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Is your trainer impactful?

Posted by Lara Salahi  June 12, 2013 07:26 AM

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Ryan Healy.jpgRyan Healy is a personal trainer for the Lynch/van Otterloo (LVO) YMCA in Marblehead. She is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist through the NSCA, and earned her BS in Exercise Sports Science from Elon University. Find more posts by her in conjunction with the LVO YMCA at She can be reached at

I was fortunate enough this past weekend to attend the Perform Better Functional Training Summit in Rhode Island. To say I was excited would be a vast understatement. It felt like Christmas morning to me as I waited in the registration line, about to start a profound and significant day. It’s one of the best fitness conferences to learn and grow from as a trainer, coach, physical therapist, or other health professional. I attended lectures by the renowned Mike Boyle, Alwyn Cosgrove, Charlie Weingroff, and Martin Rooney among many great others, and even got to hear Dick Vermeil give a remarkably inspirational speech.

One of the great concepts I believe in, and that was mentioned many times over the three days by several different presenters, is that a personal trainer or coach should be much more than someone who makes you sweat and barks orders at you.

Dick Vermeil said in his speech, “There is a big difference between making an impression on somebody, and making an impact on somebody.” Martin Rooney asked the question, “Anybody can make you tired, but can they make you better?” Do they make you leaner, stronger, powerful, faster, or more confident?

It’s easy to make someone exercise so hard that they throw up, until they drop from exhaustion, or so they can’t walk down stairs the next day. It doesn’t take talent or skill to do that, and isn’t exactly an admirable or intelligent training goal. However, what does require expertise is designing a progressive, safe, and effective exercise program, not just random workouts, that work towards your goals and leave you feeling good about yourself. Exercises should be selected based on YOUR skill level, and not just what‘s new or looks cool. Training sessions, although challenging, should feel empowering too instead of feeling like a torture session that leaves you incapacitated or injured.

A great trainer will see in you qualities and abilities you may not see in yourself, or don’t know how to bring out in yourself. They’ll help you build strength, resilience, courage, pride, confidence, and mental toughness. With enough time and dedication, you’ll be accomplishing things you never thought you could.

The next time you’re seeking to find a personal trainer, coach, or exercise program, do a little research and find out how they operate. Not only should you look at education and credentials, but also ask about their philosophies on training and fitness. What do their clients have to say about them? Can they get you results? Do they lead by example? Do you trust them? Are they encouraging? Ask these questions to find the right trainer. Once you do, you just might start believing in yourself in ways you never have before, and when you believe in yourself, it’s amazing what you can accomplish.

Staying fit is an important part of staying healthy. This blog will offer exercise tips from experts as well as share the personal journeys of Globe staff members committed to fitness. No matter your age or energy level, we invite you to join in and share your own story. How do you find time to work out? What are your daily challenges? Let us know and read along -- and together, we can all get moving.


Elizabeth Comeau is a social media marketing manager at She will be blogging about her personal fitness journey and using a device called a FitBit to track her weekly goals and progress (see below). Follow her journey and share your own. Read more about Elizabeth and this blog.

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