You have questions, we have answers. This month we spoke with Carey Schueler, the senior personal training director of sport specific and youth/teen training at Lakeshore Sport & Fitness in Chicago, on training a wide range of abilities.
As a senior personal trainer at Lakeshore, what do you see some of the trainers underneath you struggling with the most?
CS: Many trainers struggle with asking for the sale. Building a client base can be challenging for some.
How do you help them?
CS: I have them shadow sessions and teach them ways to reach people and show their abilities. For example, like offering complimentary sessions or assessments, or setting up an “ask the trainer day.”
Say a trainer wants to start training kids after only training adults. What tips can you give them to transition?
CS: First is to really understand what’s involved and ensure that they have the personality and passion for it. One of the biggest mistakes a trainer can make is treating a youth or teen like a mini adult. Behavioral, emotional and physiological differences must be considered. Activities must be fun. The trainer must be engaged, energized and patient.
Programs and exercises should be designed to empower the youth, interest them and in the end, make them self-motivated and self-sufficient. Trainers should have experience training children and have a good sense of humor. They should also include input from the child. What do they like and enjoy? What sports have they had success at? What games at school do they love? A youth certification is highly recommended.
What do you personally like most about working with kids?
CS: So many things. You can create habits and patterns instead of correcting or changing them. Not only can you change lives, you can earn a great living or substantially increase your income by working in youth and teen fitness. It’s an amazing opportunity to shape the way an adolescent looks at general health, fitness and exercise-related activities.
Why do you think personal training — for adults and kids — is important?
CS: To help change someone’s life is incredible. Whether it’s eliminating chronic pain or weight issues, making the high school team, or passing a P.E. class, both adults and kids can benefit from exercise.
Obesity has more than doubled in children and quadrupled in adolescents in the past 30 years. The percentage of children aged 6 to 11 years old in the U.S. who were obese increased from 7 percent in 1980 to nearly 18 percent in 2012. Similarly, the percentage of adolescents aged 12 to 19 years old who were obese increased from 5 percent to nearly 21 percent over the same period. It amazes me how many kids only have P.E. once a week. It is not as concerning for the kids that are athletes, but what about all the children who do not participate in athletics? Where are they getting their activity?