BY MARY CUMMINGS , DEC 30, 2016
I only hired my personal trainer for 2 months, but a year later I’m still in the best shape I have ever been in.
You’ve seen the signs at the gym, heard raving reviews from friends, and read articles on why you should hire a personal trainer. You may have used the excuse that it’s just too expensive in order to avoid thinking about committing to a professionally led workout regime. It’s true that personal training sessions aren’t cheap, but even if you can’t afford it in the long term, you can reap the benefits just by investing in a personal trainer for a few months.
I took the plunge and worked with a personal trainer for two months. A year later, I am in the best shape I have ever been in, mostly due to what I learned in that short time.
01. Oh, I Think That I Found Myself a Cheerleader
A struggle we all face at some point in our fitness journey is staying motivated throughout an entire workout and confidently finishing every rep, mile, or pose. It’s easy to be your own worst critic and make excuses for why you should do fewer reps, or just run tomorrow…or workout the next day.
My internal monologue was typically somewhere along the lines of, “I’d rather be on my couch watching New Girl.” When you work with a supportive and experienced person, you don’t have time to listen to your inner voice telling you to quit. Instead, you’re listening to your PT counting down, consistently pushing, and constantly encouraging you to give it your all. After so many sessions, that voice starts to soak in. Pretty soon, you’ll find yourself mimicking their encouraging pep talks and counting methods.
02. A Recipe for Success
After mastering self-motivation, getting to the gym and staying there is the easy part. Figuring out what to do once you’re there—that is the difficult part. When you first start working with a PT, they will discuss at what fitness level you’re currently at and where you would like to be. They help get you to your goal in the safest, most efficient way possible. Plus, a personal trainer re-trains the voice in your head that makes excuses for why you should quit early, or not try a heavier weight.
If you pay attention, you can quickly learn their formulas. Trainers teach you the basics of structuring your workouts in a way that will help you achieve your goal, based on your individual needs. For example, if you’ve hit a plateau and are having trouble shedding that last five pounds, they might recommend focusing on doing HIIT (high-intensity-interval-training) workouts. If becoming more flexible is your goal, she can teach you proper stretching, warm up, and cool down. She can even help you run your first 5k, 10k, or half-marathon (without feeling dead tired!). For personal trainers, a goal that can be measured is key. Once you’ve learned your unique “workout recipe”, you can replicate it whenever you need a jumpstart at the gym (or at home).
03. A Ready Resource
You might not be able to afford a personal trainer forever, but no matter how long you work with a PT, you will establish a relationship with her, and she will still be at your gym whether or not you’re training together. So if you’re unsure about how to use a new machine or want a double check on your free weight form, you’re familiar with someone qualified to give some quick advice.
You don’t have to be ready to make a month- or year-long commitment to work with a personal trainer. Many gyms also offer a free personal training session yearly or even multiple times a year that you can take advantage of to keep them up to date on your progress. And if or when your budget aligns, you can pick up where you left off!
The benefits of working with a personal trainer, even for a short period, are long lasting. The skills you learn during training, while not as tangible as weight loss or muscle tone, are even more valuable. Cultivating a positive mindset will pay off during every workout, especially when you don’t have anyone but yourself to get you through the last ten minutes of spin class. Knowing how to structure your workouts to match your fitness objective ensures that you can always make up a workout that is challenging and efficient. Personal trainers aren’t just for the uber rich—a girl on a budget can benefit just as much from a few sessions. So go give it a try!