In a time where we can find answers to any questions, tutorials for any task and research to back any claim, not to mention endless hours of entertainment, it’s harder and harder for the lay person to find reasons to hire an expensive professional unless they are in the most dire of circumstances. However, most occupations that require a professional do so because there is usually a lot more involved in the process than people realize. During client intake assessments, more often than not, the person I’m talking to has already been exercising in some way, but has not produced the results they were looking for. Most of them have tried extreme, restrictive, or trendy diets, but have been unable to adhere to them or sustain their results. Some have lost weight, but still aren’t feeling very good because of their lack of muscle mass. Many have obtained great initial results, but have plateaued and are not sure how to bring their fitness to the next level. In almost every case, these people have tried to do things on their own. While this can work out and good information is definitely out there and accessible, your journey has the potential to be much more smooth, efficient, and enjoyable if you start with a qualified trainer. So without further ado, some indications this route may be your best option:
- You are new to, or otherwise unacquainted with, a variety of the aspects of fitness. Are you familiar with the types of cardiovascular conditioning, modalities of weight training, alternative exercises to keep you in shape around injuries or other restrictions, recovery needs based of CNS taxation, and basic nutrition concepts (based in science, not what you saw in the latest article on Facebook)? This is just the tip of the iceberg. If any of these concepts sound daunting or unfamiliar, that’s ok! However, you may want to consider hiring someone already well-versed in these and other concepts rather than try to navigate them all on your own.
- You need accountability. A trainer can be friendly, but is not your friend (when in coaching mode). Friends might let you get away with slacking off, giving half effort, and altogether becoming inconsistent and mediocre. A trainer will have set expectations and is in a position of authority. You will be expected to show up on time and ready to work. You will be expected to work around your challenges and excuses. Your results in workouts and weigh ins will be tracked and your progress will reflect your effort without biases. You will be observed and pushed. On top of all this, you are paying for your coaching, so you’ll have extra incentive to get your money’s worth out of your sessions.
- You are accountable and familiar with fitness concepts, but you’re stuck. Your results have plateaued and although you’ve tried to mix things up a bit, you’re not seeing any progress. This would be a good time to hire a coach. They will be able to use their knowledge of bodily systems, adaptation, nutrition and training variation and modalities to help you make progress toward your specific goals. Again, this may be something you are able to find on your own, and if you can and it works out, great! But again, your results may come more quickly and your workouts may be more efficient if you are able to find a coach to help you skip the extensive research and subsequent programming processes.
- You’re lacking consistency and motivation. This ties in with accountability in many ways. Motivation comes and goes, so you can’t realistically rely on it to sustain a lifestyle. That’s where consistency comes in. If you are not able to be consistent, you will fail. Your motivation will wane and you’ll find more and more excuses to skip workouts and indulge in comfort foods. A trainer can act as a lighthouse in these circumstances, giving you direction, tips, and accountability to help you establish consistency, eventually leading to a lasting lifestyle change. They can also help rekindle motivation by helping you see your progress, reminding you of your goals, and providing a good example. Disclaimer: the drive to change should be intrinsic or it will not last. While a trainer may help you get started, the idea is not to have one your entire life. You, as clients, are our baby birds. In due time, you must learn to leave the nest and fly alone.
- You want constructive feedback. This is for those who are more advanced in the fitness lifestyle. You make progress, you’re consistent, you have a solid foundation of the essentials, and you’ve made health a lifestyle. Congratulations! However, none of us are perfect and we all have room for improvement. It’s also hard to actually watch yourself workout from every angle. Really, whether it’s in the gym or the kitchen, we could all use an outside source to provide helpful cues that’ll aid our performance.
Ultimately, what it all comes down to is save yourself some time and headache (and possibly some money)! Hire a professional. It doesn’t necessarily have to be long term, but vet your options, think about your specific goals and search for someone you are confident will help you get there and teach you along the way.