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The Fitness Zone

Tips for Training Kids
May 1, 2020 | by Kate Kraschnefski

Training kids is a truly rewarding experience and an excellent addition to your business model as a personal trainer. Here are our thoughts on why you should consider training kids and how to approach it.

WHY TRAIN KIDS?

The majority of Australian children do not meet the recommended physical activity guidelines outside of school hours. This has been blamed on a range of factors, including increased consumption of entertainment through digital devices. Habits that are formed as children are often carried into teen years and adulthood, so it is crucial that we teach our children the importance of health at a young age. 

Teenagers who are overweight have a dramatically higher chance of being overweight or obese when they become adults which can lead to health risks such as heart disease. Training kids is a fantastic way to show them first hand how good it feels to be active and healthy.

While formal after-school sports are a great way for kids to get active, maintain their fitness and ensure physical development, not every child is competitive or enjoys these activities.

Personal trainers have become valuable resources for children looking for alternative forms of exercise outside of school. Competent trainers with expertise in working with children are in high demand.

Training kids is also extremely rewarding and loads of fun. There are programs and exercises designed for kids that are exciting and enjoyable but just won’t work as well for adults. As well as this, training children can bring in extra income to your business.

HOW TO TRAIN THEM?

All aspects of fitness should be considered when planning programs for children, that is strength, stamina and suppleness. 

Despite common belief, there are many physical benefits for children who participate in resistance training, such as:

- Increased strength

- Decreased risk of injury

- Improved long-term health

- Enhanced sports performance

 In addition, resistance training can increase children’s self-esteem and self-confidence.  The use of free weights and body weight is recommended for kids. 

There are some basic rules and considerations that need to be followed when training kids:

- Activities must be fun and stimulating.  Some level of competition can be a great learning experience for children, but remember that different personality types will respond differently to competition.  The aim is for everyone to feel empowered.

- Kids will require you to adapt your communication style and motivational techniques

- Be aware of children who are overweight, as they may feel self conscious performing certain activities, particularly in groups.  Make sure everyone feels safe and part of the group

- You need to be able to reinforce rules, encourage and motivate

- Always remember that children are not “mini-adults”, and therefore should be trained with a totally different approach

- The exercises must be performed in a safe environment with protective clothing and equipment that is suitable for children.

Personal training for kids can be conducted one-on-one or in groups. Group programs offer children many benefits, such as social interaction opportunities and an enhanced fun factor.

Kids should see training as something positive, and it’s your responsibility to ensure that training sessions don’t feel like a chore.

WHAT NEEDS TO BE DIFFERENT?

Training kids comes with an extra twist - you have to satisfy two sets of clients, usually with very different needs and wants.

- The children

- The parents

Parents tend to enrol their children in personal training because they want them either to excel in a sport or lose weight. Kids, on the other hand, may just want to have fun and make some friends. Parents may pay for the sessions, but the children are your priority, and as a personal trainer you should meet their needs.

SESSIONS NEED TO BE FUN

Sessions also need to be structured differently to adult sessions. The more motivating, fun and supportive the environment is, the more fun the kids will have. Think about activities you enjoyed as a child that were physical in nature, and use this as a basis to work on your own program/session for children.

You will need an array of colourful equipment that is attractive to a child’s eye, as well as providing safe, stimulating, creative and educational activities. You don’t have to organise sets and reps like you do in an adult program. Activities such as dancing, riding bikes, swimming, rebounding on trampolines and rollerskating are great alternative exercise types that are less structured. Competitive games like soccer and hockey make great use of the outdoors and encourage physical activity.

Personal training may not be the solution for every child, but for some kids, it can be a great way to learn healthy behaviour and habits that will last a lifetime. It's also a great way for an overweight child to get some immediate results, to reinforce the benefits of fitness or build self-confidence in a child with low self-esteem. 

You will need to gain your “Working With Children” Check in your state prior to training kids, and also make sure your qualification includes specific units of competency that relate to children so you are covered by your insurer. 

Would you like to have a positive impact on a child’s life? As a personal trainer, you have a real opportunity to change the lives of children and help them to thrive with their health into their adult life. If this sounds like the kind of rewarding career you are after, check out our Master Trainer Program™!

About

Kate has been a Gym Manager, as well as a Personal Training Manager at Fernwood Brisbane City. She also taught yoga, Pilates, freestyle aerobics and group cycling, and is now Training Team Captain at the Australian Institute of Fitness QLD.

This content is not intended to be used as individual health or fitness advice divorced from that imparted by medical, health or fitness professionals. Medical clearance should always be sought before commencing an exercise regime. The Institute and the authors do no take any responsibility for accident or injury caused as a result of this information.

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