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Personal Training – Is It For You?

Exercise Science

If you’re new at the gym, I’m sure you’ve noticed something: all the trainers working there are extremely nice to you. They’ll greet you and help you with your workout and generally make sure they’re standing within reach in case you need them. Now there are two possible reasons for this: either they’re really nice guys and girls who truly want to make you feel comfortable or – and this is the more likely reason – they know you’re new and want you to sign up for Personal Training. A common complaint among new members at any gym is that everyone – right from the front desk staff to the Manager – keeps thrusting the PT rate cards in their faces. Old hands know how to brush them off but newbies who are already feeling quite lost can sometimes feel pressured to give in and commit to a thrice-a-week Personal Training package. But do you really benefit by enrolling under a PT? Is it worth the money? Let’s look at some pertinent questions you need to ask yourself before making the commitment: 1. How experienced are you? If you’re someone who is completely new to training and doesn’t have a clue about where to begin, then Personal Training could be for you. The PT will not only design a complete workout plan for you, he/she will also monitor your workouts, correct your exercise form and make sure you stay injury-free. 2. How driven are you? A lazy couch potato doesn’t turn into a gym rat overnight – believe me, I know this for a fact! Adherence to your workout schedule can be a challenge for some people and they could use an extra push to make sure they don’t miss any workouts. A PT will take care of this. Plus the fact that you’ve already paid for the PT will act as an additional incentive to get up and go to the gym 3. What is your current state of health? Let’s be honest: a lot of us decide to do something about our health only after problems have already surfaced. The unhealthier you are, the greater is the need to course correct and regain your health as fast as possible. In such a situation, it helps to have someone keep a close eye on your progress (or lack thereof) and alter your workout and diet programs from time to time. Who better than a certified Personal Trainer to do this? 4. How experienced is the Personal Trainer? This question is a critical one and assumes greater importance for someone with existing health issues, as described in the previous point. Most gyms have clear-cut gradations and hierarchies of competence that segregate their trainers. The more experienced trainers would obviously charge more money. So too would trainers who specialise in disease management or contest prep. The perfect fit would be achieved by aligning your fitness goals with the competence and experience of the PT. For example, you are in good health and only need to lose a few pounds. All you want is someone to make sure you turn up and guide you through the workout. In this case, you may do well even with a PT who isn’t very experienced. See where you are, physically and mentally, and then make your decision. 5. Does your Personal Trainer have a personal touch? Enrolling under a PT is a big step. It means you’ve placed your health and maybe even your life into the hands of a complete stranger. When you enrol under a PT, it’s as if you’ve signed up for Military Camp. You need to be super disciplined and the Personal Trainer will push you to give your best – or at least, he or she should! That’s the whole point of a PT. Are your expectations for the PT being met? Is he/she driving you too hard or not as much as you’d like? Does the PT communicate clearly with you? How comfortable do you feel with him/her, as a person? These are just a few of the things you need to consider so that you can get the most out of the PT. If you want to dip your toes before taking a plunge, sign up for a couple of demo sessions with the trainer. If things don’t work out with the trainer, ask the gym for a change. While it’s certainly not mandatory to have a Personal Trainer in order to get fit, there are some clear advantages to enrolling under one. Make sure you go in with clear expectations and a good understanding of why you’re signing up for a PT. Who knows, it may just turn out to be one of the best decisions you make for your health and well-being. – Author Credits: Jaideep Bhide
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