Fit Tip Friday: 10 Ways a Personal Trainer Can Help You Reach Your Health & Fitness Goals

F-F-F-FFFRRIIIDAAAAYYY!!

There’s a few reasons I’m so excited about it being Friday even though I still have two more days of work until my weekend.

For one, in exactly one week I will be surrounded by thousands of other Seawheeze-ers and limited edition Lululemon gear, shopping to my heart’s content. I’ve got blogging and Instagram friends I’m looking forward to meeting, I’m stoked to get my yoga on, and I guess I’m excited for the run too 😉

I ran a pain-free 12.3-miler (just over 20km for my fellow Canadians) on Monday and am no longer dreading the actual run. On top of that I’ve got a 5 day weekend surrounding Seawheeze (yippee!) so I’m just one day closer to that.

AND since it’s Friday I get to share a Fit Tip with you lovely readers, and you all know how much I love blabbing about fitness 😉

Today I’d like to toot my own horn, as well as the horns of my fellow Personal Trainers, and give you ten ways a Personal Trainer can help you reach your health and fitness goals.

In today’s world we have access to such a large database of information. We can find free training plans online, free meal plans, and even free personal trainer apps. There’s a plethora of at-home exercise programs that claim to give you all the tools you need to get a ripped body in only 90 days.

So with all of these free and low-cost options. why invest the money AND time into your own Personal Trainer?

#1. These programs are all GENERIC. Sure, you can find programs that are designed to build muscle, programs that are designed to blast body fat, paleo meal plans, vegan meal plans, raw vegan paleo meal plans. But “the best way to burn fat” doesn’t exist and what works for some will not necessarily work for others.

Your body may respond better to low-rep heavy-weight strength training as opposed to the high-rep minimal-weight styles of training touted by many trendy Fitness Gurus. Conversely, the popular 5×5 programs may not be suitable for those just beginning their weight training endeavours. Having a Personal Trainer devise a program that is based solely on you, your body, your goals, and your lifestyle will save you a lot of time and potential frustration.

#2. While there may be hundreds of these free programs online, anyone can create them and there are no standards guiding what types of information can be shared. There are lots of peer-reviewed scientific journals online that provide valuable information, but many of them are not available to the general public, and those that are contain a ton of confusing language. It’s only natural that we turn to blogs and websites written by those that at least make themselves appear knowledge to obtain our information.

“Will I gain more weight if I ate a tablespoon of Yak Butter or drank a soda?” – unanimously they would say Yak Butter. But they’re wrong. Your body has no idea what the hell to do with the soda, so this floats through your body, and it stores it as inflammation, which is a very important word that needs to be understood correctly.

See? What the hell is that? Stored as inflammation? I could rant about the article this quote came from for hours but I’ll stop here.

Your Personal Trainer should only be sharing FACTS based on science with you. Yes there are always new developments and no, not everything in the world of science is an absolute. But theories and ideas that are backed up by research and experience have much more credibility than the latest health trend someone read from a random blog. Hopefully by working with your Personal Trainer you can begin to think critically about the information you hear as well.

#3. If it was just a matter of eating well and exercising, everybody would have the body they desire and be void of health issues. Clearly that’s not the case. What many people need is ACCOUNTABILITY.

Knowing that someone else expects them to get their ass to the gym to do a workout on their own. Knowing they have someone to fess up to after drinking a 12 case and eating an entire bag of tortilla chips (I could have really benefited from a trainer on this one between the ages of  18 and 21). Knowing that by hitting snooze and missing their training session, they’ll not only disappoint themselves, but also someone else.

#4. Let’s say you’re comfortable with a few basic exercises. Squats, lunges, shoulder presses, maybe the lat pull-down. If you’re doing the same things over and over again, not only is your progress going to stall, you’re probably also going to get bored. Us Personal Trainers have tons of tricks up our sleeves to make an exercise different or more difficult, many of them involving just minor tweaks in hand placement or muscular contractions.

Take the lat pull-down for example. You can perform it with a wide overhand grip, a narrow overhand grip, an underhand grip, or use the triangle attachment. As you pull down, pretend you’re squeezing lemons in your armpits to really engage those lats.

#5. Wanna know a great way to injure yourself? Continue to do an exercise incorrectly time and time again, placing unnecessary stress on your joints and tendons. Teaching proper form and working to prevent injuries is arguably a Personal Trainer’s most important responsibility.

When I first started my fitness journey I completed a 90 day at-home program. One of the squat cues led me to believe my knees needed to be way over my toes, a big no-no in most cases. After squatting like this three times a week for three months  I was fortunate not to have done any serious damage to my knees, but I can still feel a little twinge in my right knee after a day of heavy squatting or a long run.

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#6. One of my favourite parts of being a Personal Trainer is also acting as a Personal Cheerleader. I love encouraging my clients to bang out just a couple more reps when they think they’re done and celebrating a super badass set with them. Your Personal Trainer should be there right by your side, cheering you on and reveling in your successes with you. Because ultimately, if you’re happy, your Trainer is happy.

#7. Have you ever experienced feelings of nervousness or unease when walking into a weight room, unsure as to what to do with all of the equipment? A Personal Trainer can help ease those fears by teaching you about the different types of equipment and showing you what to do with all that crazy stuff. After spending some time with a Trainer, walking into the weight room and playing with the dumbbells on your own ain’t gonna be no thang.

You may also get the chance to try out some new equipment you never would have on your own. The kettlebells look cool, but maybe you don’t know what to do with them. For the longest time I thought the TRX would be super fun to try, but until someone showed me what to do with it I was worried I’d get tangled up in it.

It’s human nature to feel uncomfortable trying out new things on our own in front of a room full of people, or especially in my case, to feel too shy to ask someone for help. By working with a Trainer you’ll get an opportunity to try new things you may never have touched on your own. Which can lead to….

#8. An increased belief in yourself! I don’t know how many times I’ve asked a client to try something new and they’ve immediately responded with “I can’t do that”. 10 times out of 10 they do it. If successfully completing something you JUST told yourself you couldn’t do isn’t the most empowering and motivating feeling ever, I don’t know what is. As your knowledge about your body and exercise grows, your confidence in your ability to perform certain tasks will increase. For many, this translates to increased confidence outside the gym when tackling an array of life’s problems.

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#9. Many Trainers, myself included, want to connect their clients to make a big network of fitness and fun. It can be tough when you’re all gung-ho about eating well and exercising and your friends couldn’t give less of a shit. Your Trainer can give you an opportunity to connect with like-minded people, whether it’s through message boards online, in between sessions, or on group outings.

#10. Personal Trainers who make health a priority and live an active life have knowledge that goes beyond exercise and nutrition science. We’ve struggled to find time to fit our own workouts in, to eat well on a budget, and to balance a dedication to personal fitness goals with personal relationships. It took some time, but I figured out ways to make my healthy feel not only simple, but also enjoyable. A Personal Trainer can save you a lot of frustration and potential “fuck it”s by sharing some simple lifestyle hacks that can make exercising and eating well much easier.

A Personal Trainer is viewed as a luxury by many, something the average person just doesn’t need. This couldn’t be further from the truth (because NONE of you are just the average person! 😉 ). Everybody can benefit from learning how to exercise to reach their goals. Everybody can benefit from the motivation to continue working when they feel like giving up. And everybody deserves to have someone listen to them complain about not wanting to stick to their exercise program over the summer months (and then get a gentle kick in the ass to continue to do so despite this).

A Personal Trainer requires an investment in both time and money, but the payout can far exceed the sacrifices you had to make to get there. You can reduce the risk of many lifestyle diseases just by exercising and implementing some dietary changes, type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and hypertension to name just a few. And with the way the industry is moving there are a variety of options to suit many goals, budgets, and time constraints.

As with any industry, there’s a lot of shitty trainers but there’s also A LOT of trainers who really do give a shit about you. If you’ve been toying with the idea of hiring a Personal Trainer, do some research and find one that will work for you. You deserve to feel good!

A few snippets of this post were taken from my new website I just had built which I’m very excited about! Head on over here to check it out and let me know what you think.

So what are your thoughts? Any hesitations I haven’t addressed here? Have you ever worked with a trainer before? If so, what was your experience like? 

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