Today I reunited with my old trainer, Rachel, who has started training again while she bides her time to get into nursing school. I know her days as a trainer are numbered so I wanted to start working out with her immediately. We have worked together on and off for the last three and half years. I hear a lot of people argue that trainers are overpriced or unnecessary or maybe a luxury only rich people can have. Today, I will tell you how finding a great trainer is a necessity in my life, and should be in yours.
1. Increased Knowledge: I was already active when I first when to Rachel. I was a runner (inside and out), played soccer, etc…but my general understanding of weight resistance was pretty limited. She also gave me ways to change up my running and gave me workouts specific to soccer. Today when I walk in the gym, I know how to use equipment in all sorts of different ways that I never would have on my own.
2. Accountability: Last night I had a snack craving, but remembered that I had a workout with her this morning so I pushed down my craving and went to bed. Something in my head said, “You’re paying money for someone to help you. Don’t eat the chips!!!!” But if it were a night where I knew I was going to workout in the morning on my own, my hand totally would have been in the chip bag. It’s all mental.
3. Increased Fun: A lot of people don’t like going to the gym, or feel bored during the workout (I’m familiar with these) – but my 60 minute workout this morning FLEW BY. I have someone to talk to, but that makes sure I’m getting worked at the same time.
4. Measurable Goal Setting: I weigh myself and take my own measurements and have a body fat scale. But there are days (or weeks) where I avoid doing all three. But a trainer keeps track and makes you face that kind of stuff (in a friendly way).
5. Increased Motivation (duh): I often feel like my journey to do 100 pushups is a lonely one, or if I plateau I get apathetic. Today when I mentioned my pushup goal to Rachel, she instantly just said, “We can do that.” I felt a big weight lifted, like I have someone who can really help me get there.
6. Seeing a Bigger Picture: I remember thinking that all I really wanted from a trainer was to lose a little weight in the beginning. After all this surgery business, that’s my goal again – but not in the same shortsighted way as before. Now I’m more about reducing body fat and increasing strength over time; no permanent end, but more of a journey.
Now, I’ve also worked out with a few other trainers in the past. They sucked. So it seems clear to me you’ve got to find the right one. When we first moved into our new home, I signed up at the gym closest to our house and the manager was really trying to get me to buy personal training. I told him that I had done it before and never felt pushed very hard, and goes, “Ohhhh I got someone for you then…” so I gave Rachel a try and instantly purchased several more sessions.
I’ve listened to a lot of podcasts that say big box commercial gyms are the way of the past, and new functional gyms (like crossfit) are the way of the future and I get that because the workouts we do really don’t include machines. But really, if you find the right person – who cares? I’m sure there are still crappy trainers who do crossfit out there, too. But lots of trainers will do the first workout free (much like my failed attempt at LA Fitness a couple months ago).
Yes, it can be expensive. Arg. So expense. But it also can be affordable. When Rachel wasn’t affiliated with a gym, we set our own price and I just paid her (which worked out for both of us). Or when she’s been at a gym, I buy a package (and they usually negotiate it down a little).
I’m somebody who likes a team of experts in my life. I need my trainer and my chiropractor and my physical therapist and my massage therapist and my hair stylist, etc etc…people I can rely on so that I don’t have to do it all myself. So hopefully in a couple months I’ll be rocking out those pushups and pull-ups…