Personal Trainers for Kids

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With childhood obesity rates increasing and physical fitness classes decreasing, many concerned parents are turning to personal trainers not only for themselves but also for their kids. As of 2019, statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show that 18.5% of children ages 2-19 have obesity. It's not surprising that parents are seeking new ways to combat the growing trend.

Are Personal Trainers for Kids the Solution?

It may not be the solution for every child, but for some kids, a personal trainer can be a great way to learn healthy behaviors that will last a lifetime. It's also a great way for an overweight child to get some relatively quick results and reinforce the benefits of fitness. Given that childhood obesity predicts adult obesity with amazing accuracy, a concerned parent would be wise to encourage healthy habits early.

A personal trainer can be another way to provide direction, structure, and strategies that help create a habit of healthy living that can have a tremendous impact on a child's life.

Another reason some parents hire personal trainers for their kids is to improve sports performance and sports skill training. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, school-age children can benefit from low-resistance exercise with small weights and actually grow stronger with little risk of injury.

Is a Personal Trainer Right for Your Child?

A trainer can be helpful in the following scenarios:

  • Your child doesn't like organized sports
  • Your child is self-conscious playing sports or trying new activities
  • Your child has some health issues and you prefer supervised exercise sessions
  • Your child expresses interest in personal training

What Kind of Personal Trainer Is Best for Children?

A personal trainer who works with adults isn't always the best option for a child. Here are some recommendations for finding the best trainer for your child:

  • Look for these signs of a great personal trainer.
  • The trainer should have a degree and/or nationally recognized certification (NSCA, ACSM, etc.).
  • The trainer should have experience training children, including a sense of humor and patience.
  • The trainer should create training sessions around fun activities that aren't typical gym routines and include input from the child.
  • The trainer should offer a balanced routine of strength, cardio, and core exercise.
  • The trainer should help the child find activities they enjoy and will do on their own.
  • The trainer should have references from parents of other kid clients.
  • Ask questions about the trainer's philosophy about working with kids and setting goals and make sure you agree with the approach.
  • Attend the first one or two sessions with your child and see if it meets your needs.

As a parent, you need to be patient and encouraging for your child to get the most out of the sessions. To improve motor skills, strength, and speed, children need to work with a trainer two to three times a week for at least eight weeks.

For kids to develop a new lifestyle takes time, and the goals of you, your child, and the personal trainer need to be realistic and modest.

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Article Sources
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  1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Childhood Obesity Facts. Updated June 24, 2019.

  2. Simmonds M, Llewellyn A, Owen CG, Woolacott N. Predicting adult obesity from childhood obesity: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Obesity Reviews. 2016;17(2):95-107. doi:10.1111/obr.12334

  3. Stricker PR, Faigenbaum AD, McCambridge TM, Council on Sports Medicine and Fitness. Resistance Training for Children and Adolescents. Pediatrics. 2020;145(6):3202021011. doi:10.1542/peds.2020-1011