Friday, August 19, 2005

What's wrong with this picture?

I always thought the concept of a personal trainer was a bit too self indulgent except for possibly professional tennis players who generally are young enough to require the discipline. But this is too much:

Mr. Kupris, 23, is one of the most sought-after personal trainers in New York City. This may be in part because he is friendly and attentive, and in part because of his self-taught expertise in body toning. But what really distinguishes Mr. Kupris is his willingness to go beyond the trainer's traditional job description. He meets clients at home or wherever they want to work out. For $125 an hour he'll become more like a brother, helping them with many other aspects of their lives. Part chef, part activity director, part children's camp counselor, he represents a new approach to personal training: the ultimate full-service fitness consultant.

Personal trainers who meet their clients in a gym for a 45- to 60-minute workout have become relatively commonplace. Some 6.2 million Americans hired one in 2004, an increase of more than 2 million over five years, according to a survey conducted by the International Health, Racquet & Sportsclub Association.

Now some clients are looking for more than just workouts. They want someone who becomes part of their life: who motivates them to try new activities, coaches them about what to eat and provides any other hand holding they need to get strong and stay that way. Graham Melstrand, the director of educational services for the American Council on Exercise, said in an e-mail message that this new demand has created "an opportunity for the well-qualified fitness professional to move beyond the traditional boundaries of fitness programming in the health club setting."

Trying unfamiliar activities, many trainers say, is an important part of the new training strategy.

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