I get asked this question all the time: “Should I hire a trainer?”
The answer is, unquestionably, yes, but it comes with an asterisk, so to speak.
I say yes because I look at what I do when I go to the gym. I look at the way I train, how long it takes me and how much effort I put into each workout. Then I ask myself, “Could I do better with someone encouraging me to push harder or lift a bit heavier or do my intervals faster?” The answer again is yes. Speaking as an athlete, trainer and someone who’s been involved in the fitness industry for over 30 years I know exactly how far I can push myself when it comes to my training and I know how much recovery time I need. I’m not always able to give 100% when I’m in the gym. Distractions are constantly present and I often find myself seeking reasons not to do another set or take a little more rest time than I need. When I have one of my colleagues or friends oversee my training session, they never let me take the additional time or look for distractions. They keep me on task, on schedule and constantly push me to excel. Bottom line, it works. No matter how effective I am in the gym, it is only enhanced when a trainer or training partner works with me.
Don’t fool yourself. Even if you’ve been going to the gym for years or you’ve played sports all your life, don’t think that you know everything there is to know about working out. It’s very likely that you probably do quite a few things wrong in the gym — bad information seems to constantly perpetuate. Every single day I see people who are training poorly, ineffectively or just plain wrong.
It may be the intensity at which they do their “cardio” training or perhaps it’s the way they spend 2 hours doing a workout that should take no more than 30 minutes. They may even be doing the exercises TOTALLY WRONG. Yes, I see this all the time. I’m sure most of the people making these errors have no idea they’re doing anything wrong. If that’s the case, there’s no impetus for making any change. “Quality, not quantity” plays a big part in training. It would be much more advantageous for each and every one of these individuals to spend as little as 30 minutes to an hour with a qualified trainer, have him or her evaluate what they’re doing, then change what’s been identified as incorrect. Subtle changes in form, intensity and program design can promote substantial changes in the effectiveness of your program.
Here are some other examples of where hiring a trainer may be helpful:
New to working out
Post injury rehab
Boredom with your current program / routine
No longer seeing results (plateau)
Basic education of equipment
Learn how to train safely
Learn what’s new in the industry
I stated in my first sentence that there was an asterisk involved. The reason is, there are many variables involved when hiring a trainer. As the client, you MUST do your homework and make sure the trainer you hire is right for you. Check out who the trainer is, what their background is, what experience and education they’ve had and, perhaps most importantly, what their personality is like. You could have the most knowledgeable and effective trainer on the planet, but if the personalities of trainer and client don’t mesh, nothing will ever get accomplished. Most gyms have multiple trainers on staff, so don’t necessarily sign up with the first one you talk to. Talk with them all and find the best fit for you. Trainers are like lawyers, too. If you don’t like the one you’re currently with, get rid of them and find one that you enjoy working with.
Follow these guidelines when looking for a trainer and you’ll be much more apt to reach your fitness goals. Remember: If you’re paying to be there, you have the right to ask questions, get more information, ask for alternatives, etc. If you’re being told something that just doesn’t make sense, make sure you’re getting the right answers!
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