September is National Go4Life Month, a perfect time to get started on creating an exercise plan that works for you.

Workout to Go CoverMany want to start on the path to a healthier lifestyle, but when it comes to exercise, certain phrases come to mind. . . It is boring. It’s painful. I’m not athletic.
To overcome those negative thoughts, it might be time to talk to a personal trainer.

A personal trainer provides one-on-one coaching. It begins with a consultation that will help you identify obstacles and create goals. During the consultation it is important to let the trainer know of any health issues, injuries or physical limitations you have that could affect your exercise regimen. The trainer then prepares a personalized exercise plan.

A typical session with a personal trainer is one hour. In each session, the trainer will guide you through your workout. He or she will demonstrate the proper form for the exercises, keep track of the safe number of reps in each set and when to rest between sets. The trainer will make any adjustments needed to reduce or increase the pace depending on your progress.

A local gym or fitness center will have personal trainers that can help you get started on your exercise goals. If you have never been to a gym, the personal trainer can help you get comfortable in a new situation. They will show you around the gym and teach you how to use the equipment safely.

Choosing a personal trainer is an important decision. Below are questions to ask the trainer.

  • What type of certifications or training do they have? Are they CPR/AED qualified?
  • What are the rates and length of each session?
  • Do you have to pay if you miss a session?
  • Do they offer a free consultation? Is a fitness assessment included?
  • Do they have experience working with someone with my needs or health issues?
  • What type of clients do they work with and what results have they had?
  • Do they have liability insurance?

Ask your local gym about their promotions. Many offer a free 7-day pass or a free personal trainer consultation. Be sure to use those specials to check out the training facility. You need to feel comfortable at the gym and with your new trainer.

If you feel that hiring a personal trainer isn’t in your budget, there are many other helpful resources for getting the extra support you need:

  • Sign up for a Go4Life Virtual Coach! Through weekly or monthly emails, your coach will provide tips to help you set goals, get moving, and stick to your physical activity plan.
  • Check out the wealth of other free Go4Life resources, including tip sheets, exercise guides and DVDs, as well as motivating success stories.
  • Download a free OASIS Healthy Living Guide for practical tips to make healthier living easy to understand and do. All the information in the Guide is based on scientific research and proven best practices, including information from our unique intergenerational CATCH Healthy Habits program.
  • Sign up for an OASIS Healthy Habits for Adults class near you.

Go4Life is a program of the National Institute on Aging at NIH, offered in collaboration with the 2015 White House Conference on Aging.
For more information visit Go4Life at