Are you ready to head back to the gym? After two years of pandemic restrictions, both exercise novices and fitness enthusiasts alike are eager to start or return to a gym routine. To get members like you interested, many gyms now provide a free personal training session as part of the initial membership deal. This gives you a chance to re-acclimate to a routine and ask questions about how to optimize your fitness results.
At an average cost of $40 to $70 per hour for personal training, however, you want to make the most of this opportunity to access this service for free. Use these questions to tap into that wealth of insight and expertise of your trainer.
Fitness Training: Best Questions to Ask
How should I combine cardio and resistance training?
In order to maximize the health benefits of working out, the PLOS One Journal explains that you need a comprehensive fitness plan that boosts cardiorespiratory strength, improves metabolic function, builds lean muscle mass, and increases bone density. You will achieve these results ultimately through a combination of aerobic and resistance training—but how do you combine these most effectively?
Use your free training session to ask the personal trainer for guidance on creating a program that will seamlessly incorporate both these forms of exercise. You can even ask about how to sync cardio and strength-based training with your monthly cycle, which can help you optimize your workouts and results.
What nutrients should I eat before and after a workout?
The human body requires fuel to sustain the endurance and intensity levels of exercise. The right food can also stimulate recovery after a workout. You may know to focus on complex carbohydrates before exercise—to fuel you—and proteins post-exercise—to strengthen and repair muscle fibers—there’s still so much to know so you can dial in your efforts.
Your personal trainer may be able to expand on the best foods to choose, the timing that can maximize results, and how to work around allergies that might reduce your protein or carb options. It’s important to know, however, that your personal trainer is not a nutritionist. Depending on their certification, they may only be able to provide basic information around this question.
A dietician or nutritionist can write you a specific plan based on your body’s needs. Consider this option if you’re looking for a more in-depth food plan.
How frequently should I exercise per week, on average?
The World Health Organization recommends that a healthy adult perform 150 to 300 minutes of moderate exercise or 75 to 150 of vigorous exercise per week. This is just a basic structure to follow, but is it perfect for you and your goals?
Use your free training session to figure out how often you need to exercise based on your specific desires. You can also use this time to figure out how to use that time most effectively.
For example, when should you focus on cardio and for how long? When should you focus on conditioning or push yourself for an intense workout? What is an appropriate and effective amount of rest? Use this to build a better workout plan.
When should I expect to notice results from exercising?
You’ll often feel the physical changes from exercise before seeing them visually. Sustainable progress is incremental, so forcing results too quickly can be counterproductive, says certified conditioning specialist Grant Weeditz. It takes time for the muscles, hormones, and metabolism to adapt and transform into the gains you want to see.
Get a sense of how long you can expect to work out before seeing results. You can also use this time with the trainer to set realistic goals and create a tracking system so you can see the progress before it’s visible.
How should I switch up my workouts to avoid repetition?
If your fitness program is repetitive, boredom will set in and your results will stagnate. Once a movement becomes too familiar, the muscles no longer respond to its benefits, explains Brian Magat, a physical therapist at UH Parma Medical Center. This is called adaptive resistance, and it can increase the risk of injury from muscle wear and tear.
To avoid that outcome, ask the personal trainer for tips to challenge yourself with different exercise variations. Use this free session to better understand the exercises you already love and learn new ones that you’ve never done before.
What steps should I take for healthy weight management?
There are no one-size-fits-all solutions to weight loss or management. Several factors play a role in how effective your results will be long-term. The quality and amount of food you eat, the timing of your meals, and the calories you burn through exercise influence the ability to maintain a healthy weight.
Speak with your personal trainer about how to adjust those factors to reach your weight goals. Again, remember that they may only be able to share basic information on this topic. It may be wise to then take this question to a nutrition or diet expert who can provide more details and help you create a plan.
How should my form look or how do I use the equipment?
Don’t leave this session without figuring out how to use all the equipment and learning how to perform exercises with optimal form. Your personal trainer is there to provide you with actionable tools to succeed in the gym, so if you’re not sure how to operate a certain machine or execute a particular move, ask for a tutorial. The best way to learn—and avoid injury—is through hands-on instruction.
Make the Most of Your Free Fitness Training Session
If a gym membership comes with a free training session, this is the perfect time to absorb as much professional expertise as you can. Use that time to ask all your questions, gain hands-on experience and start building an exercise plan that’s tailored to your health needs, fitness level, and personal goals. When you ask the right questions, you can be sure to get the most out of this valuable opportunity.