What Can a Personal Trainer Do for You?
by Cynthia M. Johnson, MA
Anyone can benefit from working with a certified personal trainer. People may hire trainers for:
What You Should Expect
In your first meeting, the trainer should spend time listening to your goals, exercise history, likes, dislikes, and barriers. This can help your trainer design a program just for you. If the trainer spends the first session having you workout without asking these things, then look for a different trainer.
The next step is to assess your fitness. Your trainer may measure your body fat, weigh you, and check your blood pressure and heart rate. The trainer may also test your strength, flexibility, and cardiovascular fitness. It all depends on your goals.
These meetings will help your trainer assess your needs to determine what plan would work best for you. They also give you a way to mark your progress, so follow-up meetings.
Your trainer should give you exercises to do, teach you how to do them the right way, vary your exercises regularly, and challenge and motivate you. Expect your trainer to watch your exercises to check your form. Document your workouts so you and your trainer can track your progress. These things will allow the trainer to safely push your limits for the best results.
If you have any health problems or are recovering from an injury, tell your trainer. A trainer will help you adjust your program or design a new one for temporary problems like injury recovery or pregnancy. Safety steps will help you stay fit until you are back to full health.
People with problems like arthritis, heart disease, or diabetes can consult with a trainer to learn about the fitness routines that may be best for them. Trainers can also watch for any negative effects to exercise that are common to a person's health problem. They can suggest alternatives. A fitness program can help many people with chronic health problems improve quality of life. They may just need special guidelines. Always check with your doctor before starting an exercise routine.
When You Stop Seeing Results
Many exercisers experience have times when they stop seeing results. They may have a sudden period with little or no change. A trainer can help people push past this issue.
The trainer will ask questions to find out where the snag may be. If the exercise program seems right, then diet or lack of sleep may be the cause.
An updated program and lifestyle changes can have you back on track toward your goals in no time.
A trainer should not be giving clients a diet but should know about nutrition. Your trainer should ask you about your diet if your progress is less than you both expect.
Many people cut back on calories when they start a program because they are often trying to lose weight as well. This doesn't give the body enough to burn during their exercise program. Your trainer can refer you to a nutritionist, if needed.
Go, Go, Go
Motivation can be tough to find in the early morning hours or after a long day of work. Having set appointments with your trainer encourages you to get up and get going. Also, if you miss an appointment or call to cancel, you're going to have to explain why and may still need to pay for the session.
The trainer will keep an eye on your intensity level while you work out. If you are not at your best, the trainer will give you a push so that you get the most benefit. This will help you see results.
The gym may not appeal to you. Some trainers will come to your house. It depends on your location.
There are many exercises that can be done without gym equipment. A creative trainer can design a program around your resources. When looking for a home trainer, ask about equipment needs and types of exercises that you will be doing. You may need to buy some equipment or your trainer may bring some to your home.
The Right One
Above all, what you should expect from your trainer is a personal program. The trainer should be able to work with you to build one that moves you toward your goals, suits your interests, and fits into your life. You will still need to put in the effort, but your program should reflect your preferences not the trainer's.
Check the certifications and education of any trainer. Then, look for someone you would enjoy working with. Finally, talk to the trainer before your first session. The trainer should be listening to you. If you don't feel like you've been heard, you should keep looking.
American College of Sports Medicine
American Council on Exercise
Canadian Society for Exercise Physiology
How to choose the right personal trainer. American Council on Exercise website. Available at: https://www.acefitness.org/education-and-resources/lifestyle/blog/6624/how-to-choose-the-right-personal-trainer. Accessed October 14, 2021.
What can I expect when working with a personal trainer? American Council on Exercise website. Available at: https://www.acefitness.org/education-and-resources/lifestyle/blog/65/working-with-a-personal-trainer-what-to-expect. Accessed October 14, 2021.
Last reviewed October 2021 by EBSCO Medical Review Board
Last Updated: 10/14/2021