Posted on Feb 6, 2022

People work with personal trainers for many reasons. Whether you want to develop an individualized program to support weight loss goals, get in shape, or simply feel that you'd benefit from the additional accountability, a personal trainer can be a great resource.

But sometimes people are cautious about investing in a trainer. Cost can be an issue. A personal trainer usually charges by the hour and the service can be pricey. Others might feel intimidated by working with a pro. But there's no reason to be concerned. Certified fitness professionals are trained to work with clients of all backgrounds and fitness levels. And many can work out package deals to make the service more affordable.

If you are just starting out with an exercise program or you aren't seeing results with your current routine, a personal trainer might be your best option. Here are 10 reasons why you might want to think about hiring a personal trainer.

You're Not Seeing Results

If you've been exercising consistently for several weeks or months and aren't losing weight or reaching your goals, there are a few ways a trainer might be able to help:

  • Evaluate your current program: By looking at what you're already doing, a trainer can look for ways to change or tweak your workouts to make them more efficient and effective.
  • Examine your goals: A trainer can help you figure out if your goals are realistic.
  • Help you stay motivated: Knowing you have an appointment with a pro can help you maintain motivation to exercise during the week.
  • Push you a little harder: People often don't see results because they're not working as hard as they could. It's easy to slack off when you're by yourself, but having someone to challenge you (and cheer you on) can make a difference.
  • Hold you accountable: A trainer can help you set weekly goals, then check in on a regular basis to see how you're doing.
  • Teach you: Whether you want to learn how to lift weights properly or learn a new exercise to add to your routine, a trainer is a wealth of knowledge. You might think you need to focus on cardio to lose weight, but you need strength training and core training, too.

You may find that you are getting results—just not in the way you expected. A trainer can see your situation more clearly from the outside and can offer you a new perspective.

You might decide that you only need a few sessions with a trainer to hone your skills or get inspired. Once you get some new ideas for exercises and workouts, you might be ready to get back to a routine on your own.

You Don't Know Where to Start

If you're new to exercise, you may not realize how complex it is. We're not born with the knowledge of how to do it. If you're faced with the task of setting up a complete exercise schedule, you might become so overwhelmed that you don't do anything.

Trainers know everything that goes into a complete program including cardio, weight training, and flexibility training. From there, you have to think about the elements—from what activities to include to how you can fit it all into a busy schedule.

A trainer can help you with the basics. The workouts you do are based on the F.I.T.T. principle: You choose the frequency, intensity, time, and type of workout and manipulate these elements over time. A trainer can help you navigate the process, which includes:

  • Figuring out how hard to work during exercise and how to monitor your exercise intensity.
  • Show you how to choose exercises, weights, reps, and sets
  • Use different tools (such as a heart rate monitor or activity tracker) to enhance your workouts.

Here are some other areas where a trainer can help you get started:

  • Figure out the right activities: You might not even know what exercise would work for your body, schedule, or available equipment. A trainer can suggest activities that fit all of those areas.
  • Maximize your time: A trainer can help you get the most out of your workout while also making sure you don't overdo it.
  • Put together a reasonable program: A trainer can guide you as you start working out and help you figure how much exercise you can handle in the beginning.
  • Set your schedule: Before you get started, a trainer can help you figure out when you can work out. They can also help you decide what you'll do on the days you aren't working with them.

You're Bored With Your Workouts

If you're an experienced exerciser, you may not have considered working with a personal trainer. However, it can be a great choice if you need some variety in your workouts.

It's easy to fall into a workout rut, doing the same workouts over and over. Not only is this boring but it can also lead to weight loss plateaus, overuse injuries, and burnout.

Here are some reasons you might want to work with a personal trainer even if you're already workout-savvy:

  • For a fresh perspective: A trainer brings an objective eye. They might see areas of your program that could be adjusted to make your workout more interesting, more challenging, or even just more fun.
  • To challenge you: A trainer will look at your workout performance and let you know about any areas you could improve or where you might be able to push yourself a little harder.
  • New ideas and equipment: Trainers are experienced in many different types of workouts. If there's one you've been wanting to try, find someone who can show you the ropes.

Consider asking a trainer about:

  • Circuit training
  • High-intensity interval training (Tabata training)
  • Different methods of strength training including supersets and pyramid training
  • Challenging your body in a different way with new equipment like the water-filled Kamagon Ball

A trainer offers a fresh perspective and new ideas to challenge your body and your mind. Even if you only have a few sessions or meet every few weeks, it can be refreshing to have new workouts and exercise equipment to try.

You Need to Be Challenged

If you feel like you're stuck or you're ready to take your training to the next level, an experienced personal trainer can help you find ways to challenge yourself by:

  • Helping you find and train for competitive events: A trainer can help you find and train for events like a "Tough Mudder" (where you run through an obstacle course) or a local race.
  • Pushing your limits: If you want to blast past a plateau, go heavy with your weights. A trainer can help you choose the right weights as well as spot you as you do more challenging exercises.
  • Being a workout partner: A trainer can also engage in the workout with you, adding a competitive element to your workouts or help you with partner exercises.

You'll find it's very hard to slack off with a trainer standing over you, telling you to do just one more rep. You may even find you have hidden strengths to tap, which can motivate you even more.

You Want to Learn How to Exercise on Your Own

Even if your goal is to create your own workouts and exercise by yourself, hiring a trainer for a few sessions offers the benefit of helping you learn the right way to perform a new exercise. This is especially true if you're new to strength training and need to practice. A trainer can:

  • Bring in targeted exercises: This knowledge is gold, especially for the home exerciser. Knowing a variety of exercises that target different muscles allows you to create your own workouts.
  • Demonstrate good form: To get the most out of your workouts and avoid injury, you need to do each exercise in a certain way. A trainer can offer cues to help you get your body into the right position to ensure you are doing each move correctly (and safely).
  • Show you how to lift weights: A trainer can help you decide how often to lift weights and how to choose your weights, sets, and reps. They can create a variety of workouts for you to continue doing when you're ready to go out on your own.
  • Teach you about muscles: Learning about your muscles, as well as how they work, is essential if you plan to work out on your own at home or at the gym.
  • Provide workout support: Even after you stop training, a trainer can still be an available resource. Most trainers are fine with you contacting them from time to time for advice and you can always go back to training at any time.

You Need Accountability and Motivation

Motivation comes from all kinds of places, both internally and externally. You may already have some intrinsic motivation to exercise, such as wanting to be healthier or to get off your high blood pressure medication.

You also need extrinsic motivators to keep exercising. A personal trainer can be that motivator. By hiring a trainer, you're creating motivation in several different areas:

  • Accountability: Your trainer will probably ask about your week, wanting to know if you did your workouts and how your eating plan is going. Knowing that you'll have to report in can make you less likely to skip your workouts.
  • Commitment: There's nothing like a regular standing appointment to get you in gear for a workout—you don't want to let down a trainer or yourself.
  • Finances: You're investing money into reaching your goal. Just showing up for your sessions to make sure you don't lose the money might be all you need to keep going.
  • Time: Money isn't the only thing you're investing—you're also putting in the time, which is a precious resource.

You Have a Specific Illness, Injury, or Condition

If you have a specific injury or condition, your doctor may want you to exercise—but how do you do that if you're in pain or have to work around an injury?

That's where an experienced trainer comes in. Trainers work with all kinds of people. Many trainers even have specialties that allow them to work with clients who have special needs.

A trainer might be able to help you with:

  • Creating a program that works on the areas you need without risking new or re-injury, as well as dealing with old or chronic injuries
  • Coming up with a fitness plan if you're pregnant or ​want to become pregnant
  • Exercising with chronic health conditions such as arthritis, diabetes, or heart disease
  • Increasing your balance, core strength, and stability if you've had a fall or need to work on those areas.
  • Overcoming back or neck pain

Before you start working with a trainer, there are a few important things to keep in mind:

  • Always talk to your doctor and get clearance for exercise. If you have a specific medical condition, your trainer might require your doctor's OK before they will work with you.
  • Work with your physical therapist (if you have one). Your trainer might want to get in touch with your physical therapist to find out what exercises you should (or shouldn't) do.
  • Make sure your trainer is experienced with your condition. Ask about any classes or certifications they have taken to make sure that the trainer knows what they're doing.

You're Training for a Sport or Event

An experienced personal trainer can be a huge help if you're into a specific sport or you're training for an upcoming event.

Whether you're a golfer, a runner, or into cycling, there's likely a trainer out there who can help you to up your game. Just make sure they have specific education in an area like sports conditioning or a related field. Specialized trainers can:

  • Come up with the right workouts: A sports conditioning trainer knows what exercises to do for a specific sport, such as golf or basketball. They can help you come up with workouts to strengthen the areas you need to work on while avoiding overdoing it.
  • Create a good training schedule: Training is about more than working out. You also need to have the right amount of recovery time. A trainer can help you create a schedule that allows your body to get the most out of your workout while also giving it time to heal and recover.
  • Help you avoid injury: One major concern in sports is that doing the same motions over and over again can cause an overuse injury.5 A trainer can help you with cross-training, which allows your muscles to rest or work in a different way.

You Want Supervision or Support During Workouts

Even if you know how to exercise and do so correctly, you might like to have a trainer around for support and supervision. A trainer can help you by:

  • Being a workout buddy: A trainer can do more than tell you what to do; they can guide you through your workouts and even do them alongside you.
  • Keeping you in line: If you know you tend to slack on your own, a trainer may motivate you to work harder because you know they're right there watching you.
  • Motivating you: If you find it hard to exercise on your own, having someone show up at your door (or having an appointment to hit the gym or fitness studio) can get you motivated to show up and do the work.3
  • Spotting you: If you're lifting very heavy weights, a trainer can help keep you safe and rack your weights as well.

You Want to Work Out at Home

If you'd like to exercise at home but you don't have a lot of equipment or aren't sure how to use what you have, in-home personal training is an excellent choice.

Look for trainers in your area who offer that option and you'll experience lots of benefits including:

  • Convenience: You don't have to pack a bag or drive to the gym if your trainer comes to you.
  • Equipment ideas: A trainer might bring equipment with them but can also make recommendations for home exercise equipment that will help you reach your goals (i.e., equipment that's worth the investment).
  • Learning how to work out at home: A trainer can show you how to use common workout tools like resistance bands, dumbbells, and an exercise ball. A good trainer can also show you how to use unexpected equipment like a staircase, the couch, a chair, or even paper plates.
  • Privacy: Not everyone wants to work out in front of other people at the gym. Working out in your own space can be more comfortable and make you feel less self-conscious.
  • Variety: A trainer can also change your workouts as often as you like to make sure you don't get bored.

What to Look for in a Personal Trainer

Most gyms will have personal trainers on staff and offer attractive packages for personal training. You can also look online or use IDEA Fitness Connect to find trainers in your area.

The cost of a personal training session will vary depending on where you live and your trainer's experience and education.

When you're choosing a personal trainer, look for these credentials and qualities:

  • Business policies: The trainer should have liability insurance and provide a copy of policies and procedures for services, costs, cancellations, and refunds.
  • Certification and qualifications: A personal trainer should be certified through a reputable personal training organization, such as ACSM, ACE, IDEA, YMCA, or NSCA. Your trainer should have an updated certification in CPR and/or first aid.
  • Experience: Make sure your trainer has the experience, especially in relation to your goals. For example, if you're a bodybuilder, you want someone knowledgeable in that area.
  • Specifics: If you have a specific medical problem, injury, or condition (such as being pregnant, difficulty getting pregnant, heart problems, diabetes, etc.) make sure your trainer has an education in these areas and will work with your doctor.

An effective personal trainer:

  • Is a good listener: They will listen closely to what you say and make sure that they understand your goals.
  • Pays attention: They will be focused only on you during your sessions.
  • Tracks your progress: They will regularly assess your progress and change things if necessary.

What a Session Is Like

A session usually lasts about one hour. Your first meeting with your trainer will be devoted to assessing your fitness level, taking body measurements, talking about the exercise you already do, getting a health history, and setting some goals.

After your initial meeting, you'll spend each session doing cardio, weight training, flexibility exercises, or other activities depending on your goals. A trainer will show you how to do each exercise, help you figure out how much weight to use, and give you pointers for getting the most out of your workout.

A Word From Verywell

Hiring a personal trainer is an important investment in your health. It's a good idea to take some time to be sure that you hire someone that accommodates your specific needs. Ask friends or colleagues for recommendations, but keep in mind that if their goals are different than yours, their trainer may not be the best fit. Once you've hired your trainer, keep the lines of communication open. Provide constructive feedback to help them guide you to success.

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