Original challenge and question list: www.sparkpeople.com/mypa
8. Have you ever worked with a physical trainer? One on one? Small group? What skills or talents did the trainer have that helped you? What didn't help?
According the the SparkPeople quiz on fitness lingo, "PT" can refer to Personal Trainer or Physical Therapy. I don't usually see the term "physical trainer," but I assume that today's question intends that term to be the same thing that I understand to be a personal trainer. I've never worked with a personal trainer for any extended period of time. I was part of a group introduced to circuit training for one session, once, in a sales pitch for PT services from my gym. I learned how to use one piece of equipment that I hadn't used before, and I learned a little of the theory of circuit training.
I did join a new gym in July. They offer one free session with a personal trainer for fitness assessment, pretty obviously an attempt to sell more sessions with the trainer. I never used that session, because I was in physical therapy at the time and I didn't want to be pushed beyond what the physical therapist wanted me to be doing.
I learned quite a bit while in physical therapy, some of it stuff that you might associate with personal training. I learned that I had to pay attention to my hip abductors and hip adductors, a couple of muscles that I couldn't name and identify before PT. I learned that there are good uses for the BOSU ball that weight lifters sneer at, and one of those uses would help me avoid running injuries. I learned that the "minor" exercises for balance, hip abductors, hip adductors, and intrinsic foot muscles were more important for me than the vanity exercises like deadlifts, squats, and bench press. I learned that most of what I identified on my own was good stuff to work on, but I hadn't identified everything and I hadn't identified how to balance what I needed to work on.
The most important skill I learned in PT was how to manage a gradual increase in challenge. Mr. Testosterone always wants to ramp things up too fast. The hypochondriac in me wants to just rest when I'm injured. Neither approach is correct, and it's a tricky balance finding the correct level to do while recovering. But the skills I learned in PT for knowing when to push just a little bit harder and how to back off transferred well to running. I credit PT with my newfound ability to run at a sustained slow (for me) pace.
I also learned that physical therapy is very personalized. What I needed to work on to come back from the foot injury, and what I need to do on an ongoing basis to prevent future running injuries, is not necessarily what someone else needs to do. I could tell you what exercises the PT had me do, and how much they helped me; but if you're having problems, you might need different exercises than I need. And I can't tell you which ones you need.