The biggest reason people fail to achieve their goals is usually NOT for a lack of effort. It is a lack of strategy.
If you think a gym workout for weight loss means the treadmill and elliptical for 60 minutes everyday, you’re misinformed. There are far better strategies than just the hot HIIT fat burning programs you find on Instagram. Social media, magazines and YouTube videos show you snippets of a larger plan. A personal trainer can help you to create the most effective overall plan by providing a YOU-specific strategy.
The journey from where you are now to where you want to be requires a good road map of how to get there. If you plan a cross country road trip you’re most likely going to map out your route. You’ll pull up Google Maps and outline a general direction of the highways and stops along the way.
Will your route take you through you stop in Chicago or Kansas City, Missouri?
Have a hankering to see the Ice Caves in New Mexico or would your rather see the great wide open in Wyoming?
When you develop a plan you’ll be able to enjoy yourself more and handle the little bumps (because there will be some bumps) along the way with more ease.
A personal trainer can be your Google Maps of your health and fitness venture. You may think you’re hiring a personal trainer for motivation but that’s not the full story. Motivation is fantastic and necessary because it will help you to determine WHAT you want. I love this concept: the mirror motivates you but a personal trainer disciplines you.
You can plug anything you want into that “motivation” line but the the personal trainer is who can discipline you by giving you the guidance, model and ongoing support to not just put you on but help you to reroute your plan as life’s road blocks and flat tires ensue.
1. Injury Prevention
No one wants to get injured and you certainly don’t want to get injured while trying to do something to make you healthier! I’ve seen or heard of people getting injured in the gym many different ways and most of them could have been easily avoided.
Part of a personal trainer’s job is to ensure you are properly performing the movement and with the appropriate intensity. Body mechanics refers to the way you hold and move your body in different positions and throughout movement patterns. As personal trainers, we FIRST make sure your body can mechanically perform a movement pattern properly. THEN, we make sure it can do so with repetition and FINALLY with repetition under different stress parameters.
A personal trainer will ensure that you do it correctly meaning mechanically and in the overall execution. There has to be enough stress to make the body respond but not so much that the body has an adverse response. A great program will ensure that you’re not over doing it and hindering positive adaptations. Just because you can doesn’t mean you should do 2 more reps!
Hire Right! If you’re working with a personal trainer who spends more time watching their phone or the TV than they do watching you – you hired poorly! They should visually observe and record your efforts and performance. Your trainer may be hands on with you (if you’re comfortable with that) because verbal, demonstrative and physical cues allow us to ensure you work properly!
2. Motivation & Accountability
YOU CAN DO IT!
A personal trainer is championing you in this process because we love what we do and want people to succeed in it! I believe the fitness industry is unique in that it employs people who truly care about other people, want them to succeed, and study their field endlessly. Why? Because we have PASSION! Passion for human movement and performance, the internal workings of our physical machines, and for people. Personal trainers must be able to understand how the human body works and how different stressors affect it.
Maybe you need a full body workout. Perhaps you need to get fit but also a personal trainer physical therapist of sorts. Finding the right fit to get you committed and even excited about the gym is important. Your professional (a word not frequently enough upheld in this industry) should have the tactics to help you adhere to the best strategy as well. Just be cautious of those personal trainers that motivate but don’t bring much else to the table for you.
The Looker – This trainer looks like a Greek God with abs for days and the selfies to prove it. You say, “I want to look like you – you’re hired!” but we say, “explain the physiological adaptive process, please” and he just flexes and walks away. The problem? That Greek God knows how to train his body for what he wants but not yours for what you want.
The Smarty Pants – This trainer has a Masters in Human Physiology and is studying for his PhD in Human Performance. The problem? She treats your body as a text book and doesn’t know how to practically apply the science she studies and researches. Knowledge is only as good as your ability to apply it.
The Drill Sergeant– This trainer has the physical and boisterous presence that’ll have you fall in line faster than you can drop the dumbbells! (You usually never need to drop the dumbbells by the way. Contact us to chat if you have a dropping problem.) They make you feel like you have liquid fire pumping through your veins! They jump and cry “1 more rep!” but how well does lip service work? The problem? Charisma may be attractive but please make sure there is substance behind their screams.
*We are not claiming that Greek God personal trainers are not intelligent or highly capable trainers. We are not claiming that Smarty Pants trainers are not able to effective apply knowledge. We are not claiming that Drill Sergeants are not able to use their charisma to effectively communicate the necessary program elements. This is exaggerated comparison based on true scenarios*
Hire Right! The fitness industry is notorious for personal trainers that motivate but are not being able to implement the most effective strategies simply because they don’t KNOW what’s best or HOW to best implement. Motivation is going to get you in the door but the knowledge will keep the door open for optimal and long-lasting results!
3. Knowledge, Experience and Practical Application
IT’S WHAT WE STUDY. IT’S WHAT WE DO. EVERYDAY!
Personal trainers may vary in their backgrounds but the importance of education is the same. They gain the knowledge through various ways; formal 4 year collegiate study, intense practicum exams, working with highly successful professionals/peers and ongoing education.
A Kinesiology curriculum may be require courses in biomechanics, motor learning, exercise physiology, physiology, human anatomy, nutrition, sports physiology, sports psychology, fitness testing, and more. Kinesiology is the scientific study of human movement – the physiological, biomechanical, psychological principles and mechanisms of movement. Exercise Physiology is another degree type but many of us have backgrounds in Biology as well.
Caution: College Degrees are NOT the only or even best indicator of ability to be a great personal trainer!
Some personal trainers do not have 4 year degrees but have so much self-study and experience from working with and learning from others that they could put some schools’ Exercise Phys. programs to shame.
What college degrees do not usually include is practical experience we need to be great in our field! We need the ability to apply our knowledge in comprehensive programming and how to manage our schedules and lives so we don’t burn out! Successful trainers are usually successful because , client management with comprehensiveness
Hire Right! Please, don’t hire a hobby trainer. A hobby trainer does personal training “on the side” because they love to work out. Sure, they’re cheaper but they’ll also put the same value on you. The problem with hobby trainers is just that – it’s their hobby. Most successful businesses or those with the greatest impact on its customers, are successful because they put blood, sweat, tears, and 10,000 hours into learning, refining and implementing. If I were hiring someone to make a large impact in my life I’d want them to be serious about it. I don’t want to be someone’s hobby or their impact on me may not be a good one….
4. More than just a training session
168 HOURS IN 1 WEEK
Picture it: You’re on Route 70 W, entering Illinois and poof, you blow a tire! You don’t forfeit the entire trip and tow the car home, do you?! No! You fix that tire and hit the road again with the wind in your hair! You’ve only lost a few hours and a little bit of your temper but you’re right back on track toward sunny California! See, your trip is planned out with how many miles you’ll try to get per day so you can take advantage of your preferred sight-seeing stops and cities or camp sites to nest down in. A few hours off that timeline doesn’t shake you too much and you’re more equipped to handle it and get back on track. Okay, vroom vroom, on to the next point!
A personal trainer should not just be concerned about the actual sessions but everything outside of your training sessions. At Performance Fitness Training we facilitate the hardest of the work hands on and prescribe the specifics of everything else our clients need to do. We use our time wisely to DO and to COACH. Personal trainers know that seeing a client for 1-2 hours out of their 168 hour week just won’t cut it unless we influence and plan for everything.
A good personal trainer will program for the entirety of your fitness and nutrition week by taking needs, goals, history, logistics, emotional and mental well-being into consideration. One of the top reasons to hire a personal trainer is that they can help you to navigate how to modify but keep an exercise and nutrition regimen based on what you need as life changes courses. This should not be an “all or none” but a case of getting the right stuff at the right time in the right way.
Hire Right! Ask questions of your potential trainer of their training philosophy and even examples of success stories! Be sure to visit their websites and read client testimonies so you can get first hand information of exactly how the personal trainer will be able to help you. Be as communicative as possible. We aren’t miracle workers but we can only work with what we know and what we have so be sure to also be realistic.
5. Efficiency & Effectiveness
I WANT IT & I WANT IT NOW!
Most people want results as quickly as possible. It’s important to understand that while your body can adapt each and every day, you’ll see those bigger Before & After results on longer timeline.
In order to be as effective as possible we must be as efficient as possible. A personal trainer knows what science says will work and then implements that nerdy science with you. We figure out what works first. Then, we study your body’s response and give it what it tells us it needs. There are no short cuts to getting the best results but your personal trainer will find the shortest distance between Point A and B and will navigate the way.
You can lose weight, build muscle, rehab after knee surgery, feel better, improve your health stats and all of your goals by being efficient with your time and energy. It starts with the strategy and the best strategies usually start with a fitness professional that understands what you need.
Hire Right! It’s about what you want and what you need. (The two are not always synonymous.) A great personal trainer should tell you how many times per week they think it’d be ideal to work with you along with how many times per week you should be working on your own in addition to that. They won’t be able to give you the exact details of what exactly you’ll be doing until they are able to actual plan and train you but they’ll be able to explain how they’ll go about it with detail. Ask questions if they don’t offer this information.
6. The Immediate & Sustainable Results
RESULTS – IT’S WHY WE’RE DOING IT!
Remember, it’s usually not for a lack of effort that people don’t see results. Lack of results is usually due to a lack of knowledge not just of exercise but the practical application of fitness and nutrition information. This means how to make it fit into your life and not make your life about your fitness regimen.
FEEL IT! There are great immediate affects of exercise that we can thank biology for. You begin to feel good, have more energy, think more clearly. sleep better and have better digestion because your body is amazing and it’s the natural response.
However, it’s important to have tangible results. SEE IT! Real, measurable results promote more intrinsic motivation for the individual and thereby better adherence to the structure. In addition, metrics and measurements (not just body measurements but performance measurements) are absolutely crucial to determine the efficacy of the program. We measure variables so we can manage variables. It’s all part of a personal trainer’s evil plan (mwua-ha-ha-ha) – to get you results and make the changes sustainable!
A personal trainer will want you to hit your weight loss goal but keep the weight off! When you gain strength you want to stay strong, not hit a squat 1RM then barely be able to climb stairs within 3 years! Sustainability is baked into the cake with a good personal trainer. (Apologies for the delicious pun!)
Hire Right! Can you see evidence of a personal trainer successful in getting results? Does your potential personal trainer have client testimonies to share real client experiences with you? If not, you might want to keep looking.
WE DO & TEACH!
Personal trainers are not just facilitators but educators. A large part of our mission is to teach our clients about the reason behind the work they are doing. When a person understands something they can have a greater reverence for the effort and intent behind it. Plus, they have greater ownership of their progress and personal accountability. We can’t do it for you but we can explain the rules we must abide by for the optimal outcome.
A personal trainer is hands on – working with you through the workouts and constantly focusing on your ability and performance. We’re focused on your movement quality for safety and overall effectiveness. We study the feedback; visual, verbal and hard metrics to determine what needs to come next.
A personal trainer is verbally and physically communicative. People learn different ways so we must be able to verbalize directive with concise and simple cues that resonate with our clients. A personal trainer may be hands-on with physically touching you throughout exercises as well. We do this to guide your body throughout a movement and the physical touch is a sensory cue that can quickly draw the mind body connection.
EXPERIMENT TIME! Squeeze your shoulder blades down and together as if you’re doing a pull-up. Feel the squeeze? Now ask your buddy to put their hands on your shoulder blades and do it again. Do you feel like you’re squeezing harder in that exact area? Physical sensory cue successful!
Do you know the principles of progressive overload for physiological adaptations? We do!
Hire Right! Ask your trainer to explain some of the science behind what you’re doing. There should be rhyme and reason behind everything you do in your fitness and nutrition regimen. In our team, we’re science nerds and fascinated by it! We love to explain what we’re doing with you and why because, well, science is cool!
(In fairness, questioning absolutely everything your trainer does can be exhausting for us because trusting us is important. So, find a trainer you trust!)
8. Affordable Investment
PREVENTATIVE or TREATMENT. Pay now or pay later – the choice is yours.
The average cost of a 3 day hospital stay is $30,o00! Medical coverage for cancer treatments can burden you with hundreds of thousands of dollars in medical bills.
Approximately 70% of prescriptions have an out-of-pocket cost of $6 per Rx (if you have great insurance!) to $30 (if you have great insurance!) or in the hundreds of dollars if you don’t have good or any insurance. Yo’u’ll pay but not just monetarily. You’ll pay with suffering with the illness or injury and the burden of the stress involved. In this case, we aren’t talking good stress.
- Lower your risk of heart disease
- Help to control your weight
- Reduce pain from arthritis
- Help improve cognitition
- Have benefits for and help prevent conditions and diseases such as: Cancer, Lupus, Fibromyalgia, Diabetes, Depression, Anxiety, Rheumatoid Arthritis, back pain, you name it!
Dennis Williams shares his testimony for why he hires a personal trainer.
Hire Right! Find a great amount of value for your budgeted dollar. There should be guidance and structure beyond the days that your trainer sees you. This is an ongoing process so your personal trainer is worth their salt if they can be your overall health coach in not just how to exercise and eat properly, but how to progress, adapt and modify for any given need at any given time.
9. You’re Serious About Your Health & Fitness
WE CAN’T MAKE YOU WANT IT
This is your life and though a personal trainer can help you to lose weight, build muscle, gain strength and get healthy, we can’t do the work for you. In life, sometimes the best things we can do for ourselves is to recruit help! When I take my cross country road trip I will most certainly be consulting with Google Maps to pin point key areas and a travel timeline so I don’t miss a thing and get the best experience. A personal trainer is the Google Maps to your health and fitness! (Thanks for bearing with me on this cheesy but accurate comparison!)
Do you have an accountant to do your taxes? Have you ever hired a plumber to fix the sink? Will you look for a roofer when the darn thing starts leaking? When you’re sick, do you go to a doctor or do you prefer to self-diagnose and treat? You see what I’m getting at here. Hiring a personal trainer IS taking full accountability for your goals in health and fitness. You ARE doing it FOR yourself just not BY yourself.
Hire Right! Before you hire a personal trainer be sure that they not just hear you but listen to what you need. Our job is to train the client the way the client needs to be trained. It doesn’t matter if you train with Mr. Greek God, Miss PhD, or the trainer that can say they were once in your shoes of being overweight or unconditioned as long as they can get you what YOU need. Talk with trainers first. (At PFT, we offer complimentary consultations so we can do just that – LISTEN to what you say you want and need and EXPLAIN what we’ll need to do and HOW we’ll go about it.)
10. Your quality of life
IT’S MY LIFE!
“And it’s now or never. I ain’t gonna live forever! I just wanna live while I’m alive.” Mr. Jon Bon Jovi said it best!
A personal trainer can help you to feel better and therefore live better! We often tell our clients that we want to see them be the healthiest, strongest, and happiest version of themselves as possible. Our efforts go to work for this reason.
A personal trainer’s passion is fueled by the smile of a client who hit their goal weight and has kept it off years later.
YOUR success is OUR success.