of weight training in favour of cardio, but she’s come to appreciate the wide-ranging health benefits.

Building and maintaining lean muscle mass is the key to keeping off unwanted pounds. The landmark Bone Estrogen Strength Training (BEST) study conducted over two decades by the University of Arizona, found that weight training also builds bone density, when coupled with consuming adequate amounts of calcium and iron. This can delay the onset and severity of osteoporosis.

“I’ve definitely been recommending to my friends that they try weight training,” Jennifer said. “I know a lot of people who are intimidated, but if you find the right gym and the right trainer, it’s definitely the way to go.”

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