Do You Need a Personal Trainer?

Jeffrey Heit Health Guide
  • Being the brother-in-law of a personal trainer, I suppose I have to be careful with this one, otherwise he may not speak to me again. In all seriousness though, like so many other things, whether you actually need one, depends. If you're expecting a personal trainer to enter the scene, and carve you into Adonis or Madonna without putting in any work on your own, think again. Not even the great Jack La Lane could do that.


    On the other hand, a personal trainer can be very useful for you if you know what to expect, are realistic about results, and hire one who is certified and  knows what they are doing,. Firstly, be careful. Any knucklehead who lifts weights and exercises can probably pass themselves off as a personal trainer. You want someone who has actually had training in the field and has been certified by one of the agencies responsible for certifying personal trainers such as The American Council on Exercise (ACE), or The Aerobics and Fitness Association of America (AFAA).

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    Next, different trainers have different styles and they may span a spectrum. For instance, everyone has seen the "drill sergeant" type who pretends you're in boot camp and likes to bark orders. Some people find that motivating and effective, while others may find it annoying and disheartening. On the other end, you may find that a soft spoken trainer who inspires without being demonstrative suits you better. Neither is right or wrong. It just depends what you prefer and what style you'd be most comfortable with.


    The way in which you use a personal trainer can vary as well. Novices may want to use a personal trainer to give them a starting point, teach them about exercises and give them a routine to try. It may be a "one and done" type arrangement. Others sometimes become "stuck" or bored with their routines and are seeing diminishing results. Hiring a trainer can help give those folks new ideas for workouts as well as some personal coaching regarding fitness habits, diet, and exercise methods. This is probably the most common use of personal trainers.


    Typically, you may hire one for anywhere between four to twelve sessions and be done with it. Many gyms offer plans where the price per training session goes down with the number of sessions booked. Also, many fitness centers throw in one free personal training session upon enrollment. Take advantage of that! It also may be a good opportunity to audition a trainer at your gym.


    Then, there are those who hire personal trainers to, in addition to all the other benefits, motivate them, have someone to workout with and get into the best possible shape they can. There is nothing wrong with that, but it can get expensive. Trainers charge anywhere from $60 to hundreds of dollars per hour depending on their resumes. Want the guy who trained Hillary Swank for her role in Million Dollar Baby? Good luck! If you can track him or her down, be prepared to spend big bucks. It doesn't have to be that extreme either. Many trainers spend their time training wealthy individuals who don't think twice about dropping a c-note one or maybe more times per week to be trained.


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    In any case, be realistic. If you don't put in the work, you're not going to see results. However, personal trainers can motivate, inspire and make sure that you are doing exercises correctly to achieve maximum results. Whether you use one once or on an ongoing basis, be sure to talk with your primary care provider before embarking on any new workout routine or change in exercise regimen.


Published On: October 10, 2008

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