Why Work with a Personal Trainer?
I have heard many women say, “I just can’t seem to stay on track. I start out motivated but lose interest. I don’t really know what I should be doing, and what I am doing isn’t working.”
You don’t just want to work hard, you want to work smart. Committing to scheduling workouts is great, but if you’re not seeing results, you get bored, or you injure yourself, it’s easy to give up.
Here are a few reasons why hiring a personal trainer is a smart idea.
You are more likely to set and reach fitness goals.
Goal + accountability = action. Desiring to be active and sustain a healthy weight is a worthy goal, but it’s also easier to let life derail you from the actions you need to take if you’re not working toward something more concrete.
A personal trainer will ask what is important to you, help you choose objective goals to measure your success, and design a plan to get you there.
You won’t waste time on workouts that aren’t effective.
There are many traps that can lead you to perform ineffective workouts. The wisdom of your old high school track coach may have been consistent with the knowledge of the day, but more recent developments in exercise science have overturned some of the older practices.
Magazines, pop-up ads, and infomercials tout the shiny new workout technique that will deliver the body of your dreams, but these seem to change daily. You may end up hopping from one plan to the next without giving anything a chance to work, or you may give up completely in bewilderment of which way to turn!
A good personal trainer stays on top of the current research and will deliver a plan tailored to your goals and abilities.
You are less likely to skip a workout.
It’s so easy to let yourself off the hook and talk yourself into believing one of your 101 excuses not to exercise when you’re accountable only to yourself.
But if skipping requires you to call your trainer and cancel a scheduled appointment, you greatly improve your odds of showing up. I once had a client call to tell me she needed to cancel because it was thunderstorming, and she was trapped in her office without an umbrella.
Excuse No. 1
“So get wet,” I said.
“But I’m wearing a $400 suit,” she protested.
“Then wait it out—you have time.”
Excuse No. 2:
“But I won’t be able to get home and eat before I come,” she lamented.
“Don’t you have anything in the office to snack on?” I countered.
“Well I do have some yogurt and a banana …” she conceded.
In the end, she saw it my way. As usual, the biggest hurdle was just getting started. Once she got into her workout, she felt amazing and thanked me for convincing her to brave “the storm.”
You reduce your chance of getting injured.
Having a trained eye watching your exercise form can make all the difference when it comes to injury prevention.
A personal trainer will correct you before trouble starts if you’re lifting weights with improper body alignment, pushing beyond your limits in a way that causes your form to suffer, or not allowing adequate recovery time between sets or workouts.
It works the other way as well. One person asked for my help because she wasn’t getting the results she wanted—namely sleek, defined muscles that would look great in the strapless wedding dress she would be wearing in six months.
She had been exercising incessantly but was using only light weights because she was afraid of hurting herself. Having the reassurance that I was watching over her, we soon tripled the weight of the dumbbells she had been using, and she transformed her arms and shoulders into exactly what she was picturing for her wedding day!
You will work harder.
I’ve heard it time and again after a client completes a grueling workout … breathless, sweaty, and beaming with pride over the accomplishment: “I would never have done that on my own!”
Some clients truly wouldn’t exercise at all if they didn’t have a standing appointment, but I also have clients who exercise solo but train with me once or twice a week to get that extra punch in their workouts that they can’t bring themselves to do on their own.
It’s not a sign of weakness that they enlist help, but rather a smart move to put themselves in a position to achieve their goals.
A trainer can provide accountability on your nutrition as well. The reality is that exercise is essential for health and will help you achieve the body you want, but for most of us the saying holds true: “You can’t outrun a bad diet” (unless you’re a genetically gifted under-20 male!)
Although only registered dietitians are technically authorized to give you a meal plan to follow, a personal trainer can still help you speed up your results by recommending what types of foods will support or hinder the process of losing fat and/or gaining muscle, and when you should be eating them in relation to your training for maximum benefit.
In addition to advice, a personal trainer may be willing to give you an even more important tool to help you clean up your eating—accountability. Recently a client of mine spent a week as a camp counselor where the menu was mainly kid-friendly staples like chicken fingers and fries.
Before she left we went over the meal plans day by day and determined what she could choose from the offerings and what she could bring as supplements or replacements. Having a solid plan in place going into it—and knowing I would be asking her about it when she got back!—empowered her to stick with healthier choices.
You are less likely to get bored.
Not only is 45 minutes of steady-state churning on an elliptical or three rounds of the same old strength-training moves ineffective, it’s also boring!
My goal as a trainer is to customize every workout for each client and continuously challenge them with a large variety of exercises. Sticking to the same routine that will stall your progress is not an option.
A client once asked me, “Why am I not getting any better at this?” I replied, “You are getting better—I just keep making it harder.” The lightbulb went on and she realized that although it didn’t feel any easier, she was accomplishing so much more than when she first started. That’s how you get results!
Do any of these scenarios resonate with you? If so, it may be worth your while to enlist the help of a high-quality personal trainer. It may just be the solution you need to be able to finally stick to and (gasp!) enjoy making exercise a part of your life. BW
Maggie Wonsick is a co-owner and personal trainer at Train Yard Gym & Fitness in Enola, Pa. She offers personal and group programs to help people gain health, energy, and strength through exercise and nutrition. www.trainyardgym.com