So it’s 2018, and like countless others, you’ve decided to focus on improving your physical fitness. You’ve got some nice new workout gear, your gym membership is all set, but when you actually get ready to exercise, you feel secretly overwhelmed or confused, not wondering if you’re doing “enough” or even maintaining correct form. Sound familiar?
We can have all the desire to shape up our bodies that we want, but without the proper knowledge of how to do so, it’s so easy to fall into a plateau of boredom and frustration that can lead us right back to our unhealthy habits, simply because they’re more familiar to us.
The best way to eradicate this problem is to put our egos aside and work with a personal trainer. First things first, put aside any stereotypes you may have that label trainers as loud and insane drill sergeants that make you cry, and then drop and give them 50 pushups while you’re still crying. While some trainers are definitely tougher than others, all good trainers ultimately want the same thing: to teach and support you in beneficial, effective ways to meet your fitness goals.
Just think of all the movie heroes that needed mentors to help them along the way: Luke and Yoda in Star Wars, Peter LaFleur and Patches O’Houlihan in Dodgeball, Mr. Miyagi and the Karate Kid––the list goes on. The point is that no matter what your skill level, working with someone with more experience than you who genuinely wants to help you succeed will undoubtedly lead to greater progress than going it alone.
In fact, Steven McLaran’s 2003 behavioral study in the Journal of Sports, Science & Medicine noted that there was significant evidence that “individual personal training is an effective way to change the client’s attitudes towards increasing physical activity when compared to other programs.”
Many gyms often include options to include personal training in your membership for an upcharge, which is ultimately worth it in the long run. Not only will trainers help to make sure you’re doing moves correctly, but they’re skilled in taking client goals and creating individualized plans to help them best meet them in long-term settings.
Certain things like the number of reps and sets and the ratio of cardio to strength training are specific details that a trainer can easily give to you, allowing you to focus on getting the most out of your workout instead of trying to figure out what you should do next. Additionally, trainers can give you a body assessment, giving you a better understand of your physical strengths and weaknesses and giving you a benchmark to look back on as you progress––there’s no better feeling than having concrete numbers showing muscle gain or weight loss exactly where you wanted it.
If you don’t belong to a gym, there are still plenty of options out there for just individualized personal training. Many websites offer trainer biographies where you can learn more about their education, work history and if there’s any special areas they focus on, such as body-building or pre-natal fitness. If possible, set up an appointment to meet with a potential trainer to get a feel for their work style and to ask any questions you may have. And it’s ok if you don’t find someone right away––you want to feel comfortable with your trainer, but also confident that they will challenge you to become your best self.
Personal trainers are there to be just that: personal. From the person who can’t run one mile to the person who runs marathons, trainers are there to give each and every client the attention, assistance and encouragement they deserve that will put them on a more sustainable fitness path than just “winging it.”
And not only will you be making gains, but you may even make a good friend in the process!