If you're thinking of hiring a personal trainer, here's three things to bear in mind to make sure it's the right decision for you
I've been working as a personal trainer for over ten years now. The lessons I've learned about the way we all operate, behave and think as human beings have proved invaluable to me and only make me want to increase and develop my knowledge further, in order to get the best results for every client I work with.
That being said, I hold my hands up and admit that I cannot help everybody. Not just because there aren't enough hours in a week, but because hiring a personal trainer is not always the right decision for every person. And the trainer does have to be the right match to every person.
When new people meet me for a consultation, I let them know whether I'm the right person to help them. I'm fortunate enough to have built up a small network of health professionals, who I believe are the best in the industry, to refer people to if I believe they are the better solution for what they need at this time.
So why do so many people think having a personal trainer will solve their fat-loss and fitness problems?
To the majority of people who are unhappy with the way they look, the idea of having somebody there basically working for you, to 'keep you on track' is pretty sexy. Having a personal trainer these days is no longer a luxury service only available to the elite/uber-wealthy. So no wonder it remains so appealing!
If you have ever thought of, or often think that you might like to hire a personal trainer, I believe it only fair to make you aware of three of the biggest misconceptions, before you decide.
As I can't speak for all personal trainers, I write this article with two assumptions: the first is that the personal trainer you are thinking of hiring is totally 100% honest with you, and not trying to sell you a dream, program, product, potion or pill and also has the ability to drop their own ego, putting YOU first.
This also assumes the trainer you have in mind is fully qualified, insured and appropriately educated (many 'qualifications' can be purchased online, if in doubt you can always ask to see your trainer's certificates.)
The second is the assumption that you are prepared to be honest, not just to your trainer but with yourself. It's so easy to fall into the trap of paying lip service, editing a food diary or telling your trainer what you think they want to hear, especially if you have worked with them for a while and think you know what they are going to ask you.
As YOU are the important person, you are therefore the only person who will end up being let down.
Misconception Number 1) No Accountability
If after a sufficient amount of time of starting with your trainer, you haven't lost any inches, fall of the wagon with your exercise routine, relapse by eating a couple of biscuits or drink too many glasses of wine over the weekend, of course it's pretty easy to blame your trainer. After all, they're the one responsible, right?
It is you and ONLY you who is responsible. Any decent trainer will make you aware of your accountability and how you can take ownership of your choices. Nothing changes, if nothing changes. You can then learn to change your behaviours in order to create new, healthier habits, something your trainer is there to help you with.
Blaming your personal trainer for a lack of results only demonstrates a lack of personal responsibility. It is YOU who is putting the food in your mouth, YOU who decides whether to exercise and YOU making each decision every day, not your trainer.
The minute you embrace your accountability, you will start to identify where you may have previously gone wrong, can then start to make better choices and then end up living a healthier and happier life.
Unfortunately, I've met many trainers who shun this idea, mainly because they want their clients to be dependent on them. After all, if the client reaches their goals then they won't need their trainer any more, so then what will?!
I believe any decent trainer will educate you, providing you with the tools to embrace a new healthier lifestyle. Choosing to continue this new life without your trainer is again one more choice to take ownership of, and for your trainer to be proud of!
Misconception Number 2) Magical thinking
If you believe hiring a personal trainer will give you access to a multitude of 'magic secrets' or 'inner circle' tricks that the rest of the general public don't know about then you are doing just that: magical thinking!
The difference between the people who achieve great results (and keep them) through long-term lifestyle change, and those who yoyo basically comes down to three things: hard work, consistency and commitment/discipline. No magic secrets.
Although your trainer can keep you motivated and offer encouragement and support, all the motivation you have will mean nothing without any discipline. Your discipline will still be there whether you wake up feeling motivated or not, meaning you'll still commit to your workouts and healthy eating choices on days even when you don't feel like it!
As a trainer, this is why I do not believe in prescriptive plans. If a client contacts me looking for a diet plan, I explain why in my experience how these do not and will not work in the long term. I aim to promote a healthy, balanced and relaxed approach to food and activity, that a person can embrace for the rest of their life as they continue to grow on every level.
Diets don't allow this, because as soon as a person comes off one, they more often than not revert back to their previous way of living and remain stuck in a yoyo cycle. Fun way to live, right?!
Misconception Number 3) Money will be your motivator
Many people I've met have used this way of thinking for joining a gym. You're paying for it every month, so surely that's reason enough to go regularly...right?
If this was true, just think how overcrowded every gym would be!
Enough people jump on the gym bandwagon, often as a new years resolution or just before the summer bikini season, believing that paying the money will be enough motivation to get their butts out the door to start going at least three/four/five times a week.
We all know just how easily life can get in the way. Having a personal trainer differs in that it may initially feel easier to commit to. You've made an appointment with that person and spent money on them, so surely that will be enough to get you results.
Unfortunately, that trainer is not with you 24 hours a day seven days a week. Whereas that one/two hours a week spent with your trainer is taken care of, what happens the rest of the time is still up to you.
Just because you have spent money on a personal trainer, does not guarantee you will get results. Nor will this money spent buy you happiness or a slimmer physique.
Hiring a personal trainer should be viewed as an investment in your health, an opportunity for furthering your education, learning some healthier ways of living and provide you with a range of tools to cultivate a healthier and happier life and begin thriving.
I hope this article has helped you understand the true purpose of a personal trainer, and cleared up a few of the misconceptions that are associated with hiring one. Every client I train that experiences great results hasn't done so without hard work. Just have a look at their stories and what they've learned about themselves and continue to learn along the way.
You should hopefully now know exactly what to expect, what your trainer can and can't do for you and have the confidence to share with your trainer any concerns that you may have. After all, it is YOU who is the important person, so just make sure your trainer is fully aware of that at all times too 😉