Personal trainers: Worth the money?

I was at the gym this morning (my first real workout in 12 days!) and while I was stretching watched a personal trainer working with a fellow gym-goer. I got to thinking about the benefits of a personal trainer and whether working with one is worth the investment. They can be a great source of motivation as well as a wealth of knowledge when it comes to new exercises, tips on form and even suggestions about diet. Anyone who has worked with a trainer knows that they are like a personal cheerleader, pushing you toward success. It can sometimes be difficult to find the will and strength to lose those last few pounds or get out of a rut. Having another person to remind you of why you’re working so hard and why it’s worth continuing can be invaluable. They cheer you through those last five reps and give you a high-five when you’re done. While they’re pumping you up mentally they’re also helping to pump you up physically. Trainers help you get past your limitations and power through when you might have otherwise given up. Whenever I’ve worked with a trainer, I’ve been pushed harder and longer than I could have pushed myself on my own. They teach you exercises that are right for your body and variations on traditional exercises that really take your workout to new heights. Whether you’re new to exercise or you’re looking to take your fitness to the next level, personal trainers can be a key component in reaching your goals. But, are they really worth the money? Is it possible to get the same results (PDF) without a personal trainer?

It’s important to remember that every personal trainer is trying to sell you on their necessity. If you don’t like them or aren’t satisfied with their expertise, they know you won’t work with them again. It’s essential that they impress you from the beginning. Despite needing to honor their commitment to you as much as you honor your commitment to them, some trainers are flakey. They reschedule sessions at the last-minute or overbook and don’t give you the full amount of time that you’ve paid for and rightly deserve. These qualities won’t be immediately obvious, so some patience may be required if you decide to work with a trainer. When looking for a trainer, try to get recommendations. Also, ask about the ease of switching trainers in case you find yourself unhappy. For the price, you should not only be thrilled with the workout, but also with the person you’re working out with. Keep in mind that personal trainers are human too. They make mistakes just like you. This doesn’t mean you have to lower your expectations. You know what you need and what works best for you. Move on if you don’t feel like you’re getting the most out of the experience.

I’ve only worked with a trainer a couple of times in the past few years. They’ve been very helpful for short bursts, but then I often find I can carry on alone. Once I get set on the right path, the motivation and ability to figure out and try new exercises seems to come without the aid of a professional. Whether or not a personal trainer is absolutely necessary depends on the person. If you have the willpower and confidence to get yourself to the gym plus the drive to educate yourself, you’ll probably do fine without. There are endless resources online that can provide workout routines, tips and expert advice. Videos, pictorials and audio clips break down all the nuances that a trainer would explain. On the other hand, if you’re not sure about working out alone or guiding yourself, a trainer can be a great option. They can get you started or work with you long-term. Utilizing a trainer is really a personal choice. I think it’s great to work with one from time-to-time to help boost your workout results and go beyond your usual routine/comfort level. But, if money is tight or you’re just too skeptical, it’s definitely possible to find it within yourself to reach your goals. Often, digging deep and making something happen all on your own can provide the greatest sense of accomplishment!

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