4 Reasons to Invest in a Personal Trainer at the Gym

When you join a gym, you may be offered a complimentary session with a personal trainer. Perhaps you’ve dismissed this opportunity before, figuring that you don’t want to be sold on more services when you’re already paying to use the gym. You might think that you know how to reach your fitness goals on your own. Maybe you don’t have a positive perception of personal trainers.

“It’s a common misconception that personal trainers are intimidating people who show up to yell at you while they look at a stopwatch,” says Kyle Blum, a personal trainer at UNC Wellness Centers. “We’re actually there to help you better enjoy the experience of working out.”

Blum shares some of the ways that personal trainers can help you on your fitness journey.

1. You need motivation and accountability.

Some days, it’s just too easy to skip your workout. If you have a session scheduled with a personal trainer, however, you might lace up your shoes and go to the gym, particularly if there’s a no-show or cancellation fee.

“There’s increased accountability, because you’re more likely to show up to a scheduled appointment,” Blum says.

Blum says a good trainer will check in to see how you’re doing and adjust your training accordingly.

“If someone is feeling stressed from a long day of work, or if they slept poorly the night before, a trainer  can modify the workout based on how they’re feeling in that moment,” he says.

A personal trainer can also provide accountability for your fitness goals.

“Training can be a fun way to do the things you know you need to do but wouldn’t on your own,” Blum says, whether that’s incorporating more weights, improving core strength or integrating mobility exercises. “It’s about finding the middle ground of supporting your needs while still providing you the exercises you want to work.”

Blum works to ensure that clients feel continuous support.

“It’s not just about the workout scheduled at the gym. A trainer can help you plan the rest of the week or suggest some activities for you to do the next time you come in on your own,” he says. “In addition to physical activity, a trainer could make suggestions on how to properly fuel your body with healthy food choices. You should always feel like you have support from your trainer both inside and outside the gym.”

2. You’re in an exercise rut.

You might have joined a gym to gain access to all the fitness equipment, but you’ve found that you don’t use most of it.

“It’s really easy to get in a routine of going to the gym, putting your stuff in the same locker, getting on the same treadmill and doing the same couple of stretches,” Blum says. “If you’re doing that same thing three or four times a week, it will probably stop being enjoyable.”

A personal trainer can help you feel comfortable with using all of the equipment in a gym and how to create a variety of workouts, so you don’t get bored.

“A trainer can bring a different excitement to the workout, especially if there’s something new to look forward to,” Blum says. “People may not always love to come to the gym, but we can help you find ways to make it more enjoyable once you’re there.”

In addition to helping you find more options for exercise, a personal trainer can appropriately push you out of your comfort zone to explore new activities in a supported way.

“A trainer can be your ally while you’re trying something new,” Blum says. “It’s a confidence boost to have someone by your side, making sure you’re doing exercises correctly when you’re learning.”

Blum says that it may only take a few sessions to help you get out of your rut.

“You should not have to work out with a trainer for the rest of your life, unless you want to,” he says. “You should be learning strategies from your trainer that you can apply on your own, leading to a lifetime’s worth of knowledge. Then, as life changes, whether it is medical concerns or new goals, that trainer is always a phone call or email away from reevaluating your exercise program. Having this resource is a crucial asset to longevity of health.”

3. You could use help setting and meeting goals.

Whether you’re training for an athletic event or simply want to keep up with your kids or grandkids, a personal trainer can be a valuable resource.

“Personal trainers can help you prioritize your goals and manage your expectations while providing knowledge on what is safely and realistically attainable,” Blum says. “They will break your goals down to smaller steps to make the end game seem less daunting.”

Goals come in all shapes and sizes and vary from person to person, he says.

“If you’re training for a marathon, you may not need help with the running part but will greatly benefit from cross-training in the gym, in the form of intervals or other modes of cardio. If you play pickleball three times a week, you may benefit from exercises off the court such as balance and conditioning drills,” he says. “On the other hand, if you want to be able to get on the floor and play with your grandkids, only doing cardio may not help. A trainer can provide exercises that work on mobility, balance, and strengthening the legs and core.”

Many people who join a gym want to lose weight. Blum says to be wary of any personal trainer who promises quick results when you step on a scale.

“A personal trainer should talk to people about what’s reasonable,” Blum says. “Sometimes we may need to offer a different mindset and some feel-good goals. Do you want to have the energy to play with your kids? Do you want to feel more confident in your clothes? Those are the kinds of results that can make you more consistent over time.”

It’s important to find a trainer who is a good fit for you. Blum advises that you ask potential trainers about their experience helping others in similar situations or look for trainers with specific certifications or specializations that support your goals.

4. You’re concerned about safety while working out.

Maybe you want to incorporate more weights into your workout, but you’re not sure you’re lifting correctly. Or you’re returning to the gym after knee surgery and want to exercise as safely as possible. A personal trainer can ensure you’re using the proper technique to avoid injury.

“Learning how to prevent injury is a huge investment in your future,” Blum says. “A person with a shoulder issue shouldn’t be doing a bench press, but they might be able to do something with a resistance band that works the same muscles but in a safer way,” he says.

Blum says trainers can create programs to help you if you are recovering from an injury or have limited mobility.

“A trainer will ultimately be your guide in making your fitness journey enjoyable, safe and engaging,” Blum says. “This will lead to consistency and you hitting your goals.”

Talk to your doctor before beginning a new exercise program. Need a doctor? Find one near you.