The gym is a place I both love and loathe equally. I have days where I go in knowing exactly what I want to do, burn through a solid workout full of energy and leave feeling incredible, and then I have days where I can barely drag my ass there and schlep my way from one thing to another totally aimlessly.
Despite being an active soccer player in the summers from age 4 onwards (I only gave that up a couple of summers ago), I was never one who particularly cared for gym class and didn’t step foot in a proper gym until high school, but even then for ages I was a cardio bunny who would really only do some clueless strength training on machines (but hey, that helped me lose 30 pounds that I’ve kept off since so I must have been doing something right).
In college I decided to do some sessions with a trainer who had an at-home gym and did things with a bit of a Crossfit flavour. It was not an official “box” as the crossfitters of the world call their gyms, but it was a unique approach to training that opened my eyes to so much more beyond bicep curls and the elliptical. I did weighted squats, deadlifts, box jumps, pullups and more, and it was really empowering and helped me discover a strength I didn’t even know I had in me. After that I took up running, did a couple of 5K runs and a 10K run and have continued searching for ways to keep moving despite my preference to eat chips & watch Netflix forever.
Since I’m still working on my weight, I decided at the start of 2014 to take another shot at getting a trainer. While I’d been with Goodlife Fitness for the last few years, my boyfriend and I decided to check out the new LA Fitness that had just opened up by our apartment and we found we could get a much better membership deal there. I also found they offered pay-as-you-go personal training versus paying upfront (the only option I’d ever been given at Goodlife) and I was sold. Before I knew it, I was being set up with a personal trainer and had signed on for a one-year commitment.
I wanted to share my reasons for going with a personal trainer to keep me on track, in case you might be considering it! Here goes:
They keep you accountable. This is by far the biggest reason I feel like I’ve made a worthwhile investment. I don’t think I’ve ever been so consistent with my visits to the gym before. While I’ve definitely had the odd week where I don’t make it in or others where it’s only one or two trips, the longest I think I’ve gone without a visit is 7 – 10 days and while that’s not ideal, it’s a huge difference from what I was like before (where I’d easily stop going for weeks at a time, searching for motivation to get back at it). My trainer reads through my workouts I do without her and expects to see I’ve been a few times between our visits – since I know she’s checking, I get over to the gym on my own time.
They help track your progress. Because I track my workouts in a journal now, I can see where I’ve been able to make improvements on certain exercises or parts of my body as I increase weight, reps and add more advanced movements to my workouts. It’s a great way to track those “non-scale victories.” While my trainer isn’t big on tracking numbers (weight, measurements, etc.) if that’s important to you, you can also count on a trainer to track those numbers on a regular basis for you to keep you motivated.
They equip you with knowledge you can really use. I love having my journal because I can see the days where we’ve worked legs, chest, arms, etc. so if we have a leg day together, I know I can do a different muscle group and there’s a workout I can just copy that we’ve done previously. There’s no guessing and I never have to be “that girl” wandering around the gym wondering what to do.
Gym sessions are scheduled. You’re both operating on different schedules, and once you’re booked in you’ve basically written it in stone. I find having the trainer through my gym helps me at least treat one gym session a week like any other appointment I might have and I’m less likely to skip it. It also helps me get my workouts done first thing in the morning, because if I’ve got a 6 a.m. appointment where someone is expecting me, I’m make sure to get myself out of bed.
Those are the key reasons why I fork over the money for a trainer. It’s important to do your research if you’re considering it, find someone who is compatible with you (they’re going to see you at your weakest and sweatiest!) and really consider if the financial investment is worth it to you. I personally need the extra kick in the butt and have found it to be worthwhile since I’ve been more mindful of my health than ever.
Have you worked with a trainer before? What has your experience been like?