Fitness babysitters

Entry Notes

Posted: 10152008
Author: Dan Haskevitz
Category: Parenting

Increasing numbers of cash-rich, time-poor parents are hiring personal trainers to work out with their youngsters on a one-to-one basis.

Many of the parents who buy into this latest trend use personal trainers themselves, and see enlisting their services for their offspring (at a cost of around £30 an hour) as a logical investment in their family’s fitness. Most argue that they don’t have time to be active with their children themselves (although we know it can be done), so employing a ‘fitness babysitter’ is the next best thing.

One London-based personal training company now estimates that around one-quarter of their clients are children. However, not everyone agrees that personal training for children is such a good idea.

Some experts in the industry feel that this ‘quick fix’ solution for too little exercise is not the answer, and that exercising and adopting a healthier lifestyle as a whole family is a better option. Critics are also concerned about the lack of specialist training for personal trainers working with children (children must not do resistance training with weights because their tendons and ligaments haven’t fully formed). They also contest that personal training is a poor substitute for free play or sport.

Those who support the new trend believe that oneto- one training can be a good way to boost sagging self-esteem and combat poor body image (which is a perennial problem with today’s youth). Supporters also maintain that personal training educates children and gets them into the habit of exercising. You will have to draw your own conclusions on this new development but, if you are tempted to use a personal trainer for your child, there are a couple of precautionary measures you should follow:

- Check that the personal trainer has insurance and is qualified.

- Has s/he been trained to work specifically with children? In August 2006, the YMCA – widely seen as the ‘Gold Standard’ for instructors – piloted a course called YMCA Fit Kids for fitness instructors who want to train children either on a one-to-one basis or in groups. Details can be found at or by phoning 020 7343 1850 and pressing 1 for Customer Services.

- Has s/he been police checked to work with children? (See Criminal Records Bureau or for information about the disclosure service).

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