There is a way to get all of the benefits of having a personal trainer, but not have to dish out so much cash. I am a personal trainer who tells people all the time “Just get a few sessions and drop me.”
I can always drum up new business. The fitness business isn’t just about money. If you don’t want to sign on for a full-on contract with a trainer, use them for a few sessions. I personally enjoy the effort and attention I have to invest with new clients, and I also work best when I’m not trying to sell someone a contract. We do a few sessions, I set you up, and you’re off.
Personal Trainers Give You An Objective Assessment of Your Fitness
There are a multitude of ways to measure fitness. Any trainer should be able to measure your flexibility, cardiovascular endurance, strength, balance, coordination, etc. Some of these tests are really easy, like your 1 mile run time or body weight. Other tests aren’t as objective, such as balance, but you can still do them and build up awareness on it.
Getting a battery of tests done every six months or a year is actually a cool idea. Keep the information stored somewhere and compare it. It would be kind of interesting to see that every year you’ve been declining in strength (or gaining).
You’ll Get Advice Made for You
Advice you find on the internet is for all sorts of audiences. It is not for your specific body or mindset.
For example, if you are a 52-year-old woman looking to put some muscle on because you’re super skinny, the pictures of muscle heads doing deadlifts and back squats may turn you off and not be on the right gradient for you. Maybe you have an old hamstring injury that needs to be worked around.
A good fitness trainer takes all of this into consideration and can give sound advice that is specific to your body, mindset, habits and goals.
Personal Trainers Are a Good Way To Get Started in the Gym
Newton’s First Law of Motion states that a body at rest will remain at rest unless an outside force acts on it.
Some of this is mental. As a fitness trainer, I have tried to get all sorts of people into the gym. I specialized in talking to your everyday Joe who wasn’t really into fitness. The only real thing is a mental/social block on going.
A certain percentage of these individuals would agree to come in if I laid out in detail how I would meet them at the door and walk them through a warmup, show them how to use several machines, supervise them while doing it, then show them stretches and see them on their way. That somehow made it safe for them.
Their ideas of what they were trying to avoid are pretty wild, but this kind of a setup can get new people into the gym and in a space where they feel comfortable.
Trainers Help You Build Familiarity with the Machines and the Space
Each machine can be overwhelming. They weigh a ton and have all sorts of gadgets and adjustments. And who wants to be the dork incorrectly using a machine and then have that awkward sweaty meathead come up and try to tell them how to do it? Meatheads usually turn out to be good, gentle people, but they can be intimidating at first.
But there may be machines that just won’t work for you. Maybe you are a woman with a very big bust. Some seated row machines have a small pad that is supposed to touch your sternum. I’ve had to work with this before and, while it is awkward, I sometimes just have to tell the woman that it would be best to steer away from this machine, but an alternative exercise would be such and such.
If your trainer is good, he can bring up the subject of breast size as an objective fact and not make it weird or start giggling. If you are a woman and don’t want to go there with a male trainer, ask for a female fitness trainer. This is a common request, and you won’t be looked at weird for asking about it.
Personal Trainers Help Teach Gym Etiquette
When I was a young lad and first getting into exercise, I went to check out a YMCA gym and after doing some bent over rows, I put a dumbbell on a vinyl-covered bench. I heard someone say “Hey! Get that weight off of there!” The fitness trainer on duty was very aware of how much it costs to replace the vinyl and people like me were ruining her life.
Needless to say, I didn’t go back.
Some gyms don’t want you to put a dumbbell on the bench. Others will have you use that same bench for step ups. Some gyms (like Planet Fitness) don’t like it when people drop weights. Any CrossFit gym will teach you how to properly drop a barbell with weights when training Olympic weightlifting exercises.
Every gym has their own unwritten etiquette, and a trainer will help introduce you to it.
Setting Realistic Goals with a Personal Trainer
Trainers can help you set goals and work out realistic ways to get them accomplished.
If I had a teenager who wanted to gain 10 pounds while school was out over the summer, I could give him solid guidelines to follow on his diet and point him to an exercise program that he should follow. It would mainly be strength training and would utilize the machines and freeweights available in the gym. I could tell him how many days a week he should work out, test his strength in various categories and then set him to work.
If I had a 50-year-old man who hadn’t worked out in over a decade and his goal was just “To get back into exercise.” I would probably be setting the goals for him. I would test him and then in a month test him again and show him measurable, objective progress. I would get his agreement on setting more goals for himself so that he then takes ownership of where he wants to be with his own body. I’m not in the babysitting business, I’m in the “Let’s put you on your own two feet” business. Some trainers just want steady clients and will say anything to keep you signed on… but I digress.
Your Trainer Will Help You Learn New Things About Yourself
A fitness trainer doesn’t see you the way you see you.
A good fitness trainer will not only help you reach your goals but also address problems you weren’t totally aware of. A good assessment will bring up several issues that you weren’t aware of, but should get handled. It could be poor flexibility in one area of your body, posture issues or imbalances of strength from one side to the other.
One time I saw a guy who thought he was making progress on squats after his knee surgery. He was going down low but the further he went down, the more he slid to one side. I put him in front of a mirror and showed him what was happening. He was only able to go a fraction of the depth before he started favoring the one side. He was disappointed that he thought he had made progress and that I took it away from him so fast. I talked him back to reality and got him excited about stressing his knee in this specific way and he was super thankful when he ended up getting the full range of motion.
I didn’t charge the man anything for this advice.
Just like a good mechanic can hear how a truck starts and diagnose it almost immediately, a good trainer should have powers of observation that are out of this world. Seek these trainers out and work with them.
Hiring a Temp Trainer Saves on Personal Trainer Fees
Some of us aren’t high-class enough to pay a personal fitness trainer to nudge us on the daily to get to the gym. You can buy a few training sessions from a reputable trainer and maximize your time with him/her by having a list of questions to ask and be clear on what you want to walk away with.
Most trainers will give you a free training session. Ask for one-on-one time because sometimes they will throw you in with a few others. The free session will allow you to voice your goals and the trainer will ask questions that you may not have thought of asking yourself. Most of all, the free session will allow you to see if you get along with the individual and how they work with you during that hour.
You’ll Get Written Workouts
I have always been quick to give people exercises they can do while they are out of town. I have also taken on clients for short periods and given them programs because they don’t want or need a trainer every day.
They literally hire me to write down some stuff and include pictures. This is not very common in the industry. In an effort to make themselves needed, fitness trainers don’t usually give away the workouts that they have people do.
If you pay a trainer for just that specific service – providing a written program – whether it is a month’s worth of workouts or just 4 workouts to rotate through, the trainer will most likely oblige. I wouldn’t have any problem doing it and most trainers shouldn’t.
The benefits of hiring a temporary personal fitness trainer:
- Objective assessment of your fitness
- Advice specific to you
- A kickstart to your exercise program
- Familiarity with the machines and the space
- Education on gym etiquette
- Realistic goal setting
- You’ll learn things about yourself that you wouldn’t have learned on your own
- Save on personal trainer fees
- Written workouts to take with you