We get it. You don’t need a babysitter at the gym. And yes, you’ve heard of YouTube. But sometimes, an hour with a personal trainer is worth 10 on Google. These are some of those times:
- You’re on deadline. The sooner you start training for that triathlon, bike race or other athletic event, the better. And before you start specializing, it’s good to build foundational skills, experts say. A few sessions with a fitness coach can get you started with a well-rounded routine to build your strength and endurance, which means you’ll get more out of your training without risk of injury.
- You’re piggybacking on someone else’s workout. Watching the big kids at the gym seems like a no-brainer, until: a) It turns out they don’t know what they’re doing. b) They have different training needs than you (different body type, goals, strength level). c) They notice you watching them. Even just a few express sessions with a trainer can get you up to speed on all the equipment and what to do with those free weights, as well as create a customized routine for you so you don’t feel like you’re having a fitness identity crisis.
- You plateaued—and won’t admit it. In the early stages of a fitness routine, you can often lose weight with simple resistance exercises and a prance on the treadmill. But these quickly stop producing results. A trainer will help you graduate from the old stand-bys and incorporate more complex and challenging exercises in your lineup, so you can get back on track. They can also help you analyze other factors outside the gym that could be hindering your progress. Lifestyle coaching will be a big trend in 2012, according to ACE, and more trainers will be equipped to provide wellness, nutrition and stress-management advice on top of fitness training.
- You hate push-ups. Girls and boys tend to get a little unbalanced in their workouts: men focus on upper-body exercises because that’s where they’re strongest, and women focus on lower-body workouts because that’s where we’re strongest. Some one-on-one time with a trainer will ensure that you’re getting a balanced workout and doing things you might not normally do, but that are critical to seeing results.
- You could use an ego boost. Training with intensity gives both men and women a testosterone-boost, which improves confidence levels. And sometimes we need a drill sergeant to push ourselves that hard. If you have a phobia of heavy weights, sweating or “feeling the burn”—which you need to push through to get results, NYTimes says—then a trainer can help you safely into pain and gain territory.
And hey, there are also those times when you DO need a babysitter. Old habits die hard. If you’re struggling with some bad habits, it does help having someone to keep you accountable a few times a week until you’ve changed your way of thinking. Many trainers also provide extra technology-based support and tips via text message, email or mobile-based apps between sessions.