Is a Personal Trainer Right for Me & What to Ask (Part 1)
Working with a personal trainer can have tremendous benefits to reaching your health and fitness goals. What often happens, however, is that the client feels they don’t get what they need and the trainer feels frustration because they couldn’t help them, leaving everyone with a less than happy experience. Before working with a personal trainer, or not, first consider why you should or shouldn’t’ use one, and if you do, what you need to know.
When you should work with a personal trainer
You should work with a personal trainer if you have a specific goal in mind. In that way, the trainer can help set up a program specifically designed to get the results you want. For instance, say you want to run a half-marathon. The trainer can put together an exercise program that includes specific running drills to help improve the efficiency of your running gait, as well as build your cardiovascular endurance, and strength and power through resistance and plyometric exercises. This program would be geared towards getting you in shape and building the endurance and power needed to sustain the run.
If you are looking to lose 20 pounds, then the trainer can build a program designed to increase your cardiovascular function, and strengthen and build muscle mass in order to help you burn fat and carbs at a higher rate. In our customized workout plans, for example, we conduct an assessment and goal list with clients like you so the workouts help you achieve your specific goal AND so they work for where you presently are.
When you shouldn’t work with a trainer
At the risk of sounding rather harsh, avoid working with a personal trainer if you don’t plan on:
- doing what they ask you to do,
- following up with exercising on your own,
- keeping session appointments, or
- arriving on time for session appointments.
At the same time, avoid working with a personal trainer who doesn’t:
- show up for your session appointments,
- show up on time for your session appointments,
- always seems ill-prepared for your sessions, or
- shows more interest in what is happening in the gym or on their phone than with you.
Why spend all that time and money on a personal trainer if you are not committed to take their advice and do what is expected, or if they are not committed to helping you reach your goals? Lastly, a good personal trainer will plan for your session ahead of time and will help you work out a good routine for the days you don’t see her/him.
Can a personal trainer help with nutrition?
While a trainer can make some general nutrition recommendations, they cannot, and should not, design specific diets and meal planning unique to your needs. This type of expertise is done by registered dieticians, which are licensed individuals in every state, have a minimum of a bachelor’s degree in nutrition, have residency/internship requirements and testing, plus continuing education requirements. Therefore, if you are looking for a nutrition program designed specifically for you and your goals, you need to seek the advice of a registered dietician, ideally one that works with what your goals are (i.e., sports performance, weight loss, etc.)
In Part 2, we’ll take a look at the questions to ask before deciding to work with a personal trainer. In this way, you can choose one that best fits your fitness needs and goals. Click here for Part 2.