Why do you need a personal trainer?

Cross-posted from sharonkuntz.wordpress.com


As a personal trainer, even I think it is important for everyone, including myself, to have a personal trainer of some sort.  I would not hire a personal trainer for myself, since I am a personal trainer, but it is wise for trainers to have co-workers and friends who are personal trainers to watch you work out, work out with you, or just give you advice from time to time.  If you aren’t a trainer yourself, it is very wise to have a personal trainer or at least someone who will hold you accountable and lend you advice.

You see, the issue with almost everyone isn’t that they have no clue what to do for exercise.  A great majority of people know that you can do squats for your legs, pushups for your chest and arms, and pullups for you back, arms, and core.  The issue is that people lack the motivation to work out.

I love to work out.  It encompasses a great portion of my life.  I actually find joy in it, not only after, but also during, and I look forward to it.  Some days, however, I do not.  Some days, it is cold outside, I’m sore, my cats want me to stay home and play with them… okay now I’m just naming excuses.  But really, sometimes it is hard to get yourself to work out, whether you have equipment at home, or you have to go to the gym.  I have equipment at home and at the gym, and personally, I find it easier to convince myself to go to the gym than I do to work out at  home.  Why?  Because when I go to the gym, I have to work out.  That’s all there is to do there.  At home, I can lift a dumbbell, then go read a book.  Or swing my kettle bell a few times, then my cats come in the room bugging me.  If I get hungry, I’ll go eat mid-workout rather than waiting until I get home.  There are just too many distractions.  It is nice if you WANT to work out at that given time, but otherwise, it is difficult to motivate yourself.

Now, it probably sounds like I don’t really like to work out.  I do, I really do.  But everyone knows that sometimes  you just don’t feel like it.  The average person ‘doesn’t feel like it’ most of the time.  A personal trainer is very helpful in these situations.

Accountability is key.  If you have no one pushing you to work out, you will be more likely to skip that 6:00am workout before work.  If you told your trainer you would be there at 6:00am, you would feel bad cancelling (or at least I would hope so, they got out of bed early for you).  Not only are you accountable for showing up for your workouts, you are also held accountable for your progression.  If you are receiving nutritional advice or advice to help with an injury or a bum knee, the trainer knows if  you have followed the advice or not by your next few visits.  You can’t just eat the cake and cookies at the party, then complain that you aren’t losing weight.  You were given the tools, you just have to use them.

Another reason everyone needs a personal trainer is to learn the point of view of someone else.  Before I started working where I currently work, I thought I knew so much about working out.  I had my routine down pat and it was perfect (except for the overuse injuries I kept running into, and except for the huge plateau I had hit.)  Sometimes, it’s time for a change.  At my new job, I learned a new way of doing things.  From experience, I have found that it is a much better way of doing things.  Had I not explored, I would not have discovered this as fast, or maybe not at all.  The way I was training was slowly tearing my body down faster than it was building it up.  My current boss (who obviously is also a personal trainer) trained me before I started training people.  Having a trainer taught me so much about myself.  My deadlift form wasn’t perfect.  My swings form wasn’t perfect.  I shouldn’t work out (hard) 7 days per week.  I never would have thought that I needed a personal trainer!  It was one of the best learning experiences I’ve had.

Which brings me to another reason everyone needs a personal trainer… form.  Form is the most important thing when it comes to working out.  Improper form can lead to injury at the worst, and no gains at the best.  Nothing good can come from improper form.  You may watch yourself in the mirror while you do your lifting, yet your form may still suffer.  You cannot see yourself from all angles.  You may not know exactly what proper form even looks like.  Whatever the cause is, I can guarantee that there is SOMETHING that your form isn’t perfect on.

If you don’t agree with any of these reasons because your form is totally perfect always, you’re highly motivated, and you know the best possible way to train already, maybe this will convince you.  If you train yourself, you will treat yourself unfairly.  You don’t like single leg squats, then you won’t put them into your routine.  (This is me for example.)  You have a weak upper body and don’t like to bench, you won’t put it in your routine.  These are important exercises that you CAN do without hurting yourself, but if  you don’t like to do them, you won’t.  You may sub out a different exercise which isn’t necessarily always a bad thing, but you need variety and progression in your workouts.  If you are your own trainer, you will likely stick with what you feel comfortable with, or change it up too often just because you don’t like a certain exercise because it is harder.  If you have a trainer, however, you will do what you have to do because, well, they told you to do it.  Unless something actually hurts in a bad way then you probably aren’t going to (seriously) ask your trainer if you can stop doing it and do something else instead.  You will suck it up and do it.  Also, on the opposite end, you may over exert yourself just because you want to or you enjoy it.  This is where I was a year ago.  I worked out 6-7 days per week, and did most of my exercises until failure.  I had a shoulder overuse injury, my back constantly hurt, my “bad” knee was really killing me.  Yet, I continued to workout like this.  Now, I work out 3 days per week with some small, easy workouts and walking/cycling/sprinting in between.  I haven’t had an overuse injury since.  If I didn’t have a personal trainer, I would still train my old way.  I no longer have a pass to a 24 hour gym, however I do have the key to a gym and could go whenever I want.  I don’t go all the time though because now I know better.

If this isn’t enough reasons to convince you that life is better with a personal trainer, then don’t get yourself a personal trainer.  It is important to find a trainer who is right for you, so do your research before just jumping into it with anyone.  Chances are if you find someone who is right for you, even after you learn plenty of exercises and feel like you can do it on your own, you will probably stick with a personal trainer because you realize that having a trainer will enhance your workouts more than any workout video on the market.

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