We talk with our go-to fitness expert David Farhit for the inside scoop on what to look for in a personal fitness trainer. David Farhit has been a personal fitness trainer for over 25 years, and has his own private gym, Executive Personal Fitness in the Studio City area of Los Angeles, for the last 8 1/2 years. David has trained a wide range of people from celebrities, to the military, to stay-at-home moms to teenagers.
LATP: What is the value in having a personal trainer?
David Farhit: The value in having a personal trainer is the expertise you get from a qualified and certified personal trainer. This expertise helps you exercise correctly and minimizes any risks inherent in exercising. Also, a trainer is your personal coach who can focus your workout routine specifically to your needs and help you achieve your desired goals.
LATP: Trainers have different styles and philosophies. How are yours unique or different and what is your general philosophy?
DF: It is true trainers have their own style of training someone. And it is important you understand what type of program your trainer has you on and it is consistent with your goals. My philosophy is rooted in proper bio mechanic form. This means the person is performing an exercise with precision that works with the natural movements of their body. My style of training is high intensity implementing weight resistance, core and cardiovascular exercises in a circuit training format designed to get maximum results from my clients. Most importantly, whatever a particular style of training a personal trainer adheres to, proper form and execution of that exercise is paramount to any fitness program.
LATP: How long until someone sees results?
DF: Usually, after a few training sessions, a person can start to feel better mentally and physically. Some feel great after their first workout because of the endorphins released into the body. I tell my new clients to start seeing results within a few weeks where there is appreciable changes like body fat reduction, increased muscle tone and more energy.
LATP: How does someone know if they are on the right exercise program, especially if they workout on their own?
DF: The right program is unique to each person. It is goal oriented. First determine your fitness goals and make sure your workout plan is consistent with those goals. More importantly, your exercise program is challenging, but not overly strenuous that prevents you from recovering after each workout.
LATP: In your 25 years as a fitness expert, what do most people want to get from their exercise programs?
DF: I would say form my own experience that people, men and women, want to feel better with more energy. However, men and women do differ in their goals. For example, women generally like to focus on tone and shaping exercises and men are generally concerned with losing the gut and building the muscles up. Of course these are general examples, and I have had female clients who wanted to build and male clients who wanted to just lose weight. But, whether male or female, the goal is that of the individual, regardless of gender, and I as a trainer help that person attain that specific fitness goal.
LATP: What are the age ranges of your clients and is there a different method of training with each age category?
DF: My oldest client was 85 and my youngest client was 12 years old. Currently, my clients range from 18 to 75 years of age. Working with seniors can be challenging because of their needs and sometimes physical restrictions. The challenge comes from designing and implementing a workout that is considerate of any limitations they may have, but at the same time the workout is challenging enough to get the desired benefits. As a side note, I am always inspired when I see seniors workout, and it is never too late to start an exercise program. Kids are fun, I focus on their athleticism, coordination skills and core in the workouts. But again, as mentioned before, the workout should always be tailored to the person’s needs regardless of age or gender.
LATP: How have your training methods changed or evolved over the past 25 years?
DF: I am definitely a better trainer than I was 25 years ago. Because like anything, you get better at something through experience, trial and errors of life and more education. But, some of my philosophy and methods of training have changed. I use to do more body building type routines because of my personal experience as a bodybuilder. Over the years I learned to adapt to my client’s needs and give them a workout more fitting of their goal and body type. I have moved toward more circuit training methods of exercising.
LATP: How important is nutrition in an exercise program?
DF: Nutrition is important no matter what. You have to feed the body the vital nutrients in order to perform at an optimal level. In my gym, I tell my people you need energy to get through my workouts, no starvation diets. You need protein, carbohydrates and fats. Now calories are important and most people can function well and lose weight on 1,800 calories a day. I guide my clients in their nutrition and if they have special needs, I refer them to a registered dietician.
LATP: Should a person lose weight before they start any kind of weight training? So they won’t bulk up?
DF: No. This is a myth. Weight training and building muscle tone will only help you lose weight. The more muscle you build, the more calories you burn. Your metabolism becomes more efficient at burning fat. However, cardiovascular exercises are very important as well.
LATP: Personal trainers can be a an expensive luxury for a lot of people. What is your advice for those who want to workout but can’t necessarily afford a private trainer?
DF: There are many membership gyms that offer training packages with purchase of memberships. I highly encourage anyone who joins a gym, hire a trainer for a while just to get on the right track. No different than if you haven’t gone snow skiing, you may want to hire a ski instructor before you go down the mountain. I try to make myself affordable and accessible to most people by offering different training packages based on one-on-one training (private) and group training (semi-private), and my prices range based on each package or kind of training. And I offer a free introductory workout and evaluation before I have anyone commit to purchasing sessions from me so they know what they are getting before they pay anything.
Executive Personal Fitness
4705 Laurel Canyon Blvd., Suite 209
Valley Village, CA 91607
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Written by Jane Emery