The Future of Personal Training
The next generation is the future. So it’s no wonder so much time, energy and money is poured into the youth.
The same can be said for fitness: Healthy habits and an aptitude for physical activity started at a young age can lead to a health-focused next generation.
“Childhood obesity has more than doubled in children and quadrupled in adolescents in the past 30 years,” said Carey Schueler, a senior personal trainer and the director of sport specific and youth/teen training at Lakeshore Sport and Fitness in Chicago. “It amazes me how many kids I work with that have [physical education only] once a week.”
So when it comes to personal training and youth, young clients need to be treated correctly in order for the experience to be truly impactful. “One of the biggest mistakes a trainer can make is treating a youth or teen like a mini adult,” said Schueler. “Behavioral, emotional and physiological differences must be considered.”
Fun activities are the key, said Schueler. However, the program type can vary, ranging from boot camps, sport specific training to small group training. By getting input from the youth client and finding out what exercises or activities he or she succeeds in can make the training even more enjoyable. “Programs and exercises should be designed to empower the youth, interest them, and in the end, make them self-motivated and self-sufficient individuals,” said Schueler.
Building relationships with parents is another essential part of training youth clientele. Plus, referrals and a background in fitness and athletics can be beneficial. Schueler said reaching out to local schools or youth programs is a good way to build one’s youth client base.
Experience with training children is a must, said Schueler. She was honest when she said not all personal trainers are up to the challenge of teaching young individuals. “It is not for everyone,” she said. “I believe it takes a great passion for youth and teens, a desire to train differently, to make a difference in a different way than adult training, and again a lot of patience and energy.”
Why is it key to not just train youth, but to do so effectively? Schueler said that too often, poor coaching, teaching and interactions turn the young away from not only sports, but even general fitness routines.
As the youth are the next generation, they will help shape habits and ways of life for years to come. “Youth and teen training [is] also an amazing opportunity to shape the way an adolescent looks at general health, fitness and exercise-related activities,” said Schueler.