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Train Well, Fuel Well (Part Two)

Posted 1/15/2015 by Kelli Santiago

Ask the Dietitian/Personal Trainer

Train Well, Fuel Well (Part Two)

Q: How can I get a good workout without a personal trainer?

A:Working with a trainer has its benefits – they’re motivating, resourceful and can help you reach your goals. But working with a trainer can also be expensive and they aren’t necessarily the most important part of a workout.

Instead, here are some tips to help you become your own personal trainer- at a fraction of the price.

Put Pen to Paper

There are three basic (but important) tools every trainer needs to do their job: 1) a clipboard, 2) a pen, and 3) paper. The pen and paper are used for writing down workouts, while the clipboard is used for looking official and super cool.

Do the same and have your plan in place before you work out, or write it down as you go; either way works.

Get a Stop Watch

Not all exercises are measured in reps, some are measure in time (for example, holding a plank for 30 seconds). Timed exercises are great at building endurance and even better at breaking up the monotony of counting reps all day long.

So if you’re planning on doing timed exercises, a stopwatch or nearby clock with second hand will certainly come in handy.

Find What Motivates You

We all need a little motivation from time to time, which is where a personal trainer can help, or else can just yell at you until you get it done. But if a personal trainer isn’t exactly your motivational cup of tea, there are plenty of other ways to find it:

Get a workout buddy. A friend not only to exercise with, but who keeps you motivated and holds you accountable. Not only that, but you’ll end up offering the same benefit for them – talk about team work.

Find someone who inspires you. This can be a friend, co-worker, relative, or complete stranger. Perhaps you have a cousin who couldn’t run 10 feet last year, but after months of training just ran her first 5k. Or maybe you’ve noticed how much the guy in your spinning class has improved from when he first started.

Your inspiration can be anyone, as long as they offer a positive source of motivation.

Get Confident

Confidence often comes with knowledge. If you’re a newbie with a limited exercise repertoire, start by looking in magazines or online for specific exercises you can do. Start with basic movements that have easy to follow instructions, then bring them with you to your workout.

No one walks into a gym or works out for the first time knowing everything. And if the gym isn’t really your scene, workout at home. There are plenty of resources for exercises to do at home that don’t require equipment.

Read Part One of the Train Well, Fuel Well Q & A series.

About the Author

Kelli Santiago is a registered, licensed dietitian at University Hospitals and certified Personal Trainer though the National Council on Strength and Fitness. After personal training at a popular Northeast Ohio fitness club for over three years, Kelli chose to follow her career path and became a full-time dietitian in 2011. Although she no longer trains, Kelli maintains her NCSF-CPT credentials and enjoys sharing her knowledge on all things fitness and exercise through her “Train Well, Fuel Well” blog. If you have a question for Kelli, you can email her at, or tweet her at @ksantiagoRD

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