A few weeks ago I met with a woman wanting to get into better shape who had very little experience with lifting weights. As a favour for a family member, I helped her out for free and took her for a few sessions and wrote her up a programme to keep. She was a lovely woman, I really enjoyed training her, but at the end of the first session she said something that surprised me a little. She asked “so, do you work?” I had to then explain to her that this actually is my full time job, and people pay me for it. Which isn’t crazy considering I possess knowledge which most of you do not have but need to reach your fitness goals. It sounds pretty simple put like that but I am not the first person in our team to be asked “do you have a real job?”
I’ve also overheard people talking in the gym about how they don’t need a trainer because they have YouTube and the Internet and you can get programmes for free etc etc. I’m going to be quite blunt: you do need a personal trainer. We all do. Even I, a personal trainer, have got my own personal trainer, who I pay, because I value his service. There are loads of reasons why it’s important.
- Reason number one is fairly common knowledge. A personal trainer can correct your form and make sure you’re not only performing the exercise well, but at the very least you are performing it safely. Especially in the early days of your training, you need a trainer for educational purposes.
- You’re also going to get better results, simply from having a trainer there. Ball State University conducted a study of two groups of 10 evenly matched men through identical 12-week strength training programmes. All variables were the same, same exercises, same reps and sets, same rest times. Except one group had a personal trainer watching them, and this group gained 32% more upper body strength and 47% more lower body strength than the group with no supervision.
- Outsourcing motivation: listen, I’m a personal trainer and I know how mindblowingly important exercise is, and sometimes even I can’t be bothered going to the gym. But if I’m meeting Josh for a session I’m paying for, you can bet your sweet bippy I’m gonna get my ass there and I don’t even have to be excited about it. No matter how tired I am, how low my motivation is, what ungodly hour I was up at, I’m still going to show up and get a good work out.
- Knowledge is power – and believe it or not, the trainer knows something you don’t. You may have been training at the gym for years, but this person is a professional and it’s their job to keep up to date and to continue upskilling themselves. I used to be a barista and I’ve been drinking coffee since I started high school but I don’t walk into a cafe and assume I know more than the staff there. I’ve been out of hospitality for three years, it’s no longer my business to know about the latest extraction technique and group head maintenance.
- No matter how experienced you are, it’s very hard to push yourself to your true limits. That kind of exercise can be really punishing and your body doesn’t want to do it. But with a trainer there, you’re more likely to be driven to that point. If you’ve ever taken part in or watched videos of Wingate Tests you’ll know how much yelling – sorry, motivation – they require to just get through 30 seconds and this kind of external motivation, this encouragement, can help you to truly reach your potential.
- It’s not what you do, it’s how you do it. I know how to write a programme and I know what exercises to do but even if I wasn’t a trainer and I didn’t know, I could just download a programme off the net. But that’s not the point. It’s getting it done. It’s taking that programme and executing it properly with good form, and then taking this week’s programme and making it work for next week and next month’s programme… There’s a lot more to it than just having a programme and knowing the exercises.
- Last but not least, a trainer holds you accountable. This is so incredibly important. We’re experts at holding people accountable because it’s our job to help you make these habits consistent.
So there you have it. If you guys can think of any other reasons why having a personal trainer is important, I’d love to hear them! A personal trainer can literally change your life. It’s not just about “knowing what to do” because there is so much more to helping people than telling them what to do.
As always, this post is entirely my own opinion and I do not represent anyone or anything.