Getting back into exercise can be tough — you’re not feeling as energetic as you used to and you know that first session is probably going hurt. However, once you’ve done it, you know you’ll feel better for it. And every session thereafter will get easier. So to make that transition back into exercise easier, should you join a gym and hire a personal trainer?
As a personal trainer, I didn’t think I needed to hire one. And the only time I’ve worked out in gyms is when I’ve worked in them. I’ve always believed that the great outdoors provides everything you need for a complete full-body workout, and the fresh air is better for you too. But when I was doing a workout (in a gym) with a mate who is also a personal trainer, he pointed out a couple of things to do with my shoulders, while doing bench press, that I would never have noticed myself.
Take me building a shed for example. I know what I want; to build a shed, and I have a pretty good idea of how to achieve that. But I don’t know exactly how to do it. Chances are I’ll end up with something resembling a shed. But having someone who has plenty of experience building sheds with me, telling me what to do along the way, will ensure I’ll end up with a good looking shed at the end, with minimal headaches along the way.
Regardless of how experienced you are and how much you know, a personal trainer is capable of seeing what you cannot. If I had not have had my personal trainer friend notice the imperfection in the movement of my shoulders, that movement over time may have worn away at the joint and created a potential problem later on. It was a real wake up call and one that I am grateful for.
Should You Join a Gym and Hire a PT?
- Joining a gym gives you a place to go. When you’ve got a designated place to go and exercise, it makes it so much easier because it creates exclusivity. Exercising at home is great, but because you can put it off and do it at anytime, it’s much easier to procrastinate. For this reason, it takes more discipline to workout at home. It’s easier to fight procrastination when working out in a gym because there are smaller steps as part of the routine before the exercise begins.
- Gyms build community. Whether it’s a gym or outdoor training group like a bootcamp, joining one of these groups builds community. Smaller groups build community much better, but gyms still build community just by the fact that you often see the same people on a regular basis. When you see these people out of that environment, you build a connection through having something in common. Small groups often try to build this community by organising regular events. Participating in combat course events as a team is a way small groups, and even large gyms, often attempt to build this.
- Having a scheduled time makes you more likely to do it. Whether it’s a group fitness class at a gym, outdoor bootcamp, or with a personal trainer, having a scheduled time creates accountability. Even having an accountability partner helps. But you’re usually not paying them, which is why the accountability you get from a personal trainer is so much more effective.
- Personal trainers guide the journey. Personal trainers have been there before many times with other clients, and sometimes even for themselves. Therefore, they can draw upon those experiences to prepare you for the hurdles that will likely arise. They can guide you along the journey so that the journey is as smooth as possible. As obstacles arise, they can help you to pivot and keep moving forward.
- Personal trainers program exactly what you need in order to achieve your specific goal. When you enlist the services of a personal trainer, they write your program for you, taking the thinking and guess work out of it. All you have to do is show up and do the work. Sometimes what you think you need is not actually what you need. There may be more effective solutions.
- You know what you want, personal trainers know what you need. People know what they want. But so often, they don’t know what they need. Take me building a shed for example. I know what I want; to build a shed, and I have a pretty good idea of how to achieve that. But I don’t know exactly how to do it. Chances are I’ll end up with something resembling a shed. But having someone who has plenty of experience building sheds with me, telling me what to do along the way, will ensure I’ll end up with a good looking shed at the end, with minimal headaches along the way.
- Personal trainers optimise movement, reducing the risk of injury and enhancing performance. As with my experience in the beginning, personal trainers are experienced in movement. They can see when patterns are wrong, or inefficient, and they can correct them. Not only does this prevent any possible injury, but it enhances performance of a movement too.
If you’re getting back into exercise and you’re thinking about joining a gym and hiring a personal trainer, do it! The gym or group classes will give you a designated place to go, and this will build community that will ultimately support you in some capacity. Having a scheduled time for your classes, or with a personal trainer, will also help by removing the ability to procrastinate. Personal trainers can guide your journey, plan for obstacles before they arise, take the guess work out of what to do and give you exactly what you need, along with enhance your movement patterns so that you reduce the risk of injury and get results faster.
Question: Have you joined a gym and hired a personal trainer in the past? What was your experience like? I’d love to know. If you haven’t, what’s your biggest fear?
[Image source: Floris Oosterveld]
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