“Why should I work with a personal trainer?” “What does a trainer do that I can’t do on my own?” These are questions I am asked regularly. My answers are forth coming in this week’s blog, what I like to call my “shameless plug.”
Clearly, most people view personal trainers as a luxury. They are well aware of the benefits obtained by working with a trainer, but when economic times are tough, those benefits are viewed as luxury items. However, I feel there are some significant cost savings to working with a trainer, but you might not see them unless you look a little further down the road.
The obvious benefits to working with a certified personal trainer are:
1. One less thing to think about. That’s right, with a trainer there’s one less thing for you to think and worry about. We tell you what to do, how to do it, and make sure you’re doing it correctly. Thirty to sixty minutes later, your workout is done, your one step closer to your fitness goals, and all you had to do was show up.
2. Motivator. When your motivation and fortitude fall short, your trainer offers you that much-needed emotional understanding and support to re-motivate you and keep you on track with your fitness goals.
3. Accountability. Someone to hold you accountable for the other 23 hours each day when you are supposed to eat sensibly, drink water, and move more. Accountability is one of the strongest motivators that keeps my clients on track.
But here are some less obvious benefits that come with a personal trainer:
1. Variety. One of the keys to success in your fitness goals is variety of exercises. This not only keeps your brain challenged (and not bored), but keeps your body from plateauing (one of the biggest culprits to one’s failure to achieve their fitness goals).
2. Guilt. No, I’m not talking about feelings of guilt that you ate what you shouldn’t the night before (although that kind of guilt can serve as a huge motivator) – I’m referring to guilt about wasting money. When money is on the line, you’d be surprised how much more likely you are to show up and do the work.
3. Cost savings. The amount of money people waste annually on fad diets, current-rage exercise DVD’s, infomercial miracle exercise equipment is a at least double the amount it would cost you to work with me twice a week for one year. If you tallied up what you’ve spent over the last five years attempting to get into shape, I bet you’d find that you could have achieved your goal in half the time for half the money if you’d just worked with a trainer.
You mustn’t underestimate how much knowledge personal trainers have that you don’t. Every year we must complete several courses of Continuing Education to remain certified. This year I am studying three specialty courses: Nutrition for Women – Menopause & Beyond; Vegetarian Nutrition; and Carbohydrate Requirements for Exercise. Wouldn’t you like to have access to that kind of specific information without having to study it yourself?
So as the year comes to a close and those new year’s resolutions rear up, consider making 2015 the year you work with a trainer and finally get your body where you want it.
One last note as to something I specifically offer clients that many trainers do not, is my website www.workouts247.com. In my efforts to accommodate my more advanced clients, or clients who are truly on a limited budget, I offer a site where I will customize a workout routine to any individual. This allows you, at a fraction of the cost of working with a trainer weekly, to receive a workout that takes the guess-work out of how to quickly achieve your fitness goals. If you already know proper (and safe) exercise forms and are self-motivated, but still need that extra push (via accountability and the aforementioned guilt motivation) then this option is a perfect fit.
There are two polar opposite approaches as to how most beginners start exercising. One is to ease in – take it a little at a time, get off the couch, walk, stretch, maybe lift a little light weight two times a week. The other is to jump in – hire a trainer, join a cross-fit gym, take a daily class, sign up for a 5k or bike race, and then just go for it.
Which is right for you?
Which is right under what circumstances?
Here are the pros and cons to both approaches.
Pros of Easing In:
Starting off slowly allows the body time to adjust with much less muscle pain and strain. The likelihood of injuries is low, as is the likelihood of discouragement due to one’s inability to move their body without pain in the following days. Easing in also allows for limberness and strength to increase gradually but consistently, and the beginner is afforded the luxury of figuring out exactly what type of exercise is best suited to their temperament and lifestyle. (I.e., you might find that exercising at home to a DVD works better for you than going to a gym after work, or vice versa.)
Cons of Easing In:
Less chance of rapid fat reduction or muscle gain (change in how your clothes fit and your body looks) which lowers motivation and increases discouragement both of which translate into giving up before goals are met. Easing in is often a thinly veiled way to not really commit to your fitness goals, resulting in failure to change your body (this is illustrated annually in gyms crowded with new members only to see 75% of them disappear by March).
Pros of Jumping In:
Enthusiasm and motivation stay high as you quickly see results in your body quickly, energy is renewed, appetite is increased along with metabolism. Jumping in usually requires a larger monetary commitment (hiring a trainer, paying for a series of classes, buying home equipment). Monetary commitment, depending on how much money, often helps keep one focused as no one likes wasting money. Jumping into a new fitness regiment also allows you to quickly learn just what your body and brain are capable. There’s huge reward – joy if you will – in finding that you are able to up your level of fitness (i.e., being capable of doing more advanced fitness moves) which rockets you even faster towards achieving your goals.
Cons of Jumping In:
Obviously the biggest con is that of physical injury or pain, seconded by discouragement. I’ve seen trainers lose client after client because they jumped them in too quickly and the clients’ reaction to the subsequent muscle pain is to stop all exercise and not return. Jumping in without truly knowing how aggressive exercise will treat your body (and your brain), often results in a waste of money on DVD or home equipment that then gather dust. I advise clients who are hot for trends like P90X to see if they can borrow the DVD’s from a friend first and if they enjoy it after about a week, then go buy them. You can also, always get a free week pass at most gyms to try the gym out. Go at different times, even get a free training session – know what works for you before you plunge in.
No matter which approach you lean towards, take into consideration who you are, what your goals are, and what kind of condition you’re starting with. Most trainers will give you a free consultation to help you decide which approach is right for you, and I am definitely happy to give anyone a free consultation who fills out a query form on my websites.