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Personal trainers give that extra push to get fit in new year
Trainer Jack Haire with CrossFit Northeast Georgia in Gainesville works with Tim Hutchins. Hiring a personal trainer like Haire is popular for those working to get in shape in the new year, but trainers should be chosen carefully.


Listen as trainer Greg Cochran of Gainesville talks about personal training, its popularity this time of year and selecting a qualified trainer.

New Year's Day has come and gone and so far, you're sticking to that resolution about eating better.

But maybe the extra pounds aren't shedding as quickly as you'd like.

The next step might be to hire a personal trainer — someone who can tailor a physical fitness plan to your needs based on a wide range of factors, including overall health, weight and age.

"A lot of people come in right after Christmas ... and they're going ahead and getting their memberships," said longtime trainer Greg Cochran of Gainesville. "And as soon as New Year's Day rolls around, they hit the gym wide open."

But those interested in toning up or getting "buff" might want to spend some time doing their homework first.

"It's really easy to get a weekend certification to be a personal trainer," said Cochran, who trains at Fitness Forum in Gainesville.

"Unfortunately, (the industry) is not regulated — as a lot of us feel it should be — by the state. You just need to research your trainer. Ask around. If they're a good trainer and they've been in the business a while, you'll hear about them."

The biggest thing in personal training is experience, said Cochran, who has trained full time or part time since 1987.

"Classroom education is great, but to be able to apply that takes hands-on experience," he said.

Some folks might be skipping an important step before selecting a trainer - checking with their doctor.

"Especially if they are new to fitness or haven't done anything in several years," Cochran said.

He recommended "a good physical by your doctor and advising him what your goals are and what you're wanting to do, and let (the doctor) advise you on that."

"A lot of people come in gung-ho and work themselves silly for two or three days where they can't move for a week," Cochran said. "And then they don't come back or they're really disappointed or discouraged.

"Some people come in a little bit too fast. They need to take a slower approach."

Jack Haire, who, along with partner Laura Head, run CrossFit Northeast Georgia in Gainesville, said they start clients with two to three personal training sessions.

"We want to make sure they can implement moves correctly and safely before we put them into a group class," he said.

The beauty of personal training is, as the name suggests, it involves an individual approach to get individual results.

Cochran said he trains people from 8 to 72 years old.

"Everybody is different. You can put five people in a room and ask them what their idea of fitness is and you'll get five different answers," Cochran said.

For some, it may be bench-pressing their body weight.

For others, it may be running 10 miles in a certain period of time.

"We can scale a workout to any age, any ability, either sex," Haire said. "What doesn't change at CrossFit is our movements, some of the basic things we do. What does change is the load, the weight, the (repetitions).

"Those who can't do pullups, for instance, can do an upright body row. Same thing with pushups. They can do pushups against a wall — anything can be scaled to a person's ability."

Personal training can mean visiting somebody's home, but "there's so much diversity here at the gym, so much more room, so much more equipment, and I think people feel more at ease here," Cochran said.

As far as costs, expect to pay around $30 per half-hour or $60 per hour. But then there's "partner training."

"I train two people at once and that cuts down on the individual costs a good bit," Cochran said. Plus, "I don't have anybody doing hourly sessions and I do about 50 sessions a week."

He trains people on average two to six sessions per week.

"For most people, in all honesty, two to three times a week is a good start," Cochran said. "You need that rest time. Rest is a little more important than activity if you're being trained the correct way."

For both Cochran and Haire, the concern isn't just about workouts. They also stress good nutrition.

"What people eat will certainly affect how they work out and their overall health," Haire said. "I encourage clients to shop around the perimeter of the grocery store."

Stay out of the aisles, where the processed foods are, he added.

Cochran agreed. "You need to eat food closest to its natural state - steamed, broiled, baked, things like that," he said.