Does Your Child Need a Personal Trainer?

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Personal training isn't just for celebrities fact, it isn't just for adults anymore. More and more parents are hiring personal trainers to work with their kids to help them stave off a major problem we're seeing lately: childhood obesity.

Some statistics show that about 30 percent of children ages six to 11 are overweight while about 15 percent are obese. With PE classes on the decline, it's no surprise that many parents are turning to personal trainers for help. If you're looking for ways to get your kids more active, is personal training the answer?

Personal Training for Kids

One reason parents are turning to personal trainers is to help their kids excel at sports. Personal trainers with experience and education in youth sports can help kids with their speed, agility, balance, and performance while helping them avoid injuries.

Another major reason, of course, is help in managing weight problems. It's harder and harder for us to know how to lose weight as adults, which makes it even more challenging when it comes to helping our kids.

How much exercise do they need and, if they're not into physical activity, how can you encourage them without making it a demand?

First, the decision to hire a personal trainer should be up to both of you. One thing we do know is that getting kids and teens to exercise can be tough. Forcing your child into a type of activity or exercise he doesn't like can backfire and not every child will enjoy working with a personal trainer.

It's best to sit down and talk to him or her and see if there's any interest there. If there is, learning just what a good trainer can do for you and your child is your next step.

One of the major benefits of hiring a trainer is that he can help your child find activities she might enjoy. That's the real key to getting kids to exercise. If it feels like a chore, they're not going to do it.

A good trainer can teach your child the right way to exercise for his age and goals. A trainer can also teach your child how to lift weights, which has a number of benefits for kids and teens. You may think you have to be an adult to lift weights, but weight training can give your child:

  • More strength
  • Protection from injuries
  • Better health
  • Higher self-esteem and confidence

A trainer can help determine what your child is capable of and teach your child how to exercise safely, effectively, and most importantly, how to have some fun so these habits stick into adulthood.

Reasons for a Child to Work With a Trainer

  • Sports specific training. Athletes often need specialized training and kids who want to pursue sports may want or need help from a professional to strengthen their bodies, increase their power and endurance and protect them from injuries.
  • Guidance for exercise. You may feel at a loss if your child wants to exercise or lift weights and you're not sure you have the expertise to show them what to do. If that's the case, the right personal trainer can help you set up a good program that fits your child's age, goals, and fitness level.
  • Dislike of organized sports or group fitness. Some kids may not like typical PE or sports, but still want to get in shape. Working one-on-one with a trainer can be a safe environment for them to get fit and strong without feeling self-conscious.

Choosing a Personal Trainer

When choosing a personal trainer for your child, make sure that he or she has:

  1. A nationally recognized and accredited personal training certification and/or a degree in an exercise-related field.
  2. Experience and education working with kids and/or teens. There are specific certifications that focus on kids, such as the Youth Specialist Certification offered by ACE or the Youth Exercise Specialist Certification offered by NASM.
  3. A certification in CPR and First Aid.
  4. A plan to deal with any kind of emergencies or injuries. 
  5. Requirements for a health screening and, possibly, a doctor's release before beginning training. If your child is under 18, that trainer should have you sign a waiver that you understand the benefits and risks of exercise.
  6. A list of emergency information such as allergies, medications, and emergency contacts.
  7. Plans to track workouts and keep charts of progress.
  8. Liability insurance.
  9. A personality that works well with your child.

When it comes to taking care of your child's health, fitness and quality of life there are any number of things you can do to support them. Personal training is just one more option you have for managing weight problems and teaching your child how to live a healthy life. 

View Article Sources
  • Childhood Obesity Facts. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Published April 10, 2017.
  • Digate N. Training Kids & Adolescents. IDEA Fitness Journal. May 2006.