When should you get a personal trainer
There are many reasons to hire a personal trainer and some will depend on your goals and that may be a bit more personal so I won’t dive into that. But, there are definitely 3 times in your life that you will want one and here they are:
- just beginning to work out or haven’t exercised in a while.
- been working out for a year or two.
- been working out for more than a few years.
Let’s explore each one.
Reasons to Hire a Personal Trainer
Now you might ask if I am a personal trainer and I can tell you no, I am not and have never been a trainer. But I can tell you that I never thought I needed one and that’s what I want to share. My first 5 sessions was a ‘gift’ that I didn’t want. By the end of the 5th session, I was sorry they were over. You may be surprised by what I learned and I’ll get to that in a bit, but first, let’s expand on why I recommend the 3 times mentioned above.
Getting into exercising if you haven’t been at it for a while can be difficult. Yes, the physical activity can be challenging, but it also takes a lot of mental activity. Simply put, your mind will make excuses and you will need to talk yourself into it. And to talk yourself into it, you’ll need compelling reasons to keep at it.
Reason 1: Hiring a personal trainer for five (5) sessions is a great motivator because you won’t want to lose the money and besides, if you can span it over 30 days, it might just become a habit. And habits work for your goals.
Reason 2: The reason why you want to exercise in the first place. Because you are human and humans need to be active or they lose muscle tone and mass. Atrophy sets in. The phrase “Use it or Lose It” comes to mind.
Reason 3: You can eat more. Who doesn’t want to do that? Not only can you eat more, but after a while you’ll become more interested in taking care of your body with nutritional food. You’ll want to learn more about what you are eating and in general, you’ll simply start to take good care of your body.
And… it will be so much easier if you have a little help getting started. After your trainer personalizes a routine for you, you will be able to follow-up with a book to remember what you learned.
Intermediate and Advanced:
You might ask why you would want a trainer if you already know what to do. Here are 3 reasons:
Reason 1: This one is simple. Because we are creatures of habit with 600+ muscles in our bodies, if we don’t mix it up periodically, then we are exercising the same muscles over and over. Have you ever seen someone who has strong arms but also has a belly? Yes, you guessed it, they are focusing on their arms, but they need advice on other areas of their body that need the benefit of exercise. After all, you wouldn’t exercise one arm and not the other – would you?
Reason 2: Because you can’t see yourself from all angles and you may have gotten into the habit of performing an exercise incorrectly. I recently photographed a friend doing a plank and she was surprised to see that she was doing this incorrectly. And although that was a one-time experience (she’s great at planks), she thought she was in good form. A trainer will help you ‘see’ where you need improvement and that can change the effectiveness of your workout.
Reason 3: Most people pick an exercise type and stick with that. I know people who only focus on strength training but there are four major exercise types – Balance, Endurance, Flexibility and Strength (BEFS)… Ask your trainer for suggestions for all four types.
Before Your First Session
As you can see, hiring a personal trainer is great, but before you start, do some homework. Know what you want and then don’t be shy, ask questions
- Write down your goal(s) – do you want to run a marathon, have better balance, lose 15 lbs (6.8 kg), or something else?
- List any pains, medications, and medical limitations to share with your trainer. For example, the trainer may avoid or recommend exercises for arthritis, bursitis, etc. or if you’ve recently had surgery.
Discuss with Your Trainer
- Share your goals – your trainer will adjust your workout to meet these goals.
- Discuss your list of physical limitations, recent surgeries or health issues from above.
- Nutrition is very important so ask if they recommend changes to your diet as well.
- Make a list of questions for each exercise session:
- What part of the body are you exercising?
- What are the exercises called?
- How should you breathe – inhale as you begin the motion, or exhale?
- What is a good pace? How many should you do in 5 – 10 minutes or should you do 12 reps for 3 sets?
- What is the correct form? Should you focus on standing straight? How should your feet be positioned? Where should you place your hands?
- How do you know when it’s too much for you? What should you expect? For example my first plank was 15 seconds and I began to shake by 7 seconds (an eternity). My trainer said that was normal and would go away as I got stronger. Had I tried it privately, I would have stopped doing planks altogether but happily, I include them in my routines.
- How long should you expect to do the exercise before going to the next level? What is the next level? Heavier weights or more reps?
- How do they recommend you track your progress? If walking, a fitbit or phone app can track steps – you may want to keep a journal so you can see your progress. What your trainer recommends.
Asking about the next level can pertain to a single exercise but also your weekly routine. This is important because advancing to the next level for Balance, Endurance, Flexibility and Strength exercises are all different. It could be the length of time it will take you to complete a set or how many lbs or kg you can lift.
Set your expectations ahead of time and never get discouraged. Give yourself time to improve and be patient. Soon you will see the results and love them!
Have you ever hired a personal trainer?
If you are a trainer (or know a trainer) and would like to publish a Guest Post, please let us know. We would love to hear from you!
Wishing you the best of health!!