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
- 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
http://wwwymcafit.org.uk 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
http://wwwcrb.gov.uk or http://wwwdisclosure.gov.uk for
information about the disclosure service).