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Hiring a personal trainer used to be a luxury reserved for the rich and famous. But working out with one today is incredibly accessible. And there’s a lot more to the relationship than just forcing you to do burpees against your will.

If you’ve been thinking about hiring a trainer, you’re probably wondering if working out with a personal trainer is worth the price and time commitment. I’m here to tell you that if you have fitness-related goals or generally want to get healthier, hiring a personal trainer might very well be worth it. Here’s why.

What Does a Personal Trainer Do?

A personal trainer’s role is to get people moving and establish healthy lifestyle changes by enhancing physical fitness.  

A personal trainer will design an exercise plan to:

  • Promote weight loss
  • Increase strength
  • Maintain a healthy fitness regimen
  • Improve overall physical performance that aligns with goals

In addition to the obvious exercise-related component of a personal training relationship, a good trainer will also:

  • Provide basic nutritional advice
  • Ensure a safe fitness environment
  • Demonstrate proper form to reduce the potential for injury
  • Help decide an effective training schedule you can actually stick to
  • Hold you accountable for showing up
  • Push you to your limits in a healthy way

While a personal trainer can do many things, you’ve gotta draw the line somewhere. The following are outside of a trainer’s scope of practice. Seek out your medical professional if you need assistance with:

  • Diagnosing illness or treating any disease
  • Prescribing supplements or diets
  • Rehabbing client injuries

What Should I Look for When Hiring a Personal Trainer?

If you think hiring a personal trainer seems like the right move for you, it’s a good idea to assess potential trainers on the following criteria.

  • Certification: Any personal trainer you work with should have education or a certification accredited by a certifying body like the NCCA. ACE* and NASM are two of the most popular and recognized CPT certifications. Through the process of certification, trainers learn how to safely create and execute exercise programs. Plus, they’ll also have to be CPR/AED certified too.
  • Coaching Philosophy and Specialization: It will be easiest to establish rapport with a trainer who shares your vision of training and specializes in your areas of interest. If you’re looking to gain strength and enjoy high-intensity training, you may not want to work with a trainer specializing in long-distance runners.
  • Cost: As with many situations in life, going for the cheapest option may not always be the most brilliant move. (Ever had a $5.99 haircut or gas station sushi?) You generally get what you pay for. And a trainer who is only charging $40 per hour may not be bringing their best selves to every session. Included in the cost is the prep work a personal trainer needs to do to get ready for each session. That includes creating your workout plan and setting up equipment before you arrive. Plus the work following each session, like cleaning up, logging your weights, tracking progress, and updating your goals. When you actually consider all that goes into it, the cost isn’t actually for an hour, it’s a multi-hour process to ensure you have the best experience possible.
  • Personality: If you’re going to elect (and pay) to hang out with someone and train a few hours a week, you’d better make sure it’s someone you like! A trainer is there to help you make gains physically, but they can serve as a friend and sometimes therapist too. You want your trainer to be personable, relatable, and someone that you generally enjoy being around. Otherwise, you may decide that spending 3 hours a week with an insensitive meathead isn’t worth the money.

Is Hiring a Personal Trainer Worth it?

Ultimately, it’s up to you to decide if the price of a great trainer is worth the potential benefits to your health. It’s also worth mentioning that you should only invest in a trainer if you’re mentally and emotionally ready to take that step. A trainer isn’t going to give you instant motivation or make you love working out if you never have before. But a great trainer will:

  • Push you harder than you’d push yourself:  Admittedly, some days I know I should do more, but I just don’t have it in me. Having a coach tell me what I need to do is so valuable and definitely pushes me to my limits.
  • Help you set achievable goals:  Personal trainers are well-versed in the art of SMART goal-setting. That means crafting goals that are specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and time-bound. Instead of endlessly circling the drain of “I’d like to lose weight”, a trainer can help you shift towards “I’d like to lose 1-2 pounds a week by cutting out late-night snacking, working with my trainer 2 days a week, and hitting my step goal 6 days each week.”
  • Measure progress towards your goals:  Sometimes goals get made, and then they fall off into the abyss, never to be seen again. A trainer can help you track progress towards your goals by helping you with weigh-ins, measurements, re-doing specific workouts to test changes in strength, or simply keeping track of your workout attendance.

Plus, if your personal trainer is also a certified health coach (hi, that’s me!), they can generally guide you towards making positive behavior change as well. More bang for your metaphorical buck!

The Bottom Line

Personal trainers do a lot more than just meet you in the gym for an hour-long workout session. They also spend time prepping and creating workout plans designed for your body and needs. Plus, they constantly encourage you to make healthy choices in all aspects of your life and completely change how you feel about health and wellness.

If you’ve had wellness goals for a while but just can’t seem to hit them, working out with a personal trainer might be the kickstart you need to get moving.

Are you located in the Charleston, SC area and interested in working with a personal trainer? Want to discuss an online personal training relationship? Contact me to learn more.

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