You may never have opted to go the fitness trainer route but you want to make sure you’re working out properly. Personally, I’ve worked with a fitness trainer and a coach. Each was for different reasons to fulfill different goals but I can tell you that it makes a difference when you have that support.
Not that it is not worth it working out alone without it, because most of the time I’ve spent working out in my life has been without a trainer or coach. However, when you are aiming for a goal, it is best to have that support there. I’ve tried to workout towards a goal without a personal trainer or coach. Let me tell you, it was not an easy road. Not that it would be with one but at least you have someone there to support you, guide you, redirect you, and be there for you when you feel like you want to crash or go rogue.
With the alarming statistics of Americans’ barriers to exercise, it might be best to opt for a fitness trainer or coach for accountability. Here are some pretty interesting stats:
- 42% said they don’t have enough time to workout
- 15% would rather watch Netflix than workout
- 2 out of 5 Americans feel too old to workout – That’s my fave, I never thought there was a cutoff age lol
Busy, Busy, Busy
With everyone becoming so busy, are modern work pressures also getting in the way of a fit and healthy life? When asked about excuses they have used to justify skipping a workout:
- Almost 1 in 4 said they have used “stayed too late at work” as an excuse
- 36% said having too much work to do is a reason they have skipped a workout before.
- 56% was being “too tired” to work out
Convenience is a big factor for may since only 29% consider working out to be convenient. Exercising can be tough to fit into a busy schedule, especially when the average American only has 89 minutes of free time a day, according to the survey results.
While the average American says they work out twice a week already, that number would jump to 5 times a week if it were more convenient and less expensive. 69% said that they believed regular exercise would help them quit their bad habits.
When asked what it would take to get them exercising more, the top solutions were:
- workouts to do at home 45%
- cheaper alternatives to the gym 28%
- classes with friends or colleagues 28%
- a fitness trainer to be accountable to 27%
Apparently the weather is also a problem:
- 1/3 skipped a workout because the weather is too bad
- 1 in 10 skipped a workout because the weather is too nice…hmmmm
If you see yourself in these stats and hiring a personal trainer or coach is financially out of the question, there are other options.
You can always opt for an application that plans your workouts and meals, for a small monthly subscription fee. Freeletics, the people behind the survey results, offers such services.
They aren’t as impactful when it comes to establishing accountability. If you are the type that needs to see others working out around you to change your habits, this may not be the best solution.
You may feel like the only way to go about this is hiring a fitness coach. Depending on your personality, I always find it’s a good start because it gives you a solid base to start your fitness journey. The good thing is many gyms offer personal trainer specials. Before you sign up, you may need to follow some guidelines to help you get the best bang for your buck.
Vince Sant, co-founder of V Shred, an online fitness and nutrition portal, had a few tips to give when it came to choosing a personal trainer.
The best trainers perform thorough and complete assessments when working with new clients before doing anything else. They don’t just hand you a dumbbell and ask you to copy them. That means:
- doing movement screening
- basic performance tests
- looking at the client’s current food intake
- assessing a host of lifestyle variables, including schedule, primary complaints/discomforts/
allergies, willingness to change, and even blood pressure if a patient has issues.
They Look Like They Need a Trainer
You want a trainer who practices what they preach. This does not mean they need to look like an Adonis, but they should look like they are fit.
They are walking billboards of their profession. If they can’t keep it together, how are they going to get you to your goals or preach to you about a lifestyle they cannot maintain themselves?
Booking More Sessions
If you are already working out 3-5 days per week correctly, you shouldn’t have to work out more. They are looking for you to spend more money with them.
If your trainer keeps telling you to work out more than 5 hours per week, they are not coaching you well enough on your eating habits and providing you poor workout advice.
Stretch or Warmup on Your Own
People don’t generally know how to stretch on their own, that’s why you pay a trainer! A good trainer should show you what movements to do, which muscles to focus on, explain the when and why of dynamic stretches over static stretching, and benefits of partner stretching. If a client goes and warms up on a stationary bike but has a core-dominant training program, the time has been wasted.
I’ve actually experienced this one first hand. Many people, even fitness trainers, assume that because I’m in shape, that I should figure this out myself.
No Work Outside of Sessions
Your fitness trainer should be shown the door if they don’t give you work to do outside of your sessions together. If they charge you by the hour but don’t try to help you in the other hours in the week, that’s a red flag.
What you do in your one-hour session should help you achieve your goals outside of your session. Most of your workout time will be spent without your trainer, so you need to know what to do when they’re not around.
Checking Their Phone While You’re Training
If your fitness trainer is taking (non-emergency) texts and phone calls or checking social media in the middle of your session, they suck.
Not well, I presume. You wouldn’t let your doctor do that with you.
You pay fitness trainers good money to pay attention to what you’re doing. It’s not safe, not professional and a complete waste of your time and money. You might as well get your friend to watch you workout. A trainer needs to have their eyes on you all the time.
More Talk Than Train
Your trainer should be maximizing the time with you, not gossiping or telling their tales of woe. It’s fine to chit-chat with a trainer before or after the workout.
Training time should be confined to instructing, supervising, and coaching you on your form and workout. With the exception of reasonable rest/water intake periods, you should be in motion for the duration of the session.
Stand There and Watch You
Your sessions are for being coached, strengthening your body, motivating you and learning new techniques. They are not to be stood-by and watched aimlessly, for a complete hour doing the same thing.
A good trainer will make sure that multiple body parts are being used and include cardio, body weight resistance, free weights, bands, medicine balls, machines, etc.
“No Pain No Gain”
There is nothing wrong with doing crunches until you “feel the burn.” Pain is your body’s alarm to alert you that something is wrong: that you should, in fact, stop doing what you’re doing and figure out the problem. There is a distinct difference between legitimate pain and the soreness you get when you exercise:
- If a muscle feels pulled, and you express that to your trainer, they should lay off training that muscle group until you are completely healed.
- If you are beginning training with an existing injury such as a weak Achilles tendon, the trainer should be skilled enough to strengthen that area and avoid moves that will exacerbate it.
Motivation Through Body Shaming
A trainer should never say something like, “give me 30 crunches to burn that flab off your gut,” “keep giving me those squats to burn the fat from your butt.”
They should motivate by focusing on the positive, “you’re so much stronger since we first began, your cardio has really improved, you’re becoming more flexible.”
You must be empowered by your trainer, not belittled or ashamed.
The Gist of it
Alarming stats indicate to us that many people feel that working out is a drag. Lack of motivation accounts for much of it, and the idea of watching Netflix seems to win over becoming healthier. I can understand where entertainment is by far more attractive that sweat and exacerbation, but unfortunately it doesn’t make us healthier.
A fitness trainer is a great way to kick start your workout journey. They can provide you with a good base to go by. Remember though that a good trainer should be providing you with:
- ample advice
- proper eating habits
- safe way to exercise to avoid injury and improve strength
Have you ever worked with a fitness trainer or coach?
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