A personal fitness trainer is certified to have a certain degree of knowledge in general fitness and in the prescription of exercise instruction. Their main purpose is to help clients achieve their fitness goals by setting achievable goals, providing feedback, and ensuring that exercises are carried out in a safe and effective manner.
Poor execution and lack of experience are two of the most common catalyst for injury when exercising. A knowledgeable personal trainer can help you improve your exercise skills and execution in order to reduce the risk of injury and to achieve the maximum benefits from your exercise routine.
A fitness professional is extremely important for fitness success as they are qualified to provide you with the professional instruction and motivation you need to achieve proper exercise methods and progressions that suit your personal fitness levels and goals. They can also help you find ways to make healthy exercise and lifestyle decisions and overcome obstacles that may prevent you from exercising effectively.
In general, people include a session with a trainer into their exercise schedule anything from once a week to several times per week, depending on their experience, fitness level, and how much they can afford. You may have to start off with more sessions per week until you have progressed and then taper off until your goals have been achieved.
Some individuals prefer to see a personal trainer regularly while others use their services for a period of time until they feel confident enough to continue on their own. Training sessions usually last anything from 30 minutes to an hour.
What to Look for in a Personal Trainer
Most gyms offer the services of a personal trainer as an additional service when joining a gym. The cost will vary depending on the area where you live, the quality of the gym, and the experience and level of education of the trainer. When hiring a personal trainer, these are the qualities and credentials to look for:
- Certification and Qualification
A fitness professional should have certification from a reputable organization such as ACE, ACSM, YMCA, NSCA, or IDEA as well as updated certification in CPR and/or First Aid.
- Insurance and Policies
The trainer you choose should also provide you with proof of liability insurance and a copy of procedures and policies for costs, services, refunds, and cancellations.
When choosing a trainer to make sure that he/she has the appropriate experience and is knowledgeable in the area related to your personal needs and requirements such as bodybuilding or weight loss for example.
- Special Requirements
If you have special requirements such as a specific medical condition, an injury, heart problems, diabetes, pregnancy, or any other issue that needs special attention, be sure to discuss this with the trainer and if necessary arrange for him/her to communicate with your doctor.
- Essential Characteristics
A trainer will be a good listener and pay close attention to what you need and understand what your particular goals are. During a training session, a good trainer will be totally focused on you, your progress, and how to help you improve your techniques. Your progress should be tracked and your exercises changed accordingly.
What Does a Personal Training Session Consist Of?
A typical personal training session usually lasts about an hour. First, a meeting is called to assess your fitness level, record your health history, take your body measurements, and establish your personal fitness goals. You will be weighed and your body/fat ratio will be measured and you will be asked specific questions about your diet, your lifestyle, and what you would like to achieve from your training sessions. Your trainer will provide you with a personal workout routine based on the information you have provided.
At each training session, you will work on warm-up and warm-down exercises, cardio exercises, flexibility exercises, weight training, and various other exercises included in your workout schedule. Your fitness trainer will be on hand to show you the correct way to do each exercise properly, figure out how much weight you can handle, check that you have the right body posture while exercising, help you build your core strength, and give you pointers on how to get the most out of every exercise you attempt. Your workouts will be modified as your techniques improve and you progress to higher levels of fitness.
Reasons for Using a Personal Trainer
When you have just started out on a fitness program and you want to get the best results from your exercise routine, the help of a trainer can be invaluable. Knowing how you can benefit from personal instruction and whether it will be worth the expense can help you determine whether this is a good choice for you.
There are a number of reasons why people choose to work with trainers. Some individuals need to be held accountable for their workouts while others need an individualized program for a specific goal such as losing weight, getting in shape, or gaining muscle strength. Wherever you find yourself on your personal exercise journey, there is a personal trainer to help you get the maximum benefit out of your exercises and achieve your ultimate fitness goals in the shortest period of time.
Here are some reasons why you may need the help of a personal fitness trainer:
- You are not Seeing the Results you Desire
If you have been exercising consistently for weeks or even months without seeing any measurable results, hiring a trainer may be a good choice. This is what a trainer can do to help you get out of a rut:
- Assess your current program and find ways to tweak or change your exercises to make them more effective and efficient.
- Push you a little harder where you may have slacked off when exercising by yourself. Having someone there to challenge you may make all the difference.
- Examine your goals to see if they are realistic and achievable.
- Hold you accountable by watching what you are doing and tracking your progress.
- Keep you motivated to make exercise a priority in your life.
- Educate you in the correct way to perform your exercises, lift weights, and balance different exercises for the best results. For example, many people focus entirely on cardio exercises to lose weight when strength training and core strength training are just as important.
- Identify why you are not getting the results you expect by observing what you are doing wrong.
- Not Knowing Where to Start
People who are new to exercise quickly realize how complex it is to set up an exercise schedule. Often they feel overwhelmed and end up doing nothing or giving up. Trainers know all the elements involved in putting together a complete training program and how to fit those elements into an exercise schedule specifically designed for the individual needs of each client. If you have no idea where to start, a trainer can help you:
- Figure out the right activities that will work best for your body and how to use the available equipment to your best advantage.
- Guide you in exactly where to start and how much exercise you will be able to handle at first.
- Help you figure out how hard to work during each session according to the F.I.T.T. system of choosing the right Frequency, Intensity, Time, and Type of workout and how to manipulate these elements over time.
- Help you to monitor your exercise intensity.
- In weight training show you how to choose the right weights, exercise equipment, sets, and reps.
- How to make use of fitness tools such as an activity tracker or heart rate monitor to enhance your workouts.
- Help you design a schedule that will fit in with your calendar.
- Help maximize your time and keep within your limits to avoid overdoing it.
- You are Bored with Doing the Same Old Workouts
You may have hit a rut doing the same workout routine over and over, especially if you are an experienced exerciser, and need some variety. Not only can this be boring, but it can also lead to burn-out, overuse injuries, and weight loss plateaus. In these situations a trainer can:
- Bring fresh perspective to a workout routine by looking at it with an objective eye and finding exercises that are more interesting and fun to do.
- Provide suggestions for new types of workouts such as high-intensity interval training (Tabata Training), circuit training, a different method of strength training like pyramid training or supersets.
- Help you discover new ways to use gym equipment and introduce you to the latest fitness tools like a water-filled Kamagon Ball that will present your body with a different kind of challenge.
- Push you to set more challenging goals.
- Hold you accountable for pushing yourself to a new height of achievement.
- Find new ideas to challenge both your body and your mind.
- You Need Motivation and Accountability
Motivation can come from all kinds of things, internally and externally. Your personal reason for exercising may be an intrinsic need to lose weight, get healthier or to have a strong, toned body. Extrinsic motivators for exercising may include a desire to look good in a bathing suit, lose weight for a high school reunion, take part in a bodybuilding completion, or train for a marathon. By hiring a personal trainer you can create motivation in the following ways:
- Financially by investing money into hiring a trainer to help you reach your goals. Showing up for training sessions so that you get value for your money may be enough motivation to keep you going.
- Investing your time may motivate you to continue as we all value our time as a precious resource to be protected.
- Reliability of having standing appointments for regular workouts and a reluctance to disappoint your trainer and yourself can provide the motivation to show up.
- Accountability to a trainer for your progress can motivate you to try harder and avoid skipping workouts.
- You have a Specific Medical Condition, Illness, or Injury
If you have a medical condition or injury or you are ill, your exercise program will have to be carefully coordinated between your trainer and your attending physician. If your doctor has recommended exercise to help with the treatment you are receiving you will have to inform your personal trainer about it and provide him/her with all the details related to your condition and any medication you are taking. If you are in pain or have an injury a trainer can guide you in working around your problems.
Personal trainers are educated in working with all kinds of problems and some of them specialize in working with clients who have special needs. Some ways in which a trainer can help you safely exercise if you have special needs are:
- Exercises for those suffering from arthritis
- Exercises for those with heart disease
- Exercises for diabetics
- Exercises for chronic injuries or old injuries
- Exercises to help overcome back or neck pain
- Helping to increase your core strength, balance, and stability after a fall or an injury.
- Creating a program that avoids re-injury while working on areas that need exercising.
- Formulating an exercise program to assist you when trying to become pregnant.
Some things to take into consideration before doing exercise when you have special needs are:
- Always consult your doctor and get clearance for any exercise routine.
- Your trainer will need all the information regarding your condition before agreeing to train you.
- If you have a physical therapist your trainer may want to contact him/her to find out which exercises you can and should not do.
- Make sure that the trainer you choose has had experience with your type of condition in the past and request any certifications or training he/she may have to be equipped in handling your condition safely and competently.
- You need to Train for a Sports Event
If you are training for a specific sports event a personal trainer experienced in sports training can provide you with the professional help and assistance you need. Whether you are a runner, golfer or cyclist, there is a trainer with specific education in sports conditioning out there who can help you improve your performance and help you get ready for an event. Some of the things a sports conditioning trainer can do for you when preparing for an event are:
- Formulate a program with the right workouts to strengthen the specific areas you need to work on for your particular sport, for example, golf or cycling.
- Avoid injury before an event from over-exercising.
- Training is more than just coming up with the right workouts – it is also about getting the most out of your body while allowing your body enough time for recovery and healing.
- Avoid injury from repetitive movements that are often the major cause of sports injuries. A sports conditioning trainer knows how to use cross-training to work on specific muscles in the body while allowing other muscles to rest or work in a different way.
- You Enjoy the Company and Support During Workouts
Some people like having a trainer around, not only for supervision but for support and company, even though they already know how to do their exercises correctly. In this instance a trainer can be good for:
- Bouncing ideas off on how to achieve even better results than you are already experiencing.
- Acting as an objective spotter for example when lifting heavy weights.
- Help keep you safe while lifting and rack your weights for you.
- Just knowing that a trainer is watching will make you work harder and better.
- You won’t be tempted to slack off as you would do when you are on your own.
- Motivating you to show up and perform when you find it hard to exercise on your own. Having someone waiting for you is a powerful incentive for forcing you to keep going.
- Fulfilling the role of a workout buddy. You may like the idea of someone telling you what to do and guide you through your workouts, but also someone who will do the exercises with you so that you feel that you are achieving something together.
- You Would Like to Work Out at Home
If you prefer to work out at home but you are not sure how to go about it in the right way or you have limited equipment, an in-home fitness trainer will be of enormous benefit to you. Some of the benefits you may be offered by an in-home trainer in your area include:
- The convenience of getting straight into your exercise routine without having to go to a gym.
- Having your trainer come to your home at a time that suits you best.
- Having the privacy of working out at home without people watching you. You may be more comfortable working in your own space if you feel self-conscious or are shy.
- Learning how to work out at home with the equipment you have available.
- Getting advice on acquiring special equipment for home use that may be appropriate for your particular fitness goals such as resistance bands, exercise balls, and dumbbells.
- How to incorporate furniture and other things like a couch, a staircase, or a chair in your home exercise routine.
- Providing you with variety in your exercise routine to prevent you from getting bored.
- Some home fitness trainers may even bring along some of their own equipment to use during training sessions.
- You Want to Learn the Right Way to Exercise on Your Own
Hiring a trainer for a few sessions can be of great benefit if you want to learn how to exercise the right way and be confident to do it on your own. This is particularly of value if you are new to strength training for example and you would like to practice your exercises in the correct way.
A trainer is ideal for this type of training and can assist you in the following ways:
- Teach you how the muscles in your body work and where they are located.
- Show you the type of exercises that will target specific muscles. This is particularly important if you are working out on your own at home.
-Teaching you a variety of exercises so that you will be able to create new workout routines when you are ready for a change.
- Teach you the correct weight lifting techniques, how to lift weights correctly to avoid injury, how to choose the right weights for a particular exercise, and how many sets and reps should be done during each workout.
- Teach good form to get the most out of your workouts. To avoid injury and get the maximum benefit out of each exercise you need to do them in a certain way. A trainer will give you cues on how to get your body in the correct position before carrying out a lifting move.
When embarking on a fitness regime you will be investing a lot of time and money and it makes sense to use every available resource to ensure that you achieve the results you desire. By hiring a trainer from the start you will ensure that you have the best chance of achieving your fitness goals faster and more effectively.
Even when you have achieved your fitness goals and have stopped using a personal trainer, your fitness trainer will always be an available source that you can turn to at any time for additional assistance. Most trainers don’t mind being contacted for advice from time to time and if you feel you need more help or you tackle a new exercise, you can always go back to hiring your trusted trainer again.
With all the reasons that exist for hiring a personal trainer, it is no wonder that most people who take exercise seriously prefer to work out with a personal fitness trainer.