I’ve been working out on and off for years. I don’t work out for the same reasons as those who actually enjoy physical activity. In fact, I’m probably one of the most unathletic and uncoordinated people you’ll ever meet. I can’t even do a somersault. I run worse than a girl. I fall when I’m standing still. You get the picture.
However, I do like the results of working out. I like feeling powerful and fit, and let’s be honest, lean and muscular looking. Plus, as I get older, I know how important it is to build muscle and do functional exercises so I can stay limber and keep my bones and joints in good working order (who wants to get all creaky and hobble around?)
I always thought I knew what I was doing in the gym. I would do my cardio and my weights and I would sweat, and everything was great. But then I would get bored or demotivated or busy and I would stop. I would become sedentary and flabby again. And when I would start back at the gym or in my basement or wherever, it was like being at square one again.
Square one is the worst. It’s when everything you do is hard and you’re sore all the time and you don’t want to do it because you’re tired and it hurts and you have so many other things you’d rather do like anything else (except housework. Square One is still better than housework.)
This time when I decided to hit the gym again I got smart and signed up for a bunch of sessions with a personal trainer. Being with the trainer has made all the difference in the world.
- You learn how to do it right. I thought I knew what I was doing, especially because I took the course for personal training a few years ago (I never took the exam because I couldn’t remember the difference between flex and contract). But what I found out was that there were a few key problems with my form that needed correcting and also that I wasn’t working out efficiently (2 hrs at the gym is WAY too much for the average exerciser, which was why I was burning out.) My trainer has helped me correct my form and understand how to maximize my time at the gym with productive and functional exercises.
- You are eased through Square One. When you’re sore and it’s hard and it hurts you don’t want to do it. A good trainer understands that you’re in pain and it’s difficult, but helps you through the hard parts so you can see the forest through the trees. She should know how to baby you while being tough at the same time. It’s sort of like having a workout buddy that knows what they’re doing.
- They don’t listen to your BS. This is a person you’re paying to be mean to you. They don’t want to hear your excuses or reasons why you can’t do something. If you only work out once a week at your training session they will tell you that’s why you’re not getting fitter. If you’re still stuffing your face with junk food they’ll raise their eyebrows and remind you that 80 % of weight loss is in the kitchen. Your trainer won’t flatter you and tell you you’re pretty unless you deserve it. But when they do give you a compliment (like today when mine told me I’m getting ‘fitter’ and dared me to do the P90x abs workout) you know they mean it.
- You’ll see results faster. They went to school for this. They should be certified and understand the mechanics of fitness and muscles and stuff like that. They’ll take time to know your body and what makes it tick and what it’s strengths and weaknesses are. Once they’ve done that, and created your program accordingly, the changes will come, trust me.
- You have an appointment so you have to go. There are always days when you don’t feel like working out or doing anything. When you have a standing appointment and someone is counting on you to be there and you’re PAYING them to be there, you have to show up. It’s human nature.
- You’re PAYING for it. Dollars are the greatest motivator. Training is expensive. Worth it, but expensive. I don’t know about you, but I like to get my money’s worth. I work harder when I’m with my trainer and I squeeze every second out of our sessions (literally).
- They push you. My trainer doesn’t have “no” or “I can’t do it” in his vocabulary. If he tells me to do 12 reps and it’s hard and I stop after 10, he forces me to do two more. Sometimes I do two extra just to ‘show’ him I can. Which is probably his plan.
- They challenge you to do crazy things. A good trainer isn’t going to just have you do machines and bicep curls. You can do those on your own. Their job is to provide you with exercises that are new and need to be performed under supervision (and/or coercion). If I give mine an “are you crazy” look he just gives me one back. And then I’m forced to try whatever he’s cooked up for me. And you know what, usually I manage to do it. I can do all sorts of things now that I couldn’t (or was scared to) do before.
- They make it fun. If you can find a trainer that you click with, working out turns into a laughfest. Even though mine makes me do horrible things like one-legged squats and plyometric lunges and really fast squats with 60 lbs on my back and burpees with weights, the time seems to fly by.
- They force you to improve. If an exercise is too easy, my trainer knows how to make it harder. He will always add more weight onto the barbells than I would do on my own. As I become fitter, he knows how to push me to the next level. For example, now that I’m stronger from the functional exercises, we’re working on my balance with plyometrics.
I couldn’t do jump onto this box two months ago, whether it was a physical block or mental one, I’m not sure. But I can do it now. Like 20 times in a row.
Have you ever worked out with a trainer? Would you consider one?
photo credit: MarkKoeber via photopin cc