Pros and Cons of a Personal Trainer
Have You Ever Thought About Hiring A Personal Trainer?
I have a new man in my life. He’s tall, dark and handsome and we meet twice a week. During our time together, he tells me what to do, when to do it, how to do it and how many to do. He makes me sweat and grunt and pushes me to my limits. This may not sound like the ideal male/female relationship, but it’s just what I need because my personal fitness trainer, Dustin Ponder, is pretty darn amazing. (And yes, he’s patient, supportive and encouraging and I trust him unconditionally.)
For me, running is a priority along with eating and breathing. But I’m not toned, flexible or strong (Dustin will gladly second that) and I knew that I had to incorporate strength training into my regimen. I finally stopped procrastinating and purchased 16 personal training sessions with my very own Bob Harper.
As a result of my I-swear-I’m-gonna’-stick-to-it resolution, I went directly to the experts – personal trainers themselves – to pinpoint the why’s, what’s and how’s of hiring one.
WHY YOU SHOULD DO IT (…OR AT LEAST CONSIDER IT)…
“There is so much health and fitness information and most people don’t know where to start. Trainers educate you on your terms. It’s like hiring a lawyer; you wouldn’t take on the legal system by yourself, so why do it with something as important as your health?” ~ Kevin Asuncion (NASM certified trainer & Co-Founder of Los Angeles based Movemo Fitness, www.movemofitness.com)
“PT’s make it their obligation and duty to get to know you and your body – your weaknesses and strengths, capabilities and inadequacies. They are your counselor, friend, stress reliever and motivator. They are there when you feel the lowest and stay with you as you grow or when you fall.” ~ Angela Bredenkamp (B.S. Sport Science; Personal Trainer; Owner and Founder of FunctionalFitnessTrainers.com)
“Trainers provide accountability, responsibility and expertise. I devise a safe & effective routines to help my clients achieve their goals in one-tenth of the time. I oversee the big picture structure: recalling the exercises and in what order they are most optimally completed, what their weights are, etc. By hiring a trainer, clients have a set of eyes watching them, a mind thinking about them and a heart caring about them.” ~ Laura Dow (ACSM Certified Personal Trainer, Yoga Instructor and Nutrition Educator and Wellness Coach)
“Everybody is different. A diet or fitness regimen that works for me may not work for you and vice versa. Personalized plans are based on your schedule, likes & dislikes and confidence level. It may take a little longer to see results, but they’re life-long. No diet or workout gimmick can give you that.” ~ Kathi Casey, ERYT, CPI (Founder, The Healthy Boomer Body Center, www.HealthyBoomerBody.com)
“A trainer learns how your body reacts to certain movements and correct imbalances, tracks your eating habits, notices your feelings & mood changes, and finds the correlation between them. A workout partner can get you up in the morning to work out, but a trainer teaches you how your body works and the best way to use it!” ~ Alexandria Serra, NASM-CPT, ACE-CPT, ACE-LWMC (B.S. Kinesiology; President, Recharge Fitness; Level 1 Kettlebell Instructor)
WHAT YOU SHOULD LOOK FOR…
“Good trainers are responsible, attentive and safe. They don’t text/talk on their phone or engage in lengthy conversations with other gym members while they are training you. They are dependable and only cancel or reschedule when there are emergencies.” ~ Robin Castro, LMSW, CPFT, GFI (Transformation Strategist; Owner of Robin’s Body Shop – a fitness and nutrition company in Macon, GA)
“A good trainer will give you homework to do on the other days of the week so you stay on-track. Track your progress and write down every workout; they will be valuable in the months/years ahead when you move on from training or if you’re stuck in a rut.” ~ Jenny Skoog (NASM certified personal trainer, pre/post-natal coach; www.Skoogfit.com)
“An important factor is philosophy and program design. A bad trainer will often scribble something before the workout, or just make it up as they go. They must conduct an assessment when you first start. Everyone has issues/concerns that need to be identified and addressed in order to progress safely. If they are trying to get everyone to do the same exercise, that’s another warning sign.” – Brendan Hayden (CSCS Co-Owner & Dir. Coastal Performance in Palm Beach Gardens, FL, www.coastal-performance.com)
“Not all trainers are created equal. Sometimes the older trainers are more experienced, but not up on the new research. Younger trainers may be up on the new research, but don’t have enough experience. And just because someone is in excellent shape, does not make them a good trainer!” ~ Kim-Lien Kendall (Movement Educator, www.movementeducator.com and Yoga Instructor, www.kimlienyoga.com)
“Don’t settle for the first one you find or someone who offers you a good deal. Research their qualifications and talk to their clients to determine whether they were happy with the results.” ~ Andrew Neitzke (ACE Certified Personal Trainer at Thorbecke’s Gym in Tempe, AZ, www.thorpowergold.com)
“People call themselves trainers although they have not been certified, don’t have liability insurance, and/or aren’t CPR certified. The consumer really needs to be aware of these factors because it shows how serious the trainer is about what they do.” – Wendy Stewart (ACE-certified personal trainer; www.baltimorefitnessandweightloss.com)
ALTERNATIVES TO PERSONAL TRAINING…
If personal training sessions are way out of your budget, you can always try: boot camps, gym classes that incorporate weights, small group sessions (2-6 people) or ½ hour (versus hour-long) sessions. Or…
“Try negotiating a barter deal that benefits both of you. Many trainers who start out offer free sessions or another service in return. I have bartered office space, marketing services, and referrals with a few of my clients, as these are extremely valuable to my business.” ~ Kevin Asuncion
“Many gyms provide a first-time training discount or a few free sessions to get you started with your goals. Take advantage of those freebies and make the most of them. Build a relationship a trainer that may offer free tips and advice that will help you stay on track until you’re ready to hire them.” ~ Jenny Skoog
“The new wave of personal training is virtual wellness coaching. Our clients receive a monthly personalized program, grocery shopping lists, recipes, three weekly check-ins and an optional Skype session. Workouts are tailored to the client, with video links and audio instructions and costs one-tenth of traditional personal training.” ~ Alexandria Serra
IN SUMMARY… “Hiring someone to train you should be fun, challenging, and keep you intrinsically motivated to get in shape and stay in shape.” ~ Andrew Neitzke