So you’ve decided to start working out! I highly recommend getting a personal trainer, even for a few sessions. Why? Read below!
Petite Version of this Post
As much as I love my group fitness classes, I think it is important to invest in personal training, at least in the beginning when you are new to strength training and conditioning. I choose to spend my money on good health in the present day, rather than spend it on potentially preventable medical bills in the future.*
Never in a million years did I think I would fork over cash on personal training. My initial thoughts were “You want me to spend more than my hourly income for just ONE session with you?” That is just crazy talk.
I eventually gave in upon realizing personal training is an investment in myself and the returns would far exceed the amount it cost me.
Below are few reasons why I believe it is a good idea to fork over the cash for a personal trainer.
A personal trainer can:
1) Help You Identify Goals, and perhaps the roadblocks that prevent you from achieving these goals
- Typically, during the first session (sometimes complimentary), your prospective personal trainer will ask what you want out of these one-on-one sessions. Perhaps, they will even break down your goal into smaller, more achievable milestones. Yes, we all want to be skinny because that is what society has deemed acceptable, but in reality, we should aim for good health. Whatever the goal may be, your trainer can help identify smaller milestones along the way.
- There’s a reason why it’s called personal training, and sometimes, the relationship that develops between a trainer and client can be very rewarding on both ends. Amanda Coronado, up-and-coming Tier 2 Personal Trainer at Equinox in San Francisco, has quite a few clients who seek her help as they had trouble achieving goals they’ve had for a while. She loves witnessing her clients find that “Aha!” moment when they defy doubt in themselves. I, too, have developed friendships with my past personal trainers and joked that a session with them and the workout is a deal compared to a session with a therapist alone!
2) Hold you Accountable
- I’ve had a handful of trainers in the past. Almost always, they check up on how I’m keeping up with my workout routine and nutrition. My advice is to be honest. They totally know when you’re lying about either your food intake or your daily exercise. If you train at a gym, your trainer probably knows how often you work out at that facility. If they follow you on social media, they know when you go out for drinks or eat at In & Out, which is my favorite cheat meal. And trust me, they will bring up the areas that need work and here is why. As much of an investment you’re making in personal training, THEY are also investing in you. It is not their desire to waste time on clients who are not willing to do their fair share of the work. If members of the gym do not see results from your sessions, they might question the benefits of personal training. And when I say results, I don’t mean just the results you can physically see on your body, but I also mean results in terms of building strength and agility and becoming a better athlete.
- Also, please realize that your trainer doesn’t stop working on you after your session is over. Quite often, Amanda checks on her clients. She loves it when her clients proactively check-in with her so it makes her job easier. On the other hand, when clients stop checking in, most personal trainers know something is off. You are adults and you will eat what you want and exercise when you want. For me, nutrition was the hardest thing, so my trainers would check up on my eating habits often. Note that personal trainers aren’t necessarily the same as a dietitian. They can guide you towards the right path of eating healthy and clean, but keep in mind that everyone’s body is different and responds to food intake differently as well. Not fair, I know.
3) Establish a routine
- Given how much you invest in personal training, you will avoid missing a session with your trainer. I admire the clients who train first thing at 5am when the gym opens. That is dedication. Depending on how often you meet with your trainer, s/he might be nice enough to provide a program / workout routine for you to do during the week. This may or may not be the case, but I was either lucky or babied because I asked for it. At the time, I loved Zumba and other dance classes, but when it came to lifting weights, I would play with only the machines and exercises I was most comfortable with. My favorite trainers created a program around my group fitness class schedule to keep me on track.
- For best results, personal trainers do like to meet with their clients a few times a week. But I could never afford this at the time. I met with my former trainers once a week, and I was fortunate in that my most recent trainer, Tim Chau, gave me a workout or two to throw in during the week in between our sessions and my group classes. Tim even provided me a few body weight workouts to do on the beach while I was on vacation in Jamaica! Tim now owns his own studio, Training For Warriors Pacifica, which is where my featured photos in the post were taken.
- (For anyone at Barry’s Bootcamp who wonders why I can sprint so fast, it’s because Tim taught me the mechanics of running and sprinting a long time ago, but I never got to apply those lessons towards long runs until I found Barry’s! “Chin, Back Pocket; Chin, Back Pocket” is what Tim would always tell me)
4) Provide motivation
- Investing in a personal trainer might just be the extra nudge you need to start a fit lifestyle. I advise you to pick a trainer who you will spark that fire within you. They are your biggest cheerleader and WANT you to succeed. Again, you and your progress indirectly represent their brand.
- The trainers I trust most make a personal connection with me and figure out what really makes me tick. As previously mentioned, it’s called personal training for a reason and I used to joke they were cheaper than a psychologist.
- Of course, the stereotypical trainer is “hot”. But if your attraction to them will be a distraction, perhaps steer clear of the hottest trainer around. (No offense, you hot trainers out there. Too many of you to keep track of, I swear.) As a client, you want results. You do not want to be paying for a “date”.
5) Personalize your workouts
- Not only do we have our own strengths and weaknesses, but we are our worst critic. Although you might want to work on a specific area through personal training, your trainer will cater your program to ensure a balanced workout.
- My favorite trainer, Tim, knew how to marry the types of exercises I like with those that target the body parts I neglect the most.
- Sometimes, Amanda will create a 6-week program for her clients, specifically based on their goals with injuries and other limitations in mind. This should not be taken for granted, people! I was grateful when my trainer gave me homework because I have a normal desk job, which requires me to think all day. The last thing I want to do is to think about what exercises or weights to lift after work. (And this is why I like taking group classes.) I just want to be told what to do and when.
6) Build Form; Correct and Prevent Bad Habits – MOST IMPORTANT REASON
- The point of this post was to ultimately land here. I highly encourage working with a personal trainer to set a strong foundation of good form from the start. Yes, of course, they will make you aware of your bad habits and try to correct. Your priority might be to get fit and sexy. But their priority is for you to reach your goals in a safe manner. They do not want you to hurt yourself. A good foundation in weight lifting is very important to have, especially when taking group fitness classes. The group fitness instructor can’t guarantee form correction with everyone, especially in big classes, although I know most instructors do try.
- I myself have had a handful of personal trainers. When you invest in one, hopefully, you will meet with them often enough that you familiarize yourself with your own body, your limits, and your strengths. Knowing your physical capabilities and limitations is critical in taking group fitness classes. Some days, you will feel like a super hero, while other days, you will need to force yourself to take it down by a few notches. Sometimes, my lower back is sensitive during ab work on my back. So I a strategically choose weights that are light enough to not hurt my back, but heavy enough to give me a good challenge. The other day, my barre teacher asked me if I was sore because my plié’s were not as graceful as normal. It’s just hard to do anything after leg day LOL
And one last note: Please disclose any and all injuries with your trainer as s/he can tailor the workout to prevent pain or rehabilitate certain joints and muscles. (For example, I grew up with bad knees. They still occasionally hurt. I actually quit gymnastics after a few months because my right knee cap “popped” during a back walkover and I fell and hurt myself. I grew up dancing, and was always susceptible to my knee popping due to “chondromalacia patella“. Had I known my body better, I would have been advised to do exercises than strengthened my inner thigh, so that the muscles in my quadriceps were all of equal strength. Thank goodness I take Pilates and barre now!)
I hope you find this article. If you’re new to the fit lifestyle, I know paying for personal training sessions sounds crazy, especially when the price per session can cost anywhere between $60-$120 (or more!). But the investment in you is worth it. Again, I would rather pay for personal training (or group fitness classes galore) NOW, rather than ridiculously expensive medical bills in the future. In my family, I know genetics can play a big factor in health issues in the future. However, I also know that my family members never grew up living as healthy of a lifestyle as me. Overall, I am thankful for good health and hope it helps me combat with potential ailments in the future.
A a few of you might wonder if I still meet with a personal trainer. The answer is no, though I should in order to target areas I want to work on. I am in love with the world of group fitness and I realize my drive comes from friendly competition with my classmates, as well as (safely) outdoing my personal best. Do I think spending all that money on personal training was a waste? No, not at all. But My money was definitely best spent on my most recent trainer, Tim who is featured in these photos.
Finding a good personal trainer is like finding your hair stylist. You follow them so long as you need their services, assuming it is still convenient for you.
Hope you found this helpful!
In good health,