Do You Really Need a Personal Trainer?
When you think of personal trainers, you probably think of Celebrity Fit Club, the ultra-rich and competitive athletes.
But personal trainers have gone mainstream, and they are more accessible than ever before to the masses.
Getting individualized fitness advice, training and diet and nutrition information from a trainer doesn’t mean you have to be Jessica Simpson or A-Rod. Housewives, fitness-conscious Baby Boomers, Type-A business people, and even overweight children are increasingly turning to personal trainers to whip them into shape.
But do you really need a personal fitness trainer? And are the benefits worth the price?
Fitness Trainers: Luxury or Necessity?
The U.S. Department of Labor estimates that in 2006 there were nearly 250,000 personal fitness trainers employed in the U.S. In the next ten years, that’s expected to grow nearly 25 percent.
Yet despite their growing popularity, hiring a personal fitness trainer isn’t for everyone.
Although some gyms and health clubs provide free personal fitness training services, most personal trainers come with a price tag. Depending on your location, that could run you anywhere from $30 – $70 a session — and sometimes even more in certain fitness clubs and locations.
So is it worth it? Is a trainer really necessary?
The answer is that “it depends.”
Personal Trainers: Great for Beginners
If you are just starting a workout routine, a couple of sessions with a personal trainer can reap big rewards over the long haul.
A good trainer will spend time with you taking a close look at your current fitness levels and will perform a thorough evaluation of your diet, nutrition and activity levels. They will also look at any pre-existing medical conditions and injuries, and your personal fitness goals. From all of this information, they’ll create a custom workout and diet plan that will help you achieve those goals.
Even more important, hitting the gym for the first time can be an intimidating experience.
An effective personal trainer will also spend time familiarizing you with the equipment in the gym and matching you up with the right exercises for your experience level and fitness goals. They can also help demonstrate the right form to use when performing exercises, which will increase your chances of success, while reducing your chance of injury.
But I Already Know What to Do In The Gym. How Can A Personal Trainer Help Me?
Even if you have plenty of experience in the gym, a personal trainer can still come in handy — especially when you find your progress stalling. Even the most seasoned fitness buffs can get in a rut, and sometimes having a pair of fresh eyes on your workout regimen can be the difference between a short-term setback and a more lengthy plateau.
There are trainers that specialize in certain areas, such as strength or weight training, rehabilitation, sports- or recreation-specific training, or bodybuilding, who can provide valuable outside perspective and expertise. Sometimes all it takes to jump-start a stale workout routine is a little kick in the ass. Having that voice over your shoulder is often all it takes.
Personal Fitness Training for Special Needs
The personal training field is no longer just populated by generalists. There are a number of highly-qualified, highly-trained professionals who specialize in fields like rehabilitative exercise, sports training and conditioning and even fitness training for the obese.
For example, if you are looking to bring your golf game up, there are sports conditioning trainers who can develop personalized training plans to improve your swing, strength and performance when you are on the green.
If you are recovering from an injury, there are trainers who specialize in rehabilitative training and can help you regain strength and mobility. If you are struggling with your weight, there are trainers who do nothing but work with overweight individuals to help them gradually (and sanely) reduce body fat.
The key here is to find a personal trainer that meets your individual needs.
Do I Have to Have A Personal Trainer to Be Successful?
Having a personal trainer will not guarantee success. They can only create a roadmap for you and help you stay focused on your goals. The rest is really up to you.
Depending on your motivation levels, knowledge and desire to learn more about fitness, you may never need to use a personal trainer. There are plenty of highly-fit people who never employ personal trainers and achieve very impressive results. On the other hand, there are individuals who use trainers regularly who still find themselves slacking off at home on their diet, and are disappointed with their results.
At the end of the day, it really comes down to the effort and dedication that you put in, regardless of who is training you.
Some people are highly self-motivated, while others need a little day-to-day, guidance. If you fall into the self-motivated camp, you’ll likely find that using a personal trainer only gives you marginal gains over your usual workout regimen. On the other hand, if you are finding it difficult to keep your focus up and stay positive, a personal trainer can be just the ticket.