Do you need a personal trainer?

Recently I was sent the following two articles:
Why you need a personal trainer
When to fire your personal trainer

I thought I should address the positives and negatives of both of these and I will go ahead and say that these are all definitely MY personal opinion on personal trainers and I can only speak for myself and those who I know that work in the industry that follow the same philosophy. Before I even get into hiring/firing a personal trainer, keep in mind that you need to check your trainer’s credentials first and foremost! You are looking for a top-notch certification from NASM, ACSM (there are a variety under these organizations), ACE, CSCS. Ask the trainer about certifications and education and they should be very willing to tell you their background if they have any of these!

Why you need a personal trainer
According to the article above, you need a trainer if:
1. You’re new to lifting weights (absolutely true!)
–  The last thing you want is to get hurt, come out of the gate too strong, or not push yourself enough because you’re scared, unsure, or intimidated
2. You spend too much time on machines (true!)
– Machines are good options for some muscles, some individuals, and some of the time, however, functional training has been increasing because it truly is a better option
3. You’re focusing on bar muscles (isolating muscles groups, e.g. you want huge biceps, etc.) (true!)
– focus should be more on multi-joint movements, functional movements, and not on the appearance of the muscles for the majority of the population
4. You’re not getting results (very true!)
5. You’re hitting a plateau (very true!)
I’ll combine the last two: if you’re working hard and not getting results and/or hitting a plateau, a trainer can step in and offer a ton of options, variations, and knowledge that you may not have thought of. A trainer can also offer the motivation that many people need because you are now accountable to show up, put in 100% effort, and work hard the whole time (you know you are easier on yourself sometimes than your trainer may be)

When to fire your personal trainer
1. If you’ve learned what you need to know (see #4 and 5 above)
– You also need to realize when you need to know more and come back for the motivation, new variations and options – this is what a trainer is educated to do and knows best
2. If they aren’t paying attention to you (true)
– This one is absolutely true. You are paying for the service, the trainer knows your limitations and is qualified to get you results and they should pay you the attention you deserve.
3. If there isn’t a good personality fit (true)
– Personality is huge in getting that push and motivation from a trainer so make sure you like your trainer’s personality and training style and if you don’t then just let the know this is why you’re moving on and not that they aren’t qualified or giving you what you need from the exercises.
4. If they’re trying to get you do a bunch of stupid stuff (depends)
_ Is this “stupid stuff” really just exercise you don’t want to do because they seem hard and you’re not good at them or is there really no point. Trainers I know don’t give out “stupid exercises” just to keep you coming back as the article suggests
5. If they’re pushing you too hard (depends)
What’s too hard? Is it truly too hard for you and you are experiencing pain beyond muscle soreness or are you just out of shape and don’t like the reminder of that. Keep in mind that even the most fit individuals get winded and sore and feel out of shape when they are pushing towards a new fitness goal. It’s not supposed to be easy.

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