Do You Really Need a Personal Trainer?

It’s common for people to use a personal trainer to help whip themselves in shape. Perhaps you’ve gained weight due to a particularly stressful set of circumstances over the year, or maybe you feel intimidated trying to navigate the variety of complex-looking machines at a gym. Alternatively, maybe you want to participate in a marathon and aim to improve your physical condition.

Obviously, the reasons for turning to a personal trainer are varied—but is it really necessary to have one? Here’s the scoop: As many people are already aware, it is entirely possible to achieve your fitness goals without a personal trainer.

Personal Experience

Speaking from personal experience, I lost 70 pounds without the help of a trainer. By going back to the basics of cutting back on portions and regularly going to the gym, I was able to drop several dress sizes back in 2010. And I have yet to book an appointment with a personal trainer; hitting the elliptical, doing bicep curls and engaging in my share of leg abductor and abductor exercises does the trick for me. Have I faltered? Sure. But that didn’t send me in a state of “I must use a personal trainer” panic. I simply got back on track and have maintained my good health.

It Can Get Expensive

Although rates vary depending on where you live and how frequently you work out with a personal trainer, it’s estimated that you can spend about $35 for a half hour session. That’s a lot of money, especially considering that hitting the gym can help keep your heart healthy and body toned for that same $35 (or less) on a monthly basis. Even walking or running outdoors has its benefits, not to mention the fact that it’s completely free to work those calf muscles while moving through steep hills in the natural world.

Can Undermine Confidence

Sure, when you’re in the presence of a personal trainer who is urging you to do one more push-up and often showering you with motivating words (e.g. “you’ve got this!” or “you are a strong person!”), it’s understandable that confidence will soar. But what happens when you’re on your own? You may develop a dependency on hearing such uplifting phrases from someone else, rather than letting such thoughts come from within.

Do you find you need continual praise to feel good about a workout or your body? On the days you don’t have a trainer session, is your mood is low? It’s important to be aware of your feelings on the days you don’t work with a personal trainer to assess your emotional state—not just your physical one.

Other Avenues Are Effective In Helping You Achieve Fitness Goals

Working out with friends is beneficial, and even produces some of the same results seen with personal training. For example, people have found that working out with friends helps them stay on a fitness schedule, keeps them accountable, and encourages them to step their routine up a notch—the very things that people look for in a personal trainer. The only difference is that it costs nothing to work out with friends. Plus, you can talk about things with your friends that you wouldn’t otherwise discuss with a trainer, making exercising with friends just as fun as it is effective.

Furthermore, there are various videos, magazines and trustworthy internet resources that succinctly outline how to do various exercises~. Tons of information exists about weight management, fitness and overall health; why not gain a well-rounded perspective rather than relying solely on what’s conveyed to you by just one professional?

Be Cautious Of What’s Motivating Your Personal Trainer

It seems logical to assume that a personal trainer is interested in optimizing health and helping others achieve similar goals. However, not every personal trainer is motivated strictly by your individual needs—some have sights set on their financial gain. Sometimes, this is due to internal pressure exerts by a gym that tells the trainer they need to bring in new members to get year-end bonuses (or even keep their job). Many times, personal trainers get commissions, too. In some instances, dollar signs may become more of a focus than their excitement to help you get toned arms.

Doing What’s Right For You

Of course, all of this isn’t to say that working with a personal trainer isn’t advised at all. They’re trained professionals who know how the human body works and can develop some pretty incredible plans that keep physical limitations and long-term goals in mind. By no means am I suggesting that they’re all strictly motivated by money or apt to attempt to energize you with the tone of a drill sergeant.

Plenty of my friends enjoy their regular appointments with trainers, often saying that it’s not a waste of money. On this latter point, they’re quick to note the many other things individuals spend money on that have the potential to ruin health (e.g. cigarettes, alcohol, pricey lattes, pretty but spine-ruining heels), suggesting that that the money could have been better saved and spent on getting healthy—with the help of a trainer.

Advocates of personal trainers also say that the accountability and one-on-one interaction is just the boost they need to propel their fitness routine and get them in better shape. The bottom lines is that only you know what you need. If you feel you need to work with a personal trainer, then go for it. Just be mindful of your own limitations—financially, physically, and emotionally—and be sure you’re truly comfortable with this method of obtaining physical improvement.

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