Thoughts on Getting a Personal Trainer

  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Apr 25, 2007 7:56 PM GMT
    I have recently been considering getting a personal trainer, but I was wondering how to go about it.

    Some questions I have are:
    1. How often should I see him? (how many times a week and for what duration i.e. a few months, a year, forever)
    2. What are the advantages?
    3. What are the disadvantages?
    4. Should I look for one with a similar build to mine/the build I want to achieve?
    5. Are there a signs of good/bad personal trainers?

    My main goal is to drop a few pounds, and gain a little muscle. I'm not looking for a huge change because I'm semi-close to where I want to be. So, do you think it's worth it or do you think it could end up being just a waste of money?
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Apr 25, 2007 9:18 PM GMT
    I lost 30 pounds of fat on my own because I had the discipline to change my diet, but without a trainer I'd still be merely skinny because the only thing that overcomes my inertia and gets me to the gym is the fact that my trainer is paid in advance and is there waiting for me. In my case, that's the single biggest benefit. But, trainers are also good for spotting, ensuring proper form, pushing your limits, forced reps and negatives, etc.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Apr 26, 2007 8:18 PM GMT
    Answers to your questions…

    1. How often should I see him? (how many times a week and for what duration i.e. a few months, a year, forever)
    As you are “close to where you want to be” most trainers should be OK with you seeing them about twice a week; three to four times a week really gets things moving after about a month of training; The first 30 days are crucial, you won’t really notice much in the way of results with less than 30 days. As far as for how long, try a trainer for 90 days; 3 months is normally long enough to really see if their training style works for you. If you don’t really want to continue 2-4X a week, try a “check up” session with your trainer every couple of months or so…
    2. What are the advantages?
    DUH! If you’ve got a good trainer, you’ve got someone to push you and your body to new levels and you’ve got someone else helping you maintain your regime
    3. What are the disadvantages?
    None, really; perhaps the cost…
    4. Should I look for one with a similar build to mine/the build I want to achieve?
    Most important, I believe, is a trainer you like to be around!
    5. Are there a signs of good/bad personal trainers?
    Look for certification, especially ACE or NASM; ACE-certified trainers have to take regular classes in theory and practice, as well as renew their credentials every few years. There are a lot of “certified personal trainers” out there that did not have to do anything to be certified-do some research! Keep an eye out for trainers at your gym that are correcting their client’s form whilst exercising; it’s a good sign they know what they are doing. Any trainer that gets you working out almost immediately on your first session with them is suspect too. Any serious trainer will take time on your first session to get to know you, your goals, past injuries, health issues, and the like. If a plonker gets you doing presses first off and you’ve got shoulder issues, that’s not going to help, is it?

    My main goal is to drop a few pounds, and gain a little muscle. I'm not looking for a huge change because I'm semi-close to where I want to be. So, do you think it's worth it or do you think it could end up being just a waste of money?

    Even a few sessions, just to see how your form is and to perhaps “shake things up a little” routine-wise is a sound investment. Go for it!
  • GQjock

    Posts: 11649

    Apr 27, 2007 5:47 AM GMT
    A trainer is an excellent idea.... But IF you have certain things that need to get done
    ...if you're new to working out and need the basics
    ...you're in a rut and need to get into a new groove
    ...you want a better or more efficient way to get to where you wanna go
    To answer all your questions
    you need to interview your prospective trainers just as you would a contractor or someone you'd hire to work on your car
    ask them what they'd be able to do for you and what you'd like to accomplish
    ...and then weigh the candidates and see which would be best for you
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Feb 16, 2010 9:58 PM GMT
    The true value of a trainer is their knowledge, not their build or their ability to count reps. I personally think having a trainer for almost every workout is a waste of your money and their time. It's so rare for a person to stall out their training so as to REQUIRE forced reps or negatives that asking the guy next to you (or the hot guy on the other side the gym) to give you a spot is sufficient in lieu of a trainer, who should really be more than a glorified rep counter.

    How often you see your trainer depends on how much supervision you ACTUALLY need. I see mine once a year (he lives in a different city) for an assessment and tweaking of form and programming. However, when I first started weight training for sports, I did have a coach who was in the weight room almost every workout to make sure we were doing things properly, particularly olympic lifts. I probably have the knowledge to do my programming, but lack the objectivity to really do myself a service (I tend to avoid the stuff I don't want to do even though I should); and in the interest of getting to a goal efficiently, hiring a trainer (even from a distance) is a good investment if you can afford it.

    I would argue that there are more bad trainers than good trainers out there. A trainer that is "fixing" form is only good if they're actually fixing it properly. If you can't distinguish good from "not good" form, you'll never know whether you're getting the right information--only that your trainer seems to be paying you a lot of attention. Ultimately, you're not going to know if you've hired a good trainer (other than whether you get along with them or not) until you see whether you're getting the results you want, injury-free. Certifications are essentially meaningless in an industry that has virtually no self-regulation.

    So, bottom line: I would hire a trainer if:

    1) You have already been going for a goal and seem to have plataeu'ed out
    2) You lack the knowledge to do your programming and are interested in being more efficient
    3) You need the evaluation of your technique (which shouldn't be a workout-to-workout necessity)
    4) You have a special need like an injury and need someone to help you train around it.

    I wouldn't hire a trainer if you are making good progress (as defined by you) on your own and are injury-free.