Personal Trainers create training plans that are personalized to your needs and allow you to reach your goals without pushing yourself so far that you are prone to injuries. Most Personal Trainers have areas they specialize in…finding the right fit will help you succeed in reaching your goals!
Over the next couple of months, we are going to be sharing a Meet the Personal Trainer series, and doing some interviews, so you can get to know our Personal Trainers and better understand how they can help you in your current situation.
Lynn Priest has 20 years of experience working in boutique, commercial, corporate and medical fitness centers, including the Equinox in Darien and the Stamford Hospital and Bennett Cancer medical fitness center. She has certifications in a variety of areas: Yoga, Pilates (mat and equipment), AFAA group exercise, ACSM personal training, CES (cancer exercise specialist), ACE Health Coach, Spin, Barre, Aqua Fitness and Ai-chi, LesMills/Mossa, Reiki, Reflexology, as well as having a 3rd degree black belt in Tae-Kwon-Do. Further specialties include working with special populations such as those suffering from Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s Disease, and rehabilitation from, for example, hip or knee replacement.
With a vast array of experience, she is able to pull from each of these to help her clients achieve their goals. Often times, she works with a client’s doctor or physical therapist to incorporate their workout with her workout so the transition is easier.
QUESTION: There is research showing a relationship between exercise and brain health. Exercise may postpone a decline in cognitive function for those who are at risk or have Alzheimer’s disease. What do you take into account when working with these clients?
When I create a program for these types of clients, I take into consideration that they have a difficult time retaining memory and lose the ability to carry out everyday tasks.
Exercise helps them to keep thinking, helps reasoning and learning skills, and improves memory and judgment. Exercise also gives them a feeling of well-being and keeps their muscles, joints, and heart in good shape.
They should include cardiovascular training such as walking, aqua fitness, and dancing; strength training such as resistance bands, hand weights or body weights; and balance and flexibility training such as Tai-Chi and Yoga.
I also have experience training clients with Parkinson’s disease. Parkinson’s is brain disorder, which leads to movement issues such as shaking, stiffness and difficulty with walking, balance and coordination. I create a program with flexibility, coordination and balance drills. I use the strength machines to get them used to form and technique. This is close to my heart as my mother passed away from this disease.
QUESTION: You’ve also worked with cancer patients and survivors. What do you need to consider when working with clients with a cancer diagnosis?
When a client is receiving cancer treatments, they are fatigued. I receive a referral from their doctor explaining which treatments they are receiving and instructions for their level of activity. A common workout can be using the Pilates reformer and resistance bands. I am there for them as a Personal Trainer as well as emotional support.
Cancer survivors often have mixed emotions that range from relief to anxiety. Some have physical and psychological issues. I create a program that helps them get into a routine and the “new norm.” The client needs to gain strength in their entire body and in affected areas. For example, if the client underwent a LAT Flap procedure for breast reconstruction, and I wanted them to a do a “superwoman” on a Bosu ball, they will have noticeable weakness and instability in the affected shoulder. I teach them how to retract their shoulders prior to initiating the movement. This will help them to contract their rhomboids and other scapular stabilizers.
QUESTION: Aquatic exercise is another one of your many training skill sets. What type of client benefits most from this type of personal training?
This client can be in the older population or anyone in physical rehabilitation. Working out in the water builds cardio and strength, and it’s easy on the joints. Water supports your body, putting less strain on your joints and muscles. The impact of gravity is less in the water as well, allowing a greater range of motion. Aqua workouts build strength by fighting against the water’s resistance. Water also has a soothing effect, creating a relaxed state of mind. I combine aerobic, strength, balance and yoga in my workouts.
QUESTION: You mentioned that you are a Health Coach. What exactly does that mean?
I help clients with cognitive, emotional, behavioral, physical, nutritional, exercise and lifestyle issues. For example, a client may know that they need to make a change but is struggling trying to achieve it on their own. There are several stages of change. I can help them identify the issues and help them overcome the barrier.
QUESTION: What is your favorite part of being a Personal Trainer?
Being a Personal Trainer is satisfying job. I love helping clients achieve their goals and then seeing the resulting happiness!
Michelle is a long time runner, fitness enthusiast, former healthy food blogger, and she’s one of the owners at New Milford Fitness & Aquatics Club. She ran cross country and track for the University of Colorado and still runs as well as hikes to stay healthy and avoid injury.