Friday, April 23, 2010

Is a Personal Trainer Worth the Expense?

Personal trainers aren't cheap and in these economically challenged times most of us think carefully before we spend our hard earned cash. I've been indulgent and have been going to a trainer for the past 8 months. Do I think it's worth it?

If you are seriously committed to achieving your goal of having a healthy, well-toned body, the right trainer it is worth every penny. Mine happens to be the best - a cross between a mother hen and a drill sergeant. Stephanie hovers over me, making sure I am doing each exercise correctly and with the proper form. She rarely takes her eyes off me, as though I'm her baby chick. The next moment she is all demands, the stereotypical drill sergeant, pushing me to work harder than I thought possible, and then unrelentingly ordering me do it all over again... and again! Just when I am able to do a task well, she makes it even more difficult! She knows exactly what I need.

Stephanie isn't my first trainer but she's by far the best. Perhaps a woman understands what my body needs more than a man and she doesn't push me further than I am able to go, stopping just at my limit yet constantly challenging me.

Getting stronger, feeling those hidden muscles growing, is quite a satisfying experience. I might never be content with my body but the differences are apparent and I love feeling those new muscles. Where have they been all my life and why have I waited so long to use them?

If you've never worked with a trainer you probably have some questions. How much does a trainer cost? How often should I train? How do I pick the right trainer? What does a session consist of? When will I see results?

Personal trainers charge between $40 to $70 and up, per hourly session. My sessions are thirty minutes long, twice a week. This is enough time to work a specific area of the body, especially if you follow the session with some cardio. Between time, you'll find me at the gym at least five times a week, engaged in different activities. Don't forget that those challenged muscles need time to recover.

Finding the right trainer is the key. They're easy to find, just ask at your local gym or look on Craig's List, but finding the right trainer might take some work. At the gym, it's fairly easy. The folks in charge should be able to help match you with a trainer who'll meet your needs. Don't be afraid to try out a number of people until you find one that suits you. Of course, they need to be certified, but they also need to care about what they're doing and care about you. A trainer who just stands there and looks around while you work out really isn't what you need. He or she ought to have their eyes on you at least 95% of the time and be there when you need them. They should help set up a program which meets your needs as well as encourage and motivate you. The right attitude is essential.

Don't be afraid to request an interview with a prospective trainer. Make sure you are satisfied with the person you select. You might consider asking other people in the gym who they recommend. Look around and find people engaged in training sessions and watch from afar. You will soon be able to pick out the caring ones from the ones who are not so involved with their clients.

During my training sessions I target an area - it can be as specific as "legs" or as general as "lower body". I do a lot more arm work than anything else since they're my biggest problem area. For example, Tuesday we worked on legs, today arms, next time it will be the back. The other day we devoted the session to triceps. Anything goes, it's really up to you and your trainer.

What exactly do we do? I work with weights, resistance training on the machines and some floor exercises. There is almost always something new to master, it keeps things interesting and progressing. The actual types of exercises you do will vary, depending on your fitness goals.

How long does it take to see results? You should see some results in a month, sometimes less. Your endurance will increase and, if you are anything like me, you will come to enjoy the experience of fine tuning your body. To answer the question - is a personal trainer worth the expense? I suggest you book a few sessions and decide for yourself. Of course, a healthy diet goes hand in hand with exercise, together they are an unbeatable duo.


FOODalogue said...

I so admire your continued dedication to fitness. Good post.

River said...

I don't go to a gym anymore but I have my opinions as always :)

I think, especially for beginners, personal trainers can be priceless. Because a good trainer makes sure you don't do anything to hurt yourself and that is the number one thing you need when starting. And once you're getting more advanced I believe personal trainers can be the whip you need to accomplish what you want and do it the best way possible.

I have to say there a lot of "trainers" who dont know what they are doing. So whereever you go to gym, make sure they have the "right" (recommended) certificates or whatever it is they need to. You can never be too careful about your health!

I think your trainer looks cute in a good way. From what you wrote she sounds like she is hiding a "Jilian Michaels" inside of her soul and I like that :)

M said...

Great post! I've been thinking about getting certified when I prove to myself that I can lose and maintain good health.

Lucy said...

Good post. I think that so many people who want to lose weight do not realise that they key is usually in the fitness.

I use a personal trainer in a group environment: 8 of us "share" her. This means it is very economical. I have been working with her for 2 years now and she knows me almost as well as I know myself....physically and emotionally......and it works.

DUTA said...

I also have arm issue; so someone told me the other day the best and cheapest way to exercise your arms is to go back to the custom of carrying grocery bags in each hand, all the way from the store to your home.

Bobbie's Babbles said...

A personal trainer is an indulgence, but well worth it.

Jennifer@womanvfood said...

Great post, my husband and I were just discussing this topic and you've given some great advice.

Jess said...

That's awesome that you found an amazing trainer. I think I'm going to start studying to take my certification. I think it's really interesting to learn about all the muscle groups and I want to be able to help others with some sort of credibility. But that's beside the point.

The point is that it's wonderful that you have somebody who is in tune with you and can push you and stretch your limits. That's great that you've found your trainer! Keep it up!

Emilia said...

I LOVE my personal trainer, I've been working with him for a few short weeks. I'm new to free weights and floor exercises so I wanted someone that could help guide me in them, and when I'm doing weights with him compared to when I'm doing weights on my's so much harder! Definetly worth the money.

Nona said...

How fab that you have found a great trainer. Sounds as though you are getting great value for your money. I'm thinking of taking up kickboxing myself in a few months. I've always been interested in it from a self-defense point of view, but I hear that it gives a good workout too.

Katie J said...

I just started working with one and I really like her. I think that is the key. I can justify the expense because I got results right away and the fact that she is working on the areas that I want to and she does not seem to have an agenda like selling me more sessions. Good post!

Patrick said...

Blog surfing while watching the hockey game, Hawks Win!, and found your blog here. I am new to Blogger, just over a week blogging, as my wife & I work on yet another weight loss attempt. Enjoyed many of your posts I've read tonight; burning your britches was excellent. Looking forward to getting to move out the old and in some new clothes in a smaller size for a smaller me.

A couple years ago in a different effort to lose weight my wife & I had a trainer through the YMCA. She was resourceful and we learned a lot but eventually, after just a couple months at most, we quit going and that was the end of that try. Nothing the trainer did wrong, nothing but us just giving into the easy way out again there. That said, we aren't using a trainer as we get under way here this time. But I definitely can see looking into doing so again once we've dropped a few dozen pounds and have a good wind of momentum going. We'd be foolish to think we could do this on our own, hence why we are blogging our way here, and some professional help is certainly something to consider.

Just wanted to say hi and will follow on here!

Linda Pressman said...

This is a really interesting post, Ellen. I've always been a bit intimidated by the idea of a trainer but, ten years into my program, I guess I should face that any problem areas may be here to stay unless I change something in my exercise routine. Also, it might be fun to do joint sessions with a spouse!

♥ Kenz ♥ said...

It's funny how eating well and exercising works, isn't it? I had a trainer for a while then didn't for a while, etc. When I need to switch things up I go for it again...I think it makes sense, but only if you're serious and ready to work.

You are doing so well! You rock lady! :)

Carmen said...

Really great, informative post. I really miss going to the gym, I used to go almost every day but got kind of addicted to the buzz and was a mega grouch if I didn't get to go.

When I had my 3rd bubba it messed my already problematic back up good and proper so now can't do 'proper' exercise. Am hoping as the weight comes off again it may not be so bad but at the moment am making do with walking. Thinking about getting a wii as have heard the exercises on that are quite good.

Your trainer sounds like an amazing person... as do you by the way :)

Fashion Meets Food said...

I use to have a personal trainer. I lost a bunch of weight (too quickly) gained it back even faster. So i`m not really a fan of them. Maybe with a good trainer things would have been differently.

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