So you think you have all the proper exercise forms down pat. Maybe exercise is something you'd rather approach alone, in your own space, on your own time.
Maybe you just don’t need any more out-of-pocket expenses.
You can think of a myriad of reasons for why you don’t need (or can’t quite afford) a personal trainer to complement your workout routine. But you should seriously consider the many benefits of a trainer, not the least of which is injury avoidance.
“Exercise can be dangerous if done incorrectly. Most people can get away with horrible form for only a short time before an injury occurs,” says William Wunderlich, personal training coordinator at LifeBridge Health & Fitness. “Why waste your time with trial and error when you can find a personal trainer who can help make sure your workouts are being done the right way?”
Trainers are good not only for exercisers honoring a new year’s resolution, but also experienced workout warriors.
“Advanced exercisers may find it refreshing to have the watchful eye of a trainer,” Wunderlich says. “Having someone there to keep you accountable when you aren’t feeling up to the task is key. A trainer can also help you pump the breaks when the ego gets out of check.”
For advanced lifters, for instance, an objective point of view from a personal trainer often “gives insight into movements and protocols that will be beneficial” to further progress, Wunderlich says. “We are all creatures of habit. Sometimes we stick to the same exercises we like doing, which can become a problem,” he adds. “If you only do the exercises that you like and are good at, you will never reach your full potential.”
But do you need a trainer for every workout? It depends on you and what your goals are.
“Some people do need a trainer every single workout. As a trainer, I have clients who just want to show up, shut off their mind and want to be told what to do,” Wunderlich says. “I find that it really depends on what you are looking to get out of your time spent in the gym. You have to ask yourself, ‘What do I want to accomplish with my training? Am I willing to do what it takes to accomplish my goals?’”
In seeking the right trainer, it’s very helpful, if possible, to speak with some of the trainer’s previous clients to get a feel for his or her personality and approach, Wunderlich says.
Of course, you will want a trainer with the necessary knowledge and qualifications (National Strength & Conditioning Association certification is the gold standard, and the National Academy of Sports Medicine and The American College of Sports Medicine are also highly accredited certification bodies). “Does the trainer constantly seek information? Are they studying in their off time? Exercise and nutrition has come a long way over the years—is this trainer staying on top of the newest research?” Wunderlich says.
It makes all the sense in the world to pick a trainer who looks to be in good physical shape, though this can be a little tricky. “If your trainer is a marathoner, you cannot expect them to step on a bodybuilding stage. Similarly, if your trainer is a powerlifting athlete, you cannot expect them to be able to run a sub 5-minute mile,” Wunderlich says.
A good personal trainer should also be versed in adjusting workout plans as needed. “If you have injuries, your trainer should be able to adjust your program accordingly,” Wunderlich says.
When weighing the cost of a personal trainer (the national average cost of a personal training session ranges from $40 to $70, according to lessons.com), pondering potential medical costs resulting from workout-related injuries can make trainer fees seem more affordable, Wunderlich says.
“I will tell you what’s expensive: X-rays, MRIs and surgery. Those things are awfully expensive. Being in some sort of pain for an extended time due to an exercise-related injury, that’s expensive,” he says.
Still, many people have a budget to stick to. You should always keep an eye out for discounts. LifeBridge Health & Fitness, for example, regularly offers specials on personal training services, such as one that entitles those who have never trained with an on-staff trainer to a reduced price intro package to get started. “If you have a price point to stick to, we can figure out a package that would work for you,” Wunderlich says.
Another affordable option, Wunderlich says, is contacting a trainer for an evaluation and paying them to develop a workout program for you that can last, say, 8 to 16 weeks. “If you aren’t going to see a personal trainer on a consistent basis because it’s too expensive for you, then at least have a trainer check your form, help you develop a long-term workout program and answer any questions you might have,” Wunderlich says.
To learn more about personal training services at LifeBridge Health & Fitness, call 410-484-6800 or visit bestbaltimorefitness.com.