University of Washington Recreation defines personal training as “one-on-one instruction that incorporates exercise screening, goal-setting, and health education.” If you’re looking to get scientific about your workout, tone up for a specific event, or just want a change in routine, a personal trainer can help you see results.
Here’s what to expect from personal training so you can decide whether it’s right for you.
Expect an individualised workout plan
Perhaps the greatest benefit of working one-on-one with a personal trainer is that you have an advisor and support system focused solely on your goals. Personal trainers tailor workouts to your health status—taking into consideration any physical limitations and medical conditions you may have. For example, if you’re recovering from an injury or a debilitating condition such as a stroke, your exercise needs will be different to someone who’s in top shape.
Your personal trainer will create a plan that revolves around your targets: whether your goal is reaching a certain weight, conditioning for a marathon, toning up or something else entirely. A personal trainer will assess your baseline level of fitness in order to select the correct exercises and pace for you. This makes your sessions more efficient and purposeful compared to doing a mish-mash of unrelated exercises based on what equipment is available at the gym.
Expect to learn proper technique
Your personal trainer will watch your form to make sure you’re performing each exercise safely and correctly. They’ll ensure you’re working the right muscle groups and not cutting corners just to get through a set of reps.
More importantly, a personal trainer is there to make sure you don’t injure yourself by performing an exercise incorrectly, especially when attempting new or difficult activities. The consequences of an injury due to wrong technique can have lasting physical and mental impacts, and you definitely don’t want that! Nothing derails long-term fitness plans harder than an injury that leaves you laid up in bed for months.
Expect to be motivated
A personal trainer will break up your fitness goals into doable chunks. It’s easy to get demotivated if you don’t achieve the results you want right away, so a good personal trainer will set a realistic pace that allows you to concretely measure your progress.
They can also assess changes in your mood and motivation as time goes by. It’s not unusual to get bored with repetitive exercises, particularly ones you don’t find fun. Your personal trainer can make your workout more engaging by swapping out exercises that don’t really float your boat to ones that you enjoy! They will also debrief you after a session, and work on what’s demotivating or frustrating you.
You’re more likely to keep working at your fitness goal if your workouts make you feel excited, constantly challenged, and rewarded.
Expect to be held accountable
Simply knowing that another person is waiting for you at the gym can make a huge difference to the consistency of your workout!
It’s easy to renege on promises we make to ourselves, but it’s less easy to back out of your fitness commitments when you’re paying someone to show up at the gym for you. Setting an appointment with a personal trainer means making an effort to respect their time—there’s no excuse for you to bail given you scheduled the session at your convenience. Having a personal trainer waiting for you gives you that extra push that so many of us need to get to the gym.
Plus, formally scheduling your appointments with your personal trainer will psych you up mentally for the session all week, so when gym day comes, you’re in the right frame of mind to devote yourself to exercise.
Expect an improvement in your mental health
Numerous sources have shown that exercise improves mental health by stabilising mood disorders. But changes in mood are hard to measure—you can’t jump on a scale to check in with your mind and judge your progress. Having a personal trainer who’s sensitive to your needs will be extremely helpful in creating and sticking to a fitness plan that will equally benefit your mental well-being.
Part of their job is to listen to what’s going on with your life outside the gym—personal issues could be influencing your fitness regimen (for example, your problems could be making you stress eat). Your personal trainer can then adjust your activities accordingly, preventing you from burning out and feeling exhausted. They’re experts in well-being, so they’ll know when you can go full throttle or when you need to slow things down. Either way, with their help, you can still take small steps toward your goal no matter where you are mentally.
An effective personal trainer will keep you on track despite whatever is falling apart outside the gym. In this aspect of your life, at least, you can take home a win!
So is it right for you?
If you’re looking for a customised plan to meet a specific goal, or want someone to watch your form, keep you motivated and accountable, then personal training will be an excellent fit for you and your goals. However, if this doesn’t sound like you, you may want to wait until you’re ready for that level of commitment.
A great personal trainer isn’t there to dictate a fitness plan to you; rather, they will enable you to take control of your own fitness and well-being by educating you, instilling good fitness habits, and boosting self-confidence in your ability to manage your own workouts. Above all, if you decide to give personal training a go, expect to feel empowered and become self-sufficient.