Visit ten commercial gyms or fitness centres and ask them why you should use a Personal Trainer and you will get ten different answers, based around why you should use a Personal Trainer from their facility. The problem with the advice you are receiving from these professional sales people, is that the advice is driven by sales targets and is designed to help build the businesses of the resident Personal Trainers.
Now don’t get me wrong, I am a Personal Trainer San Diego working out of a large commercial gym and I also want to build by business. Gaining access to gym members who have been sold on the virtues and values of personal training certainly makes that job so much easier. But, I would much rather have my clients decide to use a Personal Trainer (preferably me) for valid reasons and with a realistic view of what they can expect to receive in return for their hard-earned dollars.
Let’s start at the beginning; why is it best to workout with a Personal Trainer? Essentially, there are ten reasons why most people choose to engage a Personal Trainer and they are:
1. You are not seeing results. Many people will begin an exercise regime with a general goal in mind, usually weight loss, and work like crazy for weeks, months and even years without getting any discernible results. A good Personal Trainer will begin your journey with a comprehensive Pre-Exercise Screening questionnaire and will have an in depth discussion with you about your goals, motivation and previous exercise history. Only then, after gaining an understanding of where you currently are and where you want to get to, will they begin formulating an exercise and nutrition plan specifically for you. Included in the pre-exercise screening, will be body weight assessment, girth measurements and possibly even skinfold measurements taken to establish a baseline against which your future progress will be measure.
2. You don’t know where to start. No Personal Trainer worth spending your money on will assume that you have any prior knowledge of anatomy & physiology, nutrition or exercise science. The reason is that if we assume that every client is a blank canvas and develop the workouts based on the principles of sound technique and progression, every client has the opportunity to learn the safest, most effective way in which to build their strength, cardio vascular fitness and insure against unnecessary injuries. Most people who join gym don’t know how to exercise effectively or safely and there is no-one better to teach you how to do that than your Personal Trainer. A large number of people will download a templated workout from their favourite website or get advice from their “fit” friends. The problem with this approach is that you may not know how to use the equipment safely and the workout has not been tailored to suit your individual needs and/or limitations.
3. You are bored with the same old workouts. I know from personal experience that if you do not change your workout on a regular basis, or add interesting cross-training options into the mix, you become very bored with the workout and are less likely to even attempt to do it. Bang, there goes your motivation. A good Personal Trainer will be continually reviewing your progress, how your body is adapting to the exercise and, assessing your motivation. If any, or all, of these indicators show signs of plateauing or you are less motivated, he will change your routine and add some variety into your workout to keep it interesting and to continually challenge your body.
4. You need to be challenged. If you are like the majority of the exercising population, there will be days when you simply don’t feel like pushing yourself to your limits or, you just feel like slacking off. A Personal Trainer will not allow you to bring out the BS excuses to not workout. He will push you to complete that last two reps and encourage you through the set when the weight seems far too heavy. He will be your conscience, your mentor and your cheer squad, but he will not be your Mother.
5. You want to learn how to exercise on your own. Even if you want to exercise on your own, it is a great idea to engage a Personal Trainer for a few sessions to learn the right way to exercise. This is especially true if you want to learn about the muscles in your body, how to target those muscles and how to complete the exercises with good technique. Just a few sessions can teach you about your body, how it works and what you can do the get the best out of it through exercise.
6. You need accountability and motivation. Personal Trainers come with built-in motivation. You are investing both money and time in your health and fitness and there is nothing like a standing appointment to get you off your butt and moving. A good Personal Trainer will also provide accountability; so if you don’t turn up for an appointment, they will be straight on to you to find out if you did the missed training in your own time. They will regularly quiz you on your eating and sleeping habits to make sure you are staying on track.
7. You have a specific illness, injury or condition. If you have specific conditions like, Type 2 Diabetes, Heart Disease, arthritis or old injuries, working with a Personal Trainer, who can work with your Doctor, Physiotherapist or Chiropractor, can help you find a program that suits your particular circumstances, help heal injuries and, avoid further problems. Keep in mind that you want to find a trainer who has experience with your issues and make sure that trainer works closely with your doctor and/or physical therapist for the best experience.
8. You are training for a sport or event. If you’re training for a marathon, the football season or some other type of sport or event, an experienced Personal Trainer can help you decide what you need to do to stay strong without detracting from your other training. He can also help create a training program and map out a periodisation plan for the coming event. Just make sure he’s experienced in the sport you’re training for since not all trainers do sport-specific training.