Over the past two years, I’ve committed more to my personal fitness and ensuring I stick to a regular fitness schedule. (Up until then I was generally a fair-weathered gym rat. I’d go hard for a few weeks, then get sick, discouraged, bored or busy and I wouldn’t set foot in the gym again for months.) The first thing I did to kick my butt into gear this time was sign up for a few sessions with a personal trainer, since it’s a lot harder to slack off when you have someone you have to be accountable to. While I may have had unrealistic expectations entering into the trainer-trainee relationship (I still do not have those rock-hard abs I wanted), I have learned some valuable lessons:
1. Not all trainers are created equal
I started off with a trainer who wasn’t necessarily the best fit for the goals I wanted to reach. I was looking to tone, while he put me through some rigorous power lifting sessions. I definitely built muscle, but I also bulked up. The program he had designed for me was also unrealistic for what I would be willing to do. Lifting weights so heavy that I was sore for as many as four days afterward made me want to go even less frequently’and don’t get me started on the diet recommendations he made. I eventually made the switch to a second trainer who has a training style that’s much more suitable for me. Instead of heavy lifting, we focus a lot on plyometrics to help rev up my metabolism, burn fat and generally tone what I’ve already got. The schedule is similar to the first trainer’s (visit the gym at least three times per week on my own) but much more manageable thanks to the type of workout I’m doing each time.
2. Knowing how to properly use the machines makes a difference
Perhaps the number one thing I’ll have taken away from these personal training sessions is knowledge. I’m genuinely interested in how muscles work and I make sure to ask questions when I’m given a new exercise so I know exactly what it’s doing for me. And knowing the correct position to put a machine in, how much weight I should be lifting, and overall how each works, makes the whole gym atmosphere a lot less intimidating. I can comfortably walk into the weights room at the gym and go about my workout because I’m not fumbling and trying to figure out what I’m trying to do.
3. You’re still the one who has to put in the hard work
While I have found several benefits to working out with a trainer, the fact remains’you’re still the one who has to put in the work. Working out once a week with a trainer isn’t likely to get you the results you’re looking for. You have to be committed and willing to do the workouts they recommend on your own time as well.