3 Ways to Use a Personal Trainer
By Charles Inniss PT/PT

If you've never worked with a personal trainer before you might be wondering why or how to use their service in the best way to fit with your goals, personality, and financial situation.

There are really 3 basics ways you can use personal trainers.

1. You can use personal trainers to teach you about something specific.

2. You can use personal trainers to get you ready for a specific event.

3. Or you can use a personal trainer as a long-term coach.

Let's talk a little more about each way.

Learning Something Specific:

If you have never exercised in a gym before, it makes sense to work with a trainer to learn how to properly use the equipment in the gym. It doesn't have to be a long-term commitment. Maybe it only takes you 1-5 sessions to become comfortable navigating the gym and using the equipment with proper form.

I think many people get scared off by personal trainers because they fear high pressure sales tactics. And, I also think that people are afraid of getting boxed into a long-term and expensive commitment with a person that they know very little of.

But that's NOT how personal trainer has to be. Once you learn what you need to know, you can choose to move on and pursue your health and fitness goals without working with a personal trainer.

Maybe, someone bought you an exercise ball, dumbbells, resistance bands, ankle weights, or some other type of exercise equipment.

If you need help learning how to use them or constructing a fitness routine, working with a trainer for a few sessions might be just the thing you need to get the most out of the equipment that you have.

Or maybe you've seen some new piece of equipment at your fitness facility.

Or maybe you're interested in learning some yoga or pilates moves.

There is nothing wrong with hiring a personal trainer for a short-term to teach you about something specific.

Preparing for an Event:

If you want to be in your best shape for a wedding, anniversary, vacation/ spring break, birthday or any special occasion, you might consider working with a trainer leading up to that event.

Personal Trainers can also help you get ready for athletic events, such as marathons/ road races, triathlons, or recreational sporting events and competition.

I highly recommend working with a trainer if you're going to prepare for an athletic event or recreational sport. And, I think it's really important to work with a trainer who has experience in that event and/ or has experience in rehab, exercise science, or athletic training.

Because I'm a physical therapist by education, I am very biased and partial to the skills of a physical therapist.

One thing that I do in my practice is evaluate joint mobility and posture. Everyone has muscle imbalances and weaknesses, and it's important to identify those weaknesses before intense training or competition.

If you're been working at a desk for years, chances are your lower back and hip flexors are not as flexible as they should be. If all of a sudden you started playing soccer recreationally or training for a half marathon, you'd be more likely to develop back pain or a back injury.

And, the examples go on and on.

Bottom line, I believe that anyone over 30 who had not been participating in athletics should be evaluated by a physical therapist before beginning intense training of any kind.

Sorry, for that little soap box. I have just seen so many people in the physical therapy clinic that could have avoided major injuries or surgeries if they had someone to point out their weaknesses and help them to improve them before they started regular exercise.

Long-Term Coach:

You can hire a personal trainer in the short-term to teach you something specific or help you to prepare for an event. And if you develop a strong relationship with your personal trainer, you can decide to work with them as your long-term coach.

Some people simply enjoy having regular meetings with their trainer. Meeting with a trainer on a regular basis can provide structure, motivation, discipline, and camaraderie.

Working with a trainer can be fun and social, and you can benefit from your trainer's creativity and expanding knowledge to constantly update or modify your workout plan and fitness routine.

Stick with a trainer long enough and their passion for health and fitness will rub off on you in a positive way.

And don't feel like you have to see a trainer 5 times a week to get results, depending on your personality and financial situation you might find it's best to see a trainer once a week, or every other week, or once a month (once a month is great for checking-in and getting a program update). The consistency is what's important.

Conclusion

If you are thinking about hiring a personal trainer, first figure out what you're looking for.

Do you just want to learn some new things?

Do you want to prepare for an event or occasion?

Do you want to find someone that you can see on a regular basis to help you with your long-term fitness and wellness?

And, remember training can be short-term or long-term. You can see the trainer all the time or occasionally. Just figure out what works for you and go with it!

Yours in Health,
Charles PT/PT


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