We used to live in a time where everyone at your gym had their opinion on what workouts you should be doing, and how you should be doing it. These days, we have even more access to info online, influencers, coaches who swear their program is the best, and more. It’s easy to get totally overwhelmed with the experience when you are starting your journey.
Anyone starting their fitness journey, may be a bit confused as to where to start. Should you hire a trainer or should you just follow a program you bought online? The fact of the matter is, getting into fitness isn’t as simple as going to the gym and just hopping on random machines till you feel a burn and call it a workout. Sure, that may be better than doing nothing, however, chances are it is not only going to be inefficient, but it may dissuade you from continuing going to the gym.
Hiring a trainer may be one of the best investments you ever do for yourself. This doesn’t have to be a lifetime commitment, or even something you do multiple times a week (especially if your budget is tight). There are various ways you can go about choosing a fitness trainer.
Plateau’s and Progression
So you started a workout program. What happens when you get stuck? Do you have a method of progression? How can you ensure that this time next year, you’ll have taken the optimal road to be better than the year before? These are all questions you should be asking yourself. A good trainer will be able to help guide you and tackle each one of these questions.
Sure you can start off just adding 5lbs each week. But at SOME point, that can’t continue (otherwise we’d all be benching 1,000lbs). Most people don’t stick with all the great progress they’ve made because they get frustrated once they hit this point. There is a little more nuance to keeping your progression in the gym going once you hit these sticking points. Hiring a good trainer will map out a plan to help you achieve these goals. They can also make sure you are applying the proper intensity (you can’t just max out every session), and choose the optimal frequency for growth for your body.
Remember, every person has individual goals. What you need to accomplish those goals will be different and tailored to you, compared to your friend who may even want the same thing.
Hiring a trainer can be super valuable in terms of technique. You can watch all the videos on how to squat, but nothing beats having a trainer to stand there, assess your form, and make adjustments as you go. The worst thing you can do is not practice good form, and engrain those patterns as you keep adding more and more load. This is how a lot of lifters end up injured and unable to go back to the gym. A trainer’s main focus is to make sure you perform your movements correctly, and safely.
If you’ve been previously injured you no doubt have developed weak areas that aren’t firing, and improper movement patterns. You may already be deep into a program, having added weight and find yourself favoring one side over the other. Hiring a trainer doesn’t have to just be for muscle growth. I’ve had clients who hired me solely to help them overcome injuries and practice mobility drills to correct years of weakness and lack of mobility.
Some people don’t want to deal with the headache of building a program, factoring in all the above variables, and motivating themselves to come in 2-5 times a week. A trainer is the best accountability partner you can have. Do you find you need someone else to hold you accountable or be there to motivate you to get to the gym and do the work? I’ve had clients that admitted they’d never make the time if it weren’t for investing in a trainer.
The biggest rebuttal I hear from potential clients is the cost. I get it. It can be very expensive to hire a trainer (which can range from $50-$120 an hour). Figure out what your needs are based on the criteria above, and what you can afford. You don’t have to see them every single time you are in the gym but be very realistic about your needs in the beginning. You might want to start with them 2-3 days a week to help get the ball rolling, then find you can lower down to 1-2 days once you have shown consistency and keep at it on your own. Maybe you already go to the gym, and just like to use them a couple times a month to check in with your programming, or any technique issues you may have. Find what works best for you.
If you are still curious about the process of hiring a trainer be sure to read my article on the 5 Characteristics of a Quality Personal Trainer.