The short answer is, if you’re the type of person who needs accountability, then yes (assuming the trainer knows what they are doing).
There seems to be two types of people when it comes to following a plan. Let’s call it Personality Type A and Personality Type B.
Personality Type A
Type A is someone who doesn’t want to be micromanaged. They just want to be given the tools and general guidelines, and then they are off to the races. Weekly check-in’s work well for them just to make sure they aren’t veering off course. These are also usually self starters in other aspects of their life. They love the challenge of figuring out all pieces to the puzzle.
Personality Type B
Type B is a person who likes direction. They need to be told what to do or they won’t do it. Now, don’t confuse that with laziness. Some people just have the preference of having someone coach them through a process. I know for myself for example, when it comes to dieting and nutrition, I have enough experience I can do it all on my own. Sometimes though, I’d rather someone else take the extra stress and worry about manipulating my calories week to week, and adjusting my program every mesocycle.
You really just have to understand which type you fall into and play into your strengths and weaknesses. I noticed this a lot with my clients. I had some clients who could not stick to my programs unless I literally wrote down every gram of food they had to eat and which foods EXACTLY to eat. They didn’t trust themselves and needed to be directed.
Success really comes down not to accomplishing any one big goal. It’s doing a series of small things over and over again until it builds up to your desired outcome. Again, don’t think of either type as good or bad; it’s just preference.
Also keep in mind, you don’t have to be with a trainer forever. For most people starting out I always tell them to start with a trainer just to learn proper form, and gym etiquette. Once you feel you’ve hit your goals and/or learned what you wanted, now slowly branch off. Maybe only see them 1 time a week just to check in, and see if you can now do it on your own. Some people just need the initial learning curve to get the ball rolling.
Having a Trainer for Your Weaknesses
Where a trainer (in my opinion) is the most useful, is accountability. I used to tell this to all my clients. You aren’t paying me to count your reps. You’re either using the investment of a lot of money, time, or social accountability (aka telling me your goals) to make sure you stay on track. All are good options. I suggest playing INTO your weakness.
Money - For some people, they HATE parting with their money. In psychology it’s called loss aversion. We’d rather not lose something we have over getting something we don’t. If you are this person (whether you want to admit it or not) you know if you dropped a couple hundred to a thousand on seeing a trainer 2-3 times a week, you’re going to make damn sure you show up. The idea of throwing that hard earned money away is unacceptable and even on those days you’re so tired and don’t want to show up, you will, because of the potential loss.
Time - The same concept applies to time. For some people time IS money. It holds the same currency if not more. This is good to play into if you are all about efficiency. You could ABSOLUTELY hit your weight loss goals on your own using a MAPS program and basic dietary principles. BUT, you could also say to yourself “damn it, I got 12 weeks, and I want to get it DONE the most optimal way I can. I don’t want to waste 2 weeks researching information. That’s the trainers job.” If that’s you, time is a good tool for hiring a trainer to hit your goals.
Social Accountability - For those of you that are a man/woman of your word, this method is for you. By hiring a personal trainer, and telling them your exact goals, you’ve now put it out there to someone that you want to get something done. This is another psychology term called cognitive dissonance. Our brains don’t like the idea of having to justify a behavior that sits opposite to what we believe in. For example, if I tell you I’m going to go to the gym 3 times a week for a month, the idea of having to admit at the end of the month to all my friends that I didn’t follow my OWN promise is too much to bear. I’d rather show up (no excuses) and get it done to prove to you I keep my promises.
These are just general ideas, and tips I thought would be helpful. I know there’s tons of you reading this with all different personality types. Some of these concepts will resonate hard with you, while other methods might not so much. Either way, having a trainer is not a MUST. As I said before, you can absolutely lose weight, having never had a trainer. However, that involves putting in the extra time to find reputable sources to educate yourself on proper diet, and workout technique. If that’s too much extra time you don’t want to use up, that’s okay. Hire a trainer, and they will make sure everything is on point.