Photo (cc) by personaltrainertoronto
Do you want to hire a personal trainer to help you get in shape, but wonder if you should spend the money?
Working with a trainer can push your fitness level forward much more quickly than working out on your own.
Here are six reasons why hiring a skilled personal trainer is a great investment.
1. Trainers provide accountability and motivation
Do you want to face your trainer and tell her that you didn’t work out yesterday? Sure, you can get this accountability from a dedicated friend who works out with you, but this is the trainer’s job. He or she has a vested interest in seeing that you complete your workouts.
Also, if you’re paying a trainer, do you really want to slack off and feel like you aren’t getting the most for your money? Money spent is good motivation to work out.
2. Trainers provide expertise
A good personal trainer will watch closely to ensure that you are doing the exercises properly to maximize your result and target the intended muscle group.
My trainer carefully watches me and corrects minor mistakes in form as I make them. She assures me that sometimes the smallest tweak of an exercise will change the muscle that is targeted, and I can tell the difference when I follow her instructions.
This is something I could never do on my own, or even from watching a video. Usually, I’m not even aware of a mistake in form. Consistently doing an exercise incorrectly can lead to injury.
3. A trainer will push you just enough
A trainer will push you harder than you will push yourself but keep you from rushing ahead too quickly.
If you are like me, you work out until you feel uncomfortable, and then you modify the movement or stop altogether. A good trainer knows how to push you beyond your comfort zone and when to stop before pain or injury sets in.
Expert trainers know alternative exercises if you have difficulty with one or if you have an injury to work around. Sometimes a modified version of an exercise is necessary, depending on your fitness level. A good trainer will expertly shape an exercise for you.
4. A trainer helps you identify and reach goals
As I set my goals, she helps me to attain them. She encourages me by noticing improvements that I wouldn’t even think about. This is helpful when discouragement tries to set in.
5. A trainer will personalize your workout
Quality trainers know how to customize a workout based on your individual strengths, weaknesses and goals.
Mine helps me to increase my cardio endurance with a running interval plan. Since one of my short-term goals is to do more mens push-ups, my trainer is including several types of difficult push-ups in my sessions that are quickly enabling me to build my strength and move toward more mens push-ups.
6. Trainers can reduce the possibility of injury
An injury can derail a workout program and cause so much discouragement that you could lose momentum and determination to continue. A good trainer will help you to do exercises properly so that you won’t injure yourself.
When my knee began to act up, my trainer had me cut back on my running intervals and ride an exercise bike on some days. She also pointed out that I may be developing an imbalance between my quadriceps and hamstring muscles, which can lead to knee injuries. Since my quads are stronger than my hamstrings, she began targeting hamstring strength. These are things I would not have known to do.
How to find a trainer
If you’re convinced that you would benefit, here are some things that you should look for in a good trainer:
- Make sure to hire a personal fitness trainer who has received certification from a reputable licensing organization. The American College of Sports Medicine is considered the gold standard of certification. The American Council on Exercise is another good certification organization. Your trainer should have expert qualifications, and these organizations help to ensure that by teaching biomechanics, anatomy and physiology, specifics on form and muscle groups, and fitness testing techniques. You can check to see if your trainer is certified via the links above.
- Can your trainer customize workouts to your individual needs? Some trainers are better at this than others. If you aren’t receiving individual customization, you may as well just take a class at your local gym. That individualization is a huge advantage that you get with a trainer.
- Check their personal style. Does the trainer have a military style or a more encouraging demeanor? One style or other may work out better for you. Some trainers offer their first session with you for free to see if they will make a good fit for you.
- Make sure the trainer checks your health history and customizes your workouts based on any previous injuries or health issues.
- Is your trainer focused on you during the workouts? If your trainer is looking at a watch or checking a cellphone, he or she is not focused on you. You are paying for her time and energy. Make sure you get that.
How much can you expect to pay? The average hourly fee for a personal trainer is $60-$70, according to Costhelper.com, citing the president of the National Board of Fitness Education, Sal Arria. The rate can be higher, however, or as low as $25 an hour depending on where you live, the report said.
You can expect to get a better deal if you work with a trainer at the gym where you have a membership.
Hiring a personal fitness trainer might seem like a luxury if you are on a tight budget, but if you really want to get the most out of your workouts, a trainer is a great investment. The improvement in your health and fitness levels can have long-term payment in quality of life, and even decreased health care costs. That sounds like a good investment strategy.
Still weighing the fitness options? Watch this video for some do-it-yourself ideas: