The 5 Fitness Pros That Can Help You
by our Health Coach

If you're having trouble reaching your fitness goal or want to start a new one, here's the lowdown on who can help and how long it's going to take.

Need a little motivation to take you beyond your regular gym routine? Why not turn to a bonafide fitness professional to put you on the right path and give you the tools you need to reach your goals.

Fitness goal: Improve flexibility
Pro: Yoga instructor
How they can help: Many people think that they need to be flexible to practice yoga. But the point is to practice when you are not flexible and yoga will help you get there.
Workout prescription: The best way to reap the benefits of this ancient practice is to make it an integral part of your life. Flexibility is always a slow process. To make dramatic change in the body's flexibility after many years of tension, repetitive moment and stiffness takes patience. While some students come to the hour and a half classes only once a week, attending two or three classes a week can have double or triple the benefit.
Results: By keeping body awareness between classes and attending two to three times a week, students often feel a change in their posture, energy level and ease of moment in their regular activities within four to six weeks.
Added benefits: Yoga students also experience fewer tension headaches, decreased back pain, better concentration skills and a general sense of well-being.

Fitness goal: Build some muscle
Pro: Personal trainer
How they can help: It's harder to skip a gym visit when there's someone waiting for you. A personal trainer can help you to be patient and can provide the motivation needed to get you out the door when you would rather sit on the couch and watch TV. They can also make sure that you see results by pushing you to give your all during the workout.
Workout prescription: Ideally they should meet with their trainer two to three times per week, for 30 to 60 minutes, depending on their goal. You should aim for four to five days of activity per week, so if you're only meeting with you trainer twice, you should squeeze in at least two more sessions on your own.

Fitness goal: Learn to run
Pro: Running group leader
How they can help: Every group needs a strong leader. They provide a motivating training environment with proper instruction, guidance and group camaraderie. Group leaders are quick to sing the praises of not only the person leading the pack, but all the other newbies. It's inspiring to train with others that share a common goal.
Workout prescription: Groups meet twice a week for an hour each time, and they provide a training plan that involves two more running workouts as well as stretching and strengthening exercises for members to do on their own.
Results: Starting from scratch, it takes about 18 weeks to prepare for your first 5km event.
Added benefits: In addition to enjoying the outdoors and the opportunity to meet new people, the best reason - the runner's high - have you ever met an angry runner?

Fitness goal: Ignite your competitive spirit
Pro: A team coach
How they can help: Organized team sports offer a great support mechanism. It also provides a social aspect to being fit.
Workout prescription: In some leagues they play once a week for an hour and also have a one hour training session, where they focus on basic skills.
Results: After the third game or so, the competitive edge starts to show. The desire to improve and win is quite evident.
Added benefits: In addition to meeting some new people, you're also improving your fitness level and building self-confidence.

Fitness goal: Complete a triathlon
Pro: A coach
How they can help: When it comes to tackling something like a triathlon, the key is safe, sensible progression. Coaches provide a personalized, tailored program based on the athlete's needs, current fitness levels, lifestyle constraints and goals. But it's more than just external help. Moral support is crucial during training, especially close to race time. This is a large part of what a coach does.
Workout prescription: In some facilities clients are presented with workout schedules via email, using an online software program. Athletes will train once, sometimes twice a day, three to five days a week, and from 30 to 60 minutes per session. After each workout, the athlete logs the results online and the coach provides feedback.
Results: If you're already relatively active and know how to swim that training for a beginner distance triathlon takes about eight weeks.
Added benefits: The cross-training benefits from non-impact sports such as cycling and swimming are significant. You can be competitive in a triathlon at any age, since they are scored in age groups. The record holder for the 75-79 female age group is a nun!

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