HEALTH

Personal trainers help teens get fit

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As the U.S. tries to fight an obesity epidemic, personal trainers aren't just for adults anymore. Parents of children who don't play sports or other physical activities use training to combat childhood obesity.

Lucy Jeffries works out with the help of a personal trainer.

Eighteen-year old David Schneider knows he needs more exercise. “I've always been overweight, and I've also not really wanted to workout,” he said.

Five years ago, when he was 13 years old, Schneider started working out with a personal trainer his parents hired.

“I definitely noticed, I'm more filled in than I used to be, rather than round,” he said. “I can definitely play a whole basketball game without getting really tired.”

His trainer Scott Sulkin specializes in training children and youth. He says he's been busier since the increase in childhood obesity has received more attention.

“PE is not the way it was when I was a kid, kids are not going outside and playing like they used to,” Sulkin said.

Sulkin says since not all kids are into sports, personal training helps them stay active. Unlike personal trainers for adults, there are no scales or tape measures.

“We focus on non-competitive (workouts), you do your best, you try your best,” he said. “Which is why the self-esteem reinforcing is so important.”

Thirteen-year old Lucy Jeffries signed up a year ago. She does workouts on the elliptical, treadmill and rowing machine. Her mother Rachel says the family wasn't sure about the idea at first. “All of us were like, what the heck, a personal trainer for a kid?” she said.

Lucy says she has better stamina now, “so things get easier and he makes me do harder things.”

Sulkin says it's tough to gauge an overall weight loss for the kids he trains. They're still growing, so some weight gain is inevitable. He can keep an eye on their progress at the gym, and also encourage healthier eating habits.

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