Advisability of Using a Personal Trainer at the Gym

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Strider
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Advisability of Using a Personal Trainer at the Gym

Post by Strider » Sun Feb 17, 2019 4:10 pm

Upon passing 70, and after an extensive period of inactivity in my life (and with the OK from my physician), I joined a gym. I love the routine of weight training, viz., the discipline required, the effort, the feeling of soreness after a workout. I incorporate the principle of progressive overload. I lift 2-3 times a week and have begun to see some positive results, viz., better muscle definition and increased strength. I look forward to my workouts. I also love being surrounded by others who are into lifting, sweating, increasing their fitness level.

Based on observation of other gym rats, I believe that my form is good. Based on conversations with others of my age cohort at the gym, I believe that my routine (frequency, muscle groups worked) is about right

However I have begun thinking about using the services of one of the gym's trainers to improve my progress. For those in my situation (improving fitness, preventing age-related loss of muscle mass), how advisable is this? What are the advantages and disadvantages of using a trainer? What is a reasonable fee schedule? What credentials should I look for?

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Re: Advisability of Using a Personal Trainer at the Gym

Post by Mr.BB » Sun Feb 17, 2019 4:29 pm

There are many advantages if you get the right trainer. I think it's important that they understand your medical background and goals, not just your exercising form. Do you have any issues with diabetes, blood pressure, arthritis osteoporosis. If they don't know how to correctly assess and develop a program for you then it's a problem.

I know gym prices are going to be a lot different depending on which gym you go to as well as if you have somebody come to your house. I would tell you if you're at the gym watch some of them. Do they pay attention to their client while they are exercising or are they easily and consistently distracted?
I always watch trainers where I work out. Some of them are really good, some of them I wouldn't let near a corpse.
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Re: Advisability of Using a Personal Trainer at the Gym

Post by Stinky » Sun Feb 17, 2019 4:37 pm

Mr.BB wrote:
Sun Feb 17, 2019 4:29 pm
There are many advantages if you get the right trainer. I think it's important that they understand your medical background and goals, not just your exercising form. Do you have any issues with diabetes, blood pressure, arthritis osteoporosis. If they don't know how to correctly assess and develop a program for you then it's a problem.

I know gym prices are going to be a lot different depending on which gym you go to as well as if you have somebody come to your house. I would tell you if you're at the gym watch some of them. Do they pay attention to their client while they are exercising or are they easily and consistently distracted?
I always watch trainers where I work out. Some of them are really good, some of them I wouldn't let near a corpse.
+1

OP, you’ll also want to think about whether you want a “check-up” or a longer term relationship.

Based on what sounds like your great level of drive and motivation, you might want a few sessions at the start, and then periodic check-ins thereafter.
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Re: Advisability of Using a Personal Trainer at the Gym

Post by prudent » Sun Feb 17, 2019 4:50 pm

My experience was not good. On my profile I listed surgeries I had and the need to avoid overstressing one particular fragile area, per my doctor's instructions. I had quizzed the trainer about experience, training and qualifications and he was loaded on all counts. On the third session he had me doing some exercise that I feared was too stressful on that one area, we stopped to talk about it, and he explained just working on an area does not mean we're overdoing it and he was certain I was well within safe parameters. A month later, I needed another surgery in that spot.

I suppose my point is that I felt the trainer would ensure I wasn't doing anything harmful knowing my background, but it didn't turn out that way. Some years later I knew a girl who graduated with a degree in whatever field prepares one for doing personal training, and she told me picking a trainer is simply a crapshoot. She had classmates who all graduated and then earned some key certification but their skills ranged from exceptionally good to terrible even though they were all well-qualified on paper.

Now I limit my involvement with trainers at the gym to asking them to explain how to use a piece of equipment, and I take it from there. I'll never reach my maximum potential this way but I'm OK with it as I'm more concerned about avoiding new problems.

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Re: Advisability of Using a Personal Trainer at the Gym

Post by adamthesmythe » Sun Feb 17, 2019 5:27 pm

Never had a trainer, would never consider it. I'm cheap about these things.

I've been regularly exercising for decades. I did use a few (free) sessions to use the machines properly. Other than that, keeping a regular schedule using both the machines and treadmill does it for me.

Now if you have a specific problem...a physical therapist can be very helpful.

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Re: Advisability of Using a Personal Trainer at the Gym

Post by mhalley » Sun Feb 17, 2019 5:38 pm

One thing you might consider is to record your workout on your phone, then watch it to confirm that your form is correct.

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Re: Advisability of Using a Personal Trainer at the Gym

Post by Mr.BB » Sun Feb 17, 2019 5:59 pm

mhalley wrote:
Sun Feb 17, 2019 5:38 pm
One thing you might consider is to record your workout on your phone, then watch it to confirm that your form is correct.
The problem with that is is that you really don't know what to look for.; In terms of form. I like the idea of getting a trainer for three four sessions and have them specifically work with you on form.
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Re: Advisability of Using a Personal Trainer at the Gym

Post by ohai » Sun Feb 17, 2019 6:10 pm

Hi, OP. Congratulations on your workout regime. It is never too late to start and I find your example to be very inspiring.

Anyway, I recommend that you sign up for some personal training sessions, at least for a few times, so you learn a few things and avoid some beginner mistakes. Once you are comfortable with a routine, you can decide whether it makes sense to continue. The primary goal of professional instruction is to avoid injuries, and this is important to any age group. Even if you think your form is good, you never know when you might overload by just a bit.

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Re: Advisability of Using a Personal Trainer at the Gym

Post by petulant » Sun Feb 17, 2019 6:40 pm

Caveat, I am much younger than OP (20s). But I decided to start taking fitness more seriously a few years ago. To help out, I hired a trainer three times a week for two months. It was not cheap, but I have no regrets. The trainer provided accountability, taught some basic skills for certain exercises, and gave important pointers for what to include in routine. It has been five years, and I have not seen a trainer again. I think if I wanted to do more complex exercises, it would help to get a trainer for a bit.

Since OP already has some discipline and good skills, he may not need a trainer. On the other hand, it might be helpful since OP is older to have a trainer check form to reduce the risk of injury. I don’t think there’s a clear answer—it can’t hurt to do it, but is it worth in the context of the budget? I don’t know.

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Re: Advisability of Using a Personal Trainer at the Gym

Post by jabberwockOG » Sun Feb 17, 2019 6:52 pm

If a person is relatively new to weight and strength training, I suggest it would be a good idea to employ a trainer for 4-5 weeks for twice a week 30-60 minute sessions. Emphasize up front to your trainer that you want them to help you learn and develop a routine using the equip in your gym, and that you want to then continue on your own rather than wanting long term use of trainer. I'd also suggest setting up just 1 session with a new trainer at first to see if you like the person and feel they can help you before any further commitment. No harm in trying 2-3 different trainers if your gym has them available.

After 8-10 sessions a newbie should be pretty familiar with their gym's machines, equipment and various routines based on their needs and physiology and going forward should be perfectly able to continue working out without a trainer.

As a side note scheduling regular workouts over the long term with a trainer can also be a motivator and help a person stick to a workout schedule so there is some significant value in that if a person has trouble sticking to a workout schedule.

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Re: Advisability of Using a Personal Trainer at the Gym

Post by livesoft » Sun Feb 17, 2019 7:00 pm

Some universities offer Masters in Athletic Training for people who already have a related Bachelors such as in Kinesiology.
https://www.ttuhsc.edu/health-professio ... ssion.aspx

And apparently, there is an exam to become Board Certified at least in Texas.

Did anybody use an Athletic Trainer who was NOT Board Certified?

Or maybe I need to find out what the differences might be between an Athletic Trainer and a Personal Trainer.
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Re: Advisability of Using a Personal Trainer at the Gym

Post by anil686 » Sun Feb 17, 2019 7:08 pm

To echo others responses - I found it useful. They helped me with accountability and helped teach me new exercises that I was not doing which helped muscle groups I was ignoring. It was not cheap, but I found the service useful for six months and then incorporated that into my current workout. No regrets, but I agree finding the right trainer is probably the key - it took me awhile...

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Re: Advisability of Using a Personal Trainer at the Gym

Post by LadyGeek » Sun Feb 17, 2019 7:09 pm

This thread is now in the Personal Consumer Issues forum (gym).
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Re: Advisability of Using a Personal Trainer at the Gym

Post by Mr.BB » Sun Feb 17, 2019 7:12 pm

People that I know that use trainers really like the ones that will first do an analysis on you. After all, how can someone tailor a program to you if they first don't know your physical strengths/ weaknesses or medical conditions.
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Re: Advisability of Using a Personal Trainer at the Gym

Post by Dottie57 » Sun Feb 17, 2019 7:18 pm

prudent wrote:
Sun Feb 17, 2019 4:50 pm
My experience was not good. On my profile I listed surgeries I had and the need to avoid overstressing one particular fragile area, per my doctor's instructions. I had quizzed the trainer about experience, training and qualifications and he was loaded on all counts. On the third session he had me doing some exercise that I feared was too stressful on that one area, we stopped to talk about it, and he explained just working on an area does not mean we're overdoing it and he was certain I was well within safe parameters. A month later, I needed another surgery in that spot.

I suppose my point is that I felt the trainer would ensure I wasn't doing anything harmful knowing my background, but it didn't turn out that way. Some years later I knew a girl who graduated with a degree in whatever field prepares one for doing personal training, and she told me picking a trainer is simply a crapshoot. She had classmates who all graduated and then earned some key certification but their skills ranged from exceptionally good to terrible even though they were all well-qualified on paper.

Now I limit my involvement with trainers at the gym to asking them to explain how to use a piece of equipment, and I take it from there. I'll never reach my maximum potential this way but I'm OK with it as I'm more concerned about avoiding new problems.
Have you thoughtof a physical therapist? They might help you strengthen areas you want work on.

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Re: Advisability of Using a Personal Trainer at the Gym

Post by 123 » Sun Feb 17, 2019 7:19 pm

Input from a professional should be an advantage. If you don't have personal recommendations for trainer from other people you know perhaps a couple of sessions each with 2 or 3 trainers might give you are better feel. You might identify some common themes/recommendations from multiple trainers and you might come to the conclusion that one is a better "fit" for you then the others. Or maybe the input from 2 or 3 trainers will give you enough perspective to continue on your own.
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Re: Advisability of Using a Personal Trainer at the Gym

Post by UpperNwGuy » Sun Feb 17, 2019 7:29 pm

The machines are pretty safe to use without a trainer, but free weights really need a trainer.

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Re: Advisability of Using a Personal Trainer at the Gym

Post by randomguy » Sun Feb 17, 2019 7:52 pm

UpperNwGuy wrote:
Sun Feb 17, 2019 7:29 pm
The machines are pretty safe to use without a trainer, but free weights really need a trainer.
Stand by a lat pull down machine at the gym and count how many people have decent form and how many are doing all sorts of crazy spine flexion:) It is really hard to check your own form. It is nice to have to someone who can say you were getting a little sloppy at the bottom or your knees weren't tracking right.

A good personal trainer is worth every penny. They add value. But finding a good personal trainer is very hard and I am not convinced many of the credentials mean much. You do want to make sure the guy has some experience in what you are want(i.e. 70 year olds tend to have different needs/goals from 16 year old football players) and then you need to figure out how good they are.

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Re: Advisability of Using a Personal Trainer at the Gym

Post by stoptothink » Sun Feb 17, 2019 7:59 pm

livesoft wrote:
Sun Feb 17, 2019 7:00 pm
Some universities offer Masters in Athletic Training for people who already have a related Bachelors such as in Kinesiology.
https://www.ttuhsc.edu/health-professio ... ssion.aspx

And apparently, there is an exam to become Board Certified at least in Texas.

Did anybody use an Athletic Trainer who was NOT Board Certified?

Or maybe I need to find out what the differences might be between an Athletic Trainer and a Personal Trainer.
Yes, athletic trainer and personal trainer are very different things. Fwiw, I am an actual professional in this area, with a PhD; at the very least make sure the trainer has the basic professional certs such as nasm-cpt, pes, ces and possibly cscs...the majority of "personal trainers" in commercial gyms have no relevant education whatsoever.

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Re: Advisability of Using a Personal Trainer at the Gym

Post by abuss368 » Sun Feb 17, 2019 8:01 pm

I trained and competed for over 25 years mostly with an extensive home gym. I learned a long time ago that the key to success is finding your inner motivation. No one can rely on another. Stay hungry!
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Re: Advisability of Using a Personal Trainer at the Gym

Post by Maven » Sun Feb 17, 2019 8:20 pm

Hi Strider - I have been a personal trainer for nearly 20 years. I have a bachelors degree in Exercise Science and several accredited certifications. I started off working in a "high end" gym, switched to small fitness studios and now see clients in their homes. I believe I can offer a different perspective on your post as there are many benefits to personal training that most people don't realize.

First of all, I would of course highly recommend working with a personal trainer. Some folks work with trainers 1 - 3 times a week for years and years while others see a trainer for a few sessions to gather some new information, help with form, help with program development, etc. Many people hire a trainer for accountability and motivation, but it sounds as though that is not your issue.

Your form may be great, but you may be doing very dated exercises you learned years ago. I see this often. Isolating one muscle at a time is okay, but doing a functional strength training program involving multi-planar movements, multiple muscle groups at a time and balance can greatly improve your strength, fitness, core strength, balance (lessening the chance of a fall or injury) and uncovering weaknesses you may be masking quite well with a more standard program. It's worth every cent for injury prevention alone and this is a common thing for age 60+ population. On another note, because you enjoy exercising, you will likely really enjoy learning some new exercises or exercise modalities.

What to look for in a personal trainer: Another poster was absolutely correct in the advice to scope out the trainers from afar if possible. Many a client has come to me saying "I've watched you work for months now... do you have time for me?" You want someone who is completely engaged with their client, awake, organized and seems to be making full use of the session time. Asking the manager for their recommendations for the best trainer for someone of your age and with your goals will be helpful. Unfortunately, at many gyms, some of the best trainers will be booked with other clients. But if you are looking for a few sessions rather than a regular weekly session time, you can often get on the schedule of a booked trainer when another client is out of town. DO NOT judge a trainer based on how fit he/she looks. This proves absolutely nothing about their ability to effectively guide you. Some of the best trainers I've worked with have been slightly out of shape and a bit overweight. Why? Because they are busy working, raising families, getting older, etc just like anyone else. Unlike popular belief, we do not work out all day long. :)

A certification with ACSM, NSCA, or NASM will prove a good knowledge base. A few years experience is also good, but I do know a few excellent trainers who have only worked in the industry a year or two. As with any profession, there are excellent trainers and awful ones. A key piece of advice is never to do anything that doesn't feel right even if it's advised by the trainer. Sometimes a trainer may have simply forgotten about an injury or medical condition and can make the appropriate modification, but other times he/she may not be knowledgeable about the risks. After a session or two, you also want to walk away with the feeling of "Wow! This is really cool. If I did this a few times a week on my own I'd see amazing results!" If you walk away and it's "Ho hum", you haven't found the right trainer.

Best of luck to you!! - Maven

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Re: Advisability of Using a Personal Trainer at the Gym

Post by jwkde » Mon Feb 18, 2019 7:02 am

When I joined my current gym about 4 years ago, they offered a free session with one of their trainers. I thought what the heck I'll take it. The trainer spent about 20 minutes talking with me about any health and physical issues I might have and why I was at the gym. We went through the workout and I found it very helpful.

I signed up for once a week for a 9 month period and found that i really enjoyed the weekly sessions. I like the accountability and being pushed a bit to expand my limits. I can do things now that I never imagined i could do before.

Overall it has improved my weight, cholesterol, etc and most importanly my flexibility. Certainly could acheive the same results without a trainer but I think the trainer has definitely helped.

So i have continued once a week for 4 years. I still get to the gym at least 4 or 5 times more each week so that helps me.

Just my 2 cents. It might be considered a luxury expense but that's OK.

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Re: Advisability of Using a Personal Trainer at the Gym

Post by Strayshot » Mon Feb 18, 2019 8:48 am

I highly recommend personal trainers if you can afford it. I had a trainer for the first 2 years I was lifting weights, both to motivate me as well as get my movements and routines correct. It is nice when someone can mix it up for you. After that, I found a gym buddy and got muscle and fitness magazine to offer up suggestions on mixing up my workouts and have been chugging along ever since.

My spouse also has a trainer and is very compatible with their personality and training style. The cost is roughly a dollar a minute plus taxes. When you are paying that amount and sessions are 30 minutes, you have to make sure the trainer is timely and ready to go. If you start 5 minutes late because they were busy with another client and end 5 minutes early because you had to use the bathroom you just set a 10$ bill on fire.

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Re: Advisability of Using a Personal Trainer at the Gym

Post by Sandtrap » Mon Feb 18, 2019 8:55 am

prudent wrote:
Sun Feb 17, 2019 4:50 pm
My experience was not good. On my profile I listed surgeries I had and the need to avoid overstressing one particular fragile area, per my doctor's instructions. I had quizzed the trainer about experience, training and qualifications and he was loaded on all counts. On the third session he had me doing some exercise that I feared was too stressful on that one area, we stopped to talk about it, and he explained just working on an area does not mean we're overdoing it and he was certain I was well within safe parameters. A month later, I needed another surgery in that spot.

I suppose my point is that I felt the trainer would ensure I wasn't doing anything harmful knowing my background, but it didn't turn out that way. Some years later I knew a girl who graduated with a degree in whatever field prepares one for doing personal training, and she told me picking a trainer is simply a crapshoot. She had classmates who all graduated and then earned some key certification but their skills ranged from exceptionally good to terrible even though they were all well-qualified on paper.

Now I limit my involvement with trainers at the gym to asking them to explain how to use a piece of equipment, and I take it from there. I'll never reach my maximum potential this way but I'm OK with it as I'm more concerned about avoiding new problems.
Very true.
Including physical therapists, rehab, etc.
While very motivating to have the support of a "professional", there's a tendency to overdo, try to do one's best, and work at the edge or beyond what is healthy. Especially with an aging body where "no pain no gain" is often not true.

OP: highly suggest caution and to be one's own advocate. Only you know your body the best and how you feel and how you recover. Especially if the "professional" you are working with or consulting is not 70 years of age with your body.
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Re: Advisability of Using a Personal Trainer at the Gym

Post by NHRATA01 » Mon Feb 18, 2019 4:22 pm

If I can make a simple recommendation to start, as far as checking your form - bring your phone and either set it up or ask someone to record you for a set. Particularly if we are talking compound free weight lifts such as the squat or deadlift, or any of the olympic type lifts (which are very advanced movements so I'm thinking you're not quite up to that yet). You can even post the clip on a fitness forum or an appropriate section on Reddit and ask for a "form check", and people can offer helpful critique.

My take on trainers probably mirrors this board's take on Financial Advisers. There are a few decent ones, a few unscrupulous ones, and a lot who far overestimate their knowledge of the subject at hand because they passed a certification test and post on instagram. Seldom is their advice and counsel worth paying for over doing your own research and talking with others who share the same passion. You already sound like you are quite a few steps ahead in the game already. I would keep doing what you are doing. And don't be afraid to seek out advice from others in the gym. Often the largest/strongest are those most happy to talk at length. I have been lifting for almost 25 years now, and still very much will pick the brain of anyone with a passion for it. Happily advise those who ask. And I still continuously learn. :)

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Re: Advisability of Using a Personal Trainer at the Gym

Post by themesrob » Tue Feb 19, 2019 9:22 am

NHRATA01 wrote:
Mon Feb 18, 2019 4:22 pm

My take on trainers probably mirrors this board's take on Financial Advisers. There are a few decent ones, a few unscrupulous ones, and a lot who far overestimate their knowledge of the subject at hand because they passed a certification test and post on instagram. Seldom is their advice and counsel worth paying for over doing your own research and talking with others who share the same passion.
very well said.

OP, there are a lot of great programs available for free (or for a nominal fee) on the internet, including several designed for older lifters. A little bit of research to find one that suits you, plus recording yourself to check your form (and either submitting it for critique on an appropriate forum, or just self-analyzing) will serve you well, and for a lot less money.

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Re: Advisability of Using a Personal Trainer at the Gym

Post by quantAndHold » Tue Feb 19, 2019 11:51 am

With personal trainers, there is a wide range of abilities, from super helpful to dangerous. Unless you’re at a fairly high end gym, the trainer that works at the gym will probably be closer to the dangerous end of the range.

Wife got a free session at the 24 Hour Fitness. The trainers there are generally not dangerous, but wife didn’t get anything she didn’t already know, and the trainer spent a lot of time trying to sell more personal training sessions.

If you want a trainer, try to get references from people who started where you are, and have progressed to where you want to be. You’re probably looking for someone with a physical therapy background, who works primarily with older adults or people recovering from injuries. These people exist, but you have to seek them out. They don’t tend to need to advertise.

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Re: Advisability of Using a Personal Trainer at the Gym

Post by nick evets » Tue Feb 19, 2019 12:10 pm

quantAndHold wrote:
Tue Feb 19, 2019 11:51 am
With personal trainers, there is a wide range of abilities, from super helpful to dangerous. Unless you’re at a fairly high end gym, the trainer that works at the gym will probably be closer to the dangerous end of the range.

Wife got a free session at the 24 Hour Fitness. The trainers there are generally not dangerous, but wife didn’t get anything she didn’t already know, and the trainer spent a lot of time trying to sell more personal training sessions.

If you want a trainer, try to get references from people who started where you are, and have progressed to where you want to be. You’re probably looking for someone with a physical therapy background, who works primarily with older adults or people recovering from injuries. These people exist, but you have to seek them out. They don’t tend to need to advertise.
Yup. And another point to consider -- many gyms forbid customers from bringing in their own personal trainers, which is understandable, but may pose an issue.

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Re: Advisability of Using a Personal Trainer at the Gym

Post by Sage16 » Tue Feb 19, 2019 9:29 pm

We bought a block of 30 minute training sessions at a Black Friday sale at our gym over a year ago. The director for the trainers interviewed us, did a body composition makeup then selected a trainer for us. At first we had reservations with someone almost 40 years younger than us that may not appreciate someone our age's abilities and limits. We have been very pleased with him. We have been working with him for the past 14 months now. He is very focused on the proper form for the various exercises and he shakes up the routines each visit. My wife and I have separate 30 minute sessions with him twice a week and he assigns us homework for the days inbetween. The 30 minutes works out great, we get a solid workout without overdoing it and we then jump on the cardio machines for another half hour.
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Re: Advisability of Using a Personal Trainer at the Gym

Post by daheld » Wed Feb 20, 2019 8:16 am

prudent wrote:
Sun Feb 17, 2019 4:50 pm
My experience was not good. On my profile I listed surgeries I had and the need to avoid overstressing one particular fragile area, per my doctor's instructions. I had quizzed the trainer about experience, training and qualifications and he was loaded on all counts. On the third session he had me doing some exercise that I feared was too stressful on that one area, we stopped to talk about it, and he explained just working on an area does not mean we're overdoing it and he was certain I was well within safe parameters. A month later, I needed another surgery in that spot.

I suppose my point is that I felt the trainer would ensure I wasn't doing anything harmful knowing my background, but it didn't turn out that way. Some years later I knew a girl who graduated with a degree in whatever field prepares one for doing personal training, and she told me picking a trainer is simply a crapshoot. She had classmates who all graduated and then earned some key certification but their skills ranged from exceptionally good to terrible even though they were all well-qualified on paper.

Now I limit my involvement with trainers at the gym to asking them to explain how to use a piece of equipment, and I take it from there. I'll never reach my maximum potential this way but I'm OK with it as I'm more concerned about avoiding new problems.
This is because being a "personal trainer" requires no real training or expertise...in anything. Some personal trainers complete a self-study program online and get some letters behind their name. Many complete no training and just call themselves a personal trainer! It's even worse when they dispense diet advice.
Last edited by daheld on Wed Feb 20, 2019 8:18 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Advisability of Using a Personal Trainer at the Gym

Post by daheld » Wed Feb 20, 2019 8:17 am

stoptothink wrote:
Sun Feb 17, 2019 7:59 pm
livesoft wrote:
Sun Feb 17, 2019 7:00 pm
Some universities offer Masters in Athletic Training for people who already have a related Bachelors such as in Kinesiology.
https://www.ttuhsc.edu/health-professio ... ssion.aspx

And apparently, there is an exam to become Board Certified at least in Texas.

Did anybody use an Athletic Trainer who was NOT Board Certified?

Or maybe I need to find out what the differences might be between an Athletic Trainer and a Personal Trainer.
Yes, athletic trainer and personal trainer are very different things. Fwiw, I am an actual professional in this area, with a PhD; at the very least make sure the trainer has the basic professional certs such as nasm-cpt, pes, ces and possibly cscs...the majority of "personal trainers" in commercial gyms have no relevant education whatsoever.
^^^This is true. At times you're just paying some dude who works out a lot to give bad advice. I drive a car a lot; think I'm ready for NASCAR?

J295
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Re: Advisability of Using a Personal Trainer at the Gym

Post by J295 » Wed Feb 20, 2019 8:59 am

I'm 59, athletic and fit. Entire lifetime of sports and training.

I don't use a trainer but see high value in them for many people. I do have a golf coach.

I'd look for the same things in a trainer that I look for in a golf coach ..... experience, good communication skills, keep it simple, and enthusiasm for my success. I don't care for coaches who have dogmas that they apply to all students while ignoring each student's unique abilities, needs, and goals. If I wanted someone just to regurgitate golf or fitness "best practices" I'd use Google.

Sounds exciting for OP and I'd encourage at least trying a trainer. I'd also go in with the mindset that if there's a good fit I'd continue for an extended time (6-12 months) so I could have the trainer help create a solid foundation then build on it.

Love the insights from the trainer who chimed in earlier.

knightrider
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Re: Advisability of Using a Personal Trainer at the Gym

Post by knightrider » Wed Feb 20, 2019 9:28 am

daheld wrote:
Wed Feb 20, 2019 8:16 am
This is because being a "personal trainer" requires no real training or expertise...in anything. Some personal trainers complete a self-study program online and get some letters behind their name. Many complete no training and just call themselves a personal trainer! It's even worse when they dispense diet advice.
This is also my view of personal trainers. Most have their own "incorrect" ways of doing exercises and prattle all types of nonsense . Just read a few websites on weight training and you'll get the idea.. It's not rocket science..

Shallowpockets
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Re: Advisability of Using a Personal Trainer at the Gym

Post by Shallowpockets » Wed Feb 20, 2019 9:33 am

Sage16 wrote:
Tue Feb 19, 2019 9:29 pm
We bought a block of 30 minute training sessions at a Black Friday sale at our gym over a year ago. The director for the trainers interviewed us, did a body composition makeup then selected a trainer for us. At first we had reservations with someone almost 40 years younger than us that may not appreciate someone our age's abilities and limits. We have been very pleased with him. We have been working with him for the past 14 months now. He is very focused on the proper form for the various exercises and he shakes up the routines each visit. My wife and I have separate 30 minute sessions with him twice a week and he assigns us homework for the days inbetween. The 30 minutes works out great, we get a solid workout without overdoing it and we then jump on the cardio machines for another half hour.
Why would you still need a personal trainer? Once you know how to work out, as in principles and you know the proper form, why continue? Must be for motivation purposes. Now you have to look at it from a BH perpsective. This is extra money, maybe quite a lot. It is like havng an advisor for your investments when you could do it yourself now and save the money paid to them.
At the rates and frequency of this trainer, it is as if you had $288,000 with Edward Jones paying %1 a year fees.

keithintx
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Re: Advisability of Using a Personal Trainer at the Gym

Post by keithintx » Wed Feb 20, 2019 9:48 am

I suggest you look online into finding a Starting Strength coach. They work with many people and have lots and lots of older clients. The guys that run the network of coaches across the US also do the Barbell Logic podcast which is very good. They have many success stories from their work with clients in the 50-90 age range.

I don't use them specifically but do meet with one of their coaches about 2-3x per year to get in person reviews of me lifting for form checks. My coach offers advice and cues for me to think about as the weight gets heavier or when I am tired.

Look there are good trainers at gyms but alot of very bad ones that don't know how to perform the lifts and put together a program. The average trainer, even certified may not have many older clients. The good thing about the Starting Strength network of coaches is they are a true network for your coach to get advice if an issue comes up with you. They have coaches with medical backgrounds, physical therapy etc to draw on.

daheld
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Location: Midwest US

Re: Advisability of Using a Personal Trainer at the Gym

Post by daheld » Wed Feb 20, 2019 9:56 am

knightrider wrote:
Wed Feb 20, 2019 9:28 am
daheld wrote:
Wed Feb 20, 2019 8:16 am
This is because being a "personal trainer" requires no real training or expertise...in anything. Some personal trainers complete a self-study program online and get some letters behind their name. Many complete no training and just call themselves a personal trainer! It's even worse when they dispense diet advice.
This is also my view of personal trainers. Most have their own "incorrect" ways of doing exercises and prattle all types of nonsense . Just read a few websites on weight training and you'll get the idea.. It's not rocket science..
I want to clarify because another poster above has a Bachelors in Exercise Science and someone else was a PhD in a related field. There's a big difference in someone who has an education in kinesiology, athletic training, physical therapy or exercise science and who also happens to have a personal trainer certificate and some dude at the gym who has zero training or education but gets to wear a shirt with "Trainer" on the back. I meant no disrespect to the posters above who are experts in the field.

stoptothink
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Re: Advisability of Using a Personal Trainer at the Gym

Post by stoptothink » Wed Feb 20, 2019 10:06 am

daheld wrote:
Wed Feb 20, 2019 9:56 am
knightrider wrote:
Wed Feb 20, 2019 9:28 am
daheld wrote:
Wed Feb 20, 2019 8:16 am
This is because being a "personal trainer" requires no real training or expertise...in anything. Some personal trainers complete a self-study program online and get some letters behind their name. Many complete no training and just call themselves a personal trainer! It's even worse when they dispense diet advice.
This is also my view of personal trainers. Most have their own "incorrect" ways of doing exercises and prattle all types of nonsense . Just read a few websites on weight training and you'll get the idea.. It's not rocket science..
I want to clarify because another poster above has a Bachelors in Exercise Science and someone else was a PhD in a related field. There's a big difference in someone who has an education in kinesiology, athletic training, physical therapy or exercise science and who also happens to have a personal trainer certificate and some dude at the gym who has zero training or education but gets to wear a shirt with "Trainer" on the back. I meant no disrespect to the posters above who are experts in the field.
I'm not a "personal trainer" and I've never worked in a commercial gym, but I have worked in collegiate strength & conditioning and at probably the most well-known professional athletic training facility in the world (EXOS, where I trained guys for the NFL and NBA combines). I'm now the chief health and exercise scientist for a private health company. I actually know quite a few "personal trainers" who have legitimate credentials, and that I would trust, but they tend to not work in a commercial gym very long.

boomerbaby
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Re: Advisability of Using a Personal Trainer at the Gym

Post by boomerbaby » Wed Feb 20, 2019 10:10 am

True confession: I am in early 7'0's and fortunate to be healthy without "earning" my health. I can no longer test fate. My insurance (Aetna) recently added the Silver Sneakers program so I went to the Y this week to take advantage of this free-to-me program which includes the use of all Y facilities and classes.

I had an in depth interview (one hour) with a personal trainer whose job is to consider my health and goals and to introduce me to the machines in my next few visits. Knowing my proclivity to be easily sidetracked and uninspired about working out, I also decided to take the full plunge and also sign up for private physical training sessions, 6 sessions at a time, 2 days a week for 45 minutes.

I know this is expensive and I am frugal, yet I know I need external motivation until this becomes a habit. Health is wealth so I am taking the plunge.

If you are a "Silver Citizen" check if your insurance subsidizes Silver Sneakers. The program is affiliated with many local gyms, not just the Y.
Last edited by boomerbaby on Wed Feb 20, 2019 10:20 am, edited 1 time in total.
“Which way you ought to go depends on where you want to get to...” | ― Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland

Maven
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Re: Advisability of Using a Personal Trainer at the Gym

Post by Maven » Wed Feb 20, 2019 10:18 am

themesrob wrote:
Tue Feb 19, 2019 9:22 am
NHRATA01 wrote:
Mon Feb 18, 2019 4:22 pm

My take on trainers probably mirrors this board's take on Financial Advisers. There are a few decent ones, a few unscrupulous ones, and a lot who far overestimate their knowledge of the subject at hand because they passed a certification test and post on instagram. Seldom is their advice and counsel worth paying for over doing your own research and talking with others who share the same passion.
very well said.

OP, there are a lot of great programs available for free (or for a nominal fee) on the internet, including several designed for older lifters. A little bit of research to find one that suits you, plus recording yourself to check your form (and either submitting it for critique on an appropriate forum, or just self-analyzing) will serve you well, and for a lot less money.
I respectfully disagree. If someone has an interest in hiring a professional, has the money to do so and sees value in this arrangement, why post an opinion to do anything but try it out? Why post at all? Maybe hiring a trainer isn't for you but OP is interested. Yes, anyone can work out on their own. Anyone can research to no end proper exercises, form, etc. I could go on and on as to why checking your own form via recording yourself misses the point completely. Not everyone wants to do that. The same can be argued for hiring a financial planner, ski instructor, golf coach, accountant and many other professions. One of my clients is an excellent skiier but every year he travels to Europe and hires a ski guide. He can ski on his own but those few days with his guide are the most exciting days of his year. Sometimes it's just plain nice to take your hard-earned money and treat yourself to professional guidance. In addition, the relationship between a personal trainer and client can be amazing. It takes a workout to a new level for many people and they would tell you it's worth every penny. And what better way to spend money than on your health and fitness, especially at 70 years old? Cheers to the OP.

daheld
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Re: Advisability of Using a Personal Trainer at the Gym

Post by daheld » Wed Feb 20, 2019 10:25 am

stoptothink wrote:
Wed Feb 20, 2019 10:06 am
daheld wrote:
Wed Feb 20, 2019 9:56 am
knightrider wrote:
Wed Feb 20, 2019 9:28 am
daheld wrote:
Wed Feb 20, 2019 8:16 am
This is because being a "personal trainer" requires no real training or expertise...in anything. Some personal trainers complete a self-study program online and get some letters behind their name. Many complete no training and just call themselves a personal trainer! It's even worse when they dispense diet advice.
This is also my view of personal trainers. Most have their own "incorrect" ways of doing exercises and prattle all types of nonsense . Just read a few websites on weight training and you'll get the idea.. It's not rocket science..
I want to clarify because another poster above has a Bachelors in Exercise Science and someone else was a PhD in a related field. There's a big difference in someone who has an education in kinesiology, athletic training, physical therapy or exercise science and who also happens to have a personal trainer certificate and some dude at the gym who has zero training or education but gets to wear a shirt with "Trainer" on the back. I meant no disrespect to the posters above who are experts in the field.
I'm not a "personal trainer" and I've never worked in a commercial gym, but I have worked in collegiate strength & conditioning and at probably the most well-known professional athletic training facility in the world (EXOS, where I trained guys for the NFL and NBA combines). I'm now the chief health and exercise scientist for a private health company. I actually know quite a few "personal trainers" who have legitimate credentials, and that I would trust, but they tend to not work in a commercial gym very long.
I absolutely agree there are some personal trainers who are valuable experts. It's almost impossible to find them in a commercial gym, though. I'm a Registered Dietitian and folks disseminating false, pseudoscientific, garbage health and wellness advice is so prevalent.

Coltrane75
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Re: Advisability of Using a Personal Trainer at the Gym

Post by Coltrane75 » Wed Feb 20, 2019 10:38 am

If personal trainers in commercial gyms are in general not very good, are there other venues one could look to find a good quality personal trainer?

DemySD
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Re: Advisability of Using a Personal Trainer at the Gym

Post by DemySD » Wed Feb 20, 2019 10:49 am

Personal trainers are like financial advisors.

Take that for what it's worth.

themesrob
Posts: 257
Joined: Fri Jul 15, 2016 1:58 pm

Re: Advisability of Using a Personal Trainer at the Gym

Post by themesrob » Wed Feb 20, 2019 11:57 am

Maven wrote:
Wed Feb 20, 2019 10:18 am
themesrob wrote:
Tue Feb 19, 2019 9:22 am
NHRATA01 wrote:
Mon Feb 18, 2019 4:22 pm

My take on trainers probably mirrors this board's take on Financial Advisers. There are a few decent ones, a few unscrupulous ones, and a lot who far overestimate their knowledge of the subject at hand because they passed a certification test and post on instagram. Seldom is their advice and counsel worth paying for over doing your own research and talking with others who share the same passion.
very well said.

OP, there are a lot of great programs available for free (or for a nominal fee) on the internet, including several designed for older lifters. A little bit of research to find one that suits you, plus recording yourself to check your form (and either submitting it for critique on an appropriate forum, or just self-analyzing) will serve you well, and for a lot less money.
I respectfully disagree. If someone has an interest in hiring a professional, has the money to do so and sees value in this arrangement, why post an opinion to do anything but try it out? Why post at all? Maybe hiring a trainer isn't for you but OP is interested. Yes, anyone can work out on their own. Anyone can research to no end proper exercises, form, etc. I could go on and on as to why checking your own form via recording yourself misses the point completely. Not everyone wants to do that. The same can be argued for hiring a financial planner, ski instructor, golf coach, accountant and many other professions. One of my clients is an excellent skiier but every year he travels to Europe and hires a ski guide. He can ski on his own but those few days with his guide are the most exciting days of his year. Sometimes it's just plain nice to take your hard-earned money and treat yourself to professional guidance. In addition, the relationship between a personal trainer and client can be amazing. It takes a workout to a new level for many people and they would tell you it's worth every penny. And what better way to spend money than on your health and fitness, especially at 70 years old? Cheers to the OP.
Respectfully, the OP asked "For those in my situation (improving fitness, preventing age-related loss of muscle mass), how advisable is this? What are the advantages and disadvantages of using a trainer?" Several people offered their opinion that using a trainer isn't necessarily advisable, as the advantages are minimal, and the disadvantages (the cost, the likelihood that you are paying for someone with very little substantive knowledge despite supposed credentials, for example) are significant, and then offered alternatives. The OP can take that for what it's worth. I think blindly offering the advice to "try it out" because the OP may have available funds is not particularly helpful. As you are a trainer, I understand YMMV.

randomguy
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Re: Advisability of Using a Personal Trainer at the Gym

Post by randomguy » Wed Feb 20, 2019 12:22 pm

Shallowpockets wrote:
Wed Feb 20, 2019 9:33 am

Why would you still need a personal trainer? Once you know how to work out, as in principles and you know the proper form, why continue? Must be for motivation purposes. Now you have to look at it from a BH perpsective. This is extra money, maybe quite a lot. It is like havng an advisor for your investments when you could do it yourself now and save the money paid to them.
At the rates and frequency of this trainer, it is as if you had $288,000 with Edward Jones paying %1 a year fees.
It all depends on value add.If you think your PT is only giving you motivation, then yeah they aren't worth the money. If they are only giving you a program like you can find on the net, they aren't worth much. You pay the guy to look at you and say you have some shoulder mobility issues so that in addition to our core exercises we are going to do x to correct that. And then we are going to work on your hips. Look at the poor posture of most people over 50. That isn't aging. That is poor lifestyle. You pay the guy so that when you are lifting he can say after 2 reps, you are looking sloppy today lets cut the weight down or do a different exercise. Wait until you post a video and you end up with a back injury. With exercise, you don't need motivation to workout. You need help not to push yourself when you shouldn't.

How valuable is any of this? It is the last 20%. The first 80% is showing up at the gym(or whatever type of exercise you want to do) and doing just about anything. In the end it is all about what else you would do with that money and if it would provide you more or less happiness in life.

BruDude
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Re: Advisability of Using a Personal Trainer at the Gym

Post by BruDude » Wed Feb 20, 2019 3:57 pm

I use a personal trainer that I found on yelp with all 5 star reviews. It's not cheap doing it 3 times a week. It's also one of the best decisions I've ever made. Have lost 35 pounds and 17% body fat since I started with him, greatly improved my overall strength, balance, and conditioning, and am in the best shape of my life. You can't put a price on your health.

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Sage16
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Re: Advisability of Using a Personal Trainer at the Gym

Post by Sage16 » Wed Feb 20, 2019 5:58 pm

randomguy wrote:
Wed Feb 20, 2019 12:22 pm
Shallowpockets wrote:
Wed Feb 20, 2019 9:33 am

Why would you still need a personal trainer? Once you know how to work out, as in principles and you know the proper form, why continue? Must be for motivation purposes. Now you have to look at it from a BH perpsective. This is extra money, maybe quite a lot. It is like havng an advisor for your investments when you could do it yourself now and save the money paid to them.
At the rates and frequency of this trainer, it is as if you had $288,000 with Edward Jones paying %1 a year fees.
It all depends on value add.If you think your PT is only giving you motivation, then yeah they aren't worth the money. If they are only giving you a program like you can find on the net, they aren't worth much. You pay the guy to look at you and say you have some shoulder mobility issues so that in addition to our core exercises we are going to do x to correct that. And then we are going to work on your hips. Look at the poor posture of most people over 50. That isn't aging. That is poor lifestyle. You pay the guy so that when you are lifting he can say after 2 reps, you are looking sloppy today lets cut the weight down or do a different exercise. Wait until you post a video and you end up with a back injury. With exercise, you don't need motivation to workout. You need help not to push yourself when you shouldn't.

How valuable is any of this? It is the last 20%. The first 80% is showing up at the gym(or whatever type of exercise you want to do) and doing just about anything. In the end it is all about what else you would do with that money and if it would provide you more or less happiness in life.
Randomguy, thanks for jumping in. Your comments are spot on. I value the service I get for the money and it's part of my retirement plan to stay as healthy and active as I can for as long as I can. We both found his ongoing coaching is extremely helpful on a number of health and fitness areas. Because I have been a Boglehead for many years, my PT costs are chump change now in retirement.
Bogle on investing: Diversify, focus on low costs, invest for the long term. Don't speculate and don't be distracted by volatility.

TallBoy29er
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Re: Advisability of Using a Personal Trainer at the Gym

Post by TallBoy29er » Wed Feb 20, 2019 7:04 pm

Mr.BB wrote:
Sun Feb 17, 2019 4:29 pm
I would tell you if you're at the gym watch some of them. Do they pay attention to their client while they are exercising or are they easily and consistently distracted?
I always watch trainers where I work out. Some of them are really good, some of them I wouldn't let near a corpse.
Great point. I see trainers that look zoned out as their clients are doing their reps. I also see others who are totally engaged. You don't need to be getting talked to all the time, but you should feel as though you are getting feedback on form, based on how you feel, etc.

The cheap option: Many people at the gym I attend use youtube videos for workouts.

Why don't you observe trainers at your gym, and see if any interest you. This isn't marriage, you can even set it up as a "I plan on doing this for x months", to avoid some of the awkwardness if you see them at your gym after you terminate the relationship.

It sounds like you are seeing nice gains. That is awesome. If getting a good trainer keeps the momentum, by all means I encourage it. :D

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beyou
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Re: Advisability of Using a Personal Trainer at the Gym

Post by beyou » Wed Feb 20, 2019 11:06 pm

This is like using a financial advisor. Next thread, how do I leave my personal trainer ?

I do like the suggestion above, to let them inow it’s temporary upfront, but this has it’s drawbacks too. Tell anyone you do business with that you will only buy so much, you always get their best, right ?

Idid find it helpful for most of my family. We all developed good habits and all made it temporary.

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aspirit
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Re: Advisability of Using a Personal Trainer at the Gym

Post by aspirit » Fri Feb 22, 2019 7:20 pm

Demand current CSCS info OR your being hustled. 👀 jmho, I’ve been working out, or involved in its facilitation minus 2 yrs. since 1970. You can find numerous info on web sites that keep your money in your pocket. That’s my ignorant advice. JMHO- Best wishes.....

Do you remember jack? ...lalane....👌 iirc he made it w/calastenics and daily BW exercise.
I doubt there’s much better, although many w/over 100M buy whatever they want. Ice baths 2times a day, oils, etc. :happy
Time & tides wait for no one. A man has to know his limitations. | "Give me control of a nation's money and I care not who makes it's laws" | — Mayer Amschel Bauer Rothschild ~

hdcd
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Re: Advisability of Using a Personal Trainer at the Gym

Post by hdcd » Fri Feb 22, 2019 9:30 pm

keithintx wrote:
Wed Feb 20, 2019 9:48 am
I suggest you look online into finding a Starting Strength coach. They work with many people and have lots and lots of older clients. The guys that run the network of coaches across the US also do the Barbell Logic podcast which is very good. They have many success stories from their work with clients in the 50-90 age range.

I don't use them specifically but do meet with one of their coaches about 2-3x per year to get in person reviews of me lifting for form checks. My coach offers advice and cues for me to think about as the weight gets heavier or when I am tired.

Look there are good trainers at gyms but alot of very bad ones that don't know how to perform the lifts and put together a program. The average trainer, even certified may not have many older clients. The good thing about the Starting Strength network of coaches is they are a true network for your coach to get advice if an issue comes up with you. They have coaches with medical backgrounds, physical therapy etc to draw on.
This.. I (56m) go to a Starting Strength gym and recommend it highly. The book "Starting Strength" by Mark Rippetoe talks about the philosophy of the method and how to do the lifts. They also have SS online coaches. The gyms are expensive but you have your own rack (no sharing of equipment during your time at the gym) and a personal coach who will coach you during all the work sets. It's certainly not a "bro" gym where everyone is trying to get buff. It's about getting stronger on a gradual, calculated rate so you don't get injured or discouraged. All age ranges and all abilities. A lot of these gym have intro classes where you can see how the system works.

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