Admit: at one point or another, you’ve wondered if a personal trainer is worth it.
We don’t blame you. After all, the idea of having someone show you the ropes in the gym and manage your progress so you don’t have to is pretty enticing.
“But what about the cost?” some wonder. Or, “what if it’s a waste of time and my money? What if I can do it on my own?” Well, we may be a tiny bit biased, but we’re also here to speak the truth. Some gym-goers certainly can and do achieve their fitness goals in the gym without having the guidance of a Coach.
But in our experience, we’ve learned it takes them a lot of research and a lot of trial and error to find a routine that works for them - and shows results.
Our entire team at Pure Elite Fitness started as regular gym-goers with various goals for themselves, and eventually found ourselves working with the same personal trainer. His name is Mike Dragovich, and he’s a Co-Founder of Pure Elite Fitness. And the truth of the matter is, we all had our reservations about personal training at first, ranging from bad past experiences with other Coaches to just not wanting to pay the cost.
For all of us, it took one training session to understand the difference in working out on our own and with a certified trainer.
Our story shows the effect of one individual fiercely passionate about creating sustainable and positive changes for other’s health. A true personal trainer is a Coach, someone you hire to help guide you through the world of fitness, but also receive accountability, encouragement, and commitment as part of the deal.
First things first. What does a personal trainer do?
A personal trainer, or “Coach” as we prefer to say, is a certified instructor and guide that leads you through the fitness world by evaluating your personalized needs, crafting custom routines, showing you how to properly carry out exercises, following your progress, and providing nonstop accountability and encouragement.
“But I already have a workout routine” you may be thinking.
Well, sure. But are you holding those weights properly? Do you know if your body is in perfect alignment when you’re doing a particular exercise? Are you pushing yourself to your limits? Are your sleep and/or working habits adding to or hindering your fitness progress?
Just as an example, one of Mike’s 50-year-old clients discovered he was holding the weight incorrectly when performing bicep curls, diminishing the effect of his workout. Another 26-year old didn’t realize she had improper posture when doing lat pulldowns, causing pain in her shoulder which she dismissed as a typical byproduct of the exercise. This would have inevitably led to an injury had she continued. In other more serious instances, clients had pre-existing conditions they weren’t aware of which caused certain workouts to be completely ineffective for them, if not workouts they should be avoiding.
Why are these examples important to point out? Because they demonstrate people of any age or fitness experience level might be missing key knowledge that could enhance their fitness results.
The other important factor to remember is that even if you are seeing results in the gym, they may only be short term or not even the original results you wanted. Other clients of ours have focused purely on cardio thinking they would slim down. What some were not aware of though was that while cardio can help you lose weight, it can also leave excess skin that doesn’t tighten up the way it does with strength training (Side note: did you know cardio releases fewer endorphins than strength training? Meaning weight training has ample added positive effects and is a necessary component to your workout regimen).
So our initial benefits of having a personal trainer include:
Individualized, safe training regimens for your age, body type and limits, and goals
An expert who will know how far to push you
Education on exercises and how to properly perform them
But that’s not all. Let’s keep going!
Goals and gains. Why personalized attention matters.
In the midst of their “is a personal trainer worth it?” thoughts, many overlook the importance of personalizing their health and fitness routines. It’s easy to go online and research exercises and popular diets, but will they work for your particular body type, age, body fat percentage, disabilities, medication use, sleep patterns, schedule, activity levels, or stress levels? Probably not.
All of these variables and more can impact the effectiveness of your time in the gym. As you continue down the road of fitness and health, your body will undergo changes that will then require updates to your fitness routine (it goes without saying your diet will need updates too). You will hit new plateaus or new levels of strength and endurance and will then require different exercises, different weight levels, and different meals to sustain the changes you want to see.
Perhaps you’re a newcomer to the gym and have no idea where to start. Or, perhaps you’re someone who has been working out for 6 months, seen some results, but now hit a plateau.
While some do find success with their online research, it can take months if not years for them to learn the ins and outs of proper fitness techniques and customization.
That is where a Coach comes in. At Pure Elite Fitness, we ask our clients to answer extensive questionnaires that provide a deep look into their day-to-day lives and anything that might impact their fitness and diet routines. Having a thorough 360 degree understanding of your starting point and your goals allows for a Coach to craft a fitness routine that is highly effective, sustainable, safe, and measurable.
This is the beauty of having a Coach - they can help you start big or pick up where you left off, giving you fresh exciting workouts. They will work with your schedule and obstacles to help you find the most efficient ways of utilizing your time, both in and out of the gym. We’re also confident you’ll be pushed to limits you didn't even know you had, making your efforts that much more fruitful.
The top insights here then, are:
Personal training saves you time - no research or stress involved in crafting new, safe workouts
You get fresh workout routines when needed, keeping you interested and excited
You learn more about yourself and what works best for you so that you can utilize this newfound knowledge in your workouts outside of your training sessions
You get pushed to limits you didn’t know you have, challenging your commitment, grit, and physical capabilities
Are there any alternatives to personal training?
The beauty of personal training is that it exists in several forms.
One-on-one is a form of coaching that provides highly individualized and resolute attention.
Group training happens in a fun, motivated, social setting. You get accountability from your peers and your Coach as long as you’re willing to commit to a schedule that everyone can agree on.
Remote training is essentially the same as one-on-one training except it is carried out virtually. This option is just as effective as meeting your Coach in the gym, might be more cost-effective (depending on the Coach) and can be a preferred choice for anyone who has a busy schedule, is stuck at home (like during a quarantine!), or wants to work with a certified trainer who is not located nearby.
Finances, time, family, work...Is it worth the investment?
The bonus of having alternatives to personal training is that you can pick the option that best suits you. We encourage everyone to at least try one option to see and experience for themselves the benefits.
The most common rationalizations we hear from gym-goers on the fence with personal training include not wanting to make the financial investment, not having the time, or having too many family and/or work obligations.
We get it, life is busy and does not always go as planned. Our stance is that taking at least one hour a week to focus on yourself and your health has a plethora of positive side effects...Such as having an outlet for stress, setting a positive example for family members, ensuring the long term health (so you can stay with your family), or simply adopting better time management techniques.
We can talk about the benefits of personal training until we’re blue in the face, but if you’ve never experienced it first hand we get it may not mean much. We’re so passionate about health that we’ve examined personal training benefits with Maslow’s hierarchy of needs.
For anyone unfamiliar with what this is, it’s a motivational theory in psychology consisting of a five-tier model of our basic human needs. It explains what motivates human beings from their most basic physical, psychological, and self-fulfillment needs. We strongly see a connection between the benefits of personal training and achieving each need described in Maslow’s hierarchy.
Tier 1: Physiological needs (food, water, warmth, rest):
An investment in regular training with a Coach provides you with an adequate understanding of what your diet and water intake should be. It also establishes a set schedule of regular exercise and improvement for your body, each session improving your strength, endurance, cardiovascular health, and increasing the amount of adenosine in the brain, a chemical that makes us feel sleepy.
Side note: did you know that working out also helps you maintain your circadian rhythm (your internal clock)?
So while you may already be a gym-goer, a Coach will keep you on a regular fitness (and as a byproduct), diet, and sleep schedule.
Tier 2: Safety Needs (personal security, health, safety)
Once our Tier 1 needs are met, our needs for security and safety become prominent. We want to experience order, predictability, and control in our lives. While institutions such as employment, law and order, and freedom from fear are obvious answers to this tier, there is also something to be said of needing structure and predictable outcomes in our daily lives. In this case, physical safety and control over your fitness and dietary journey. We want to feel in control of our lives, our future, and our well-being.
Tier 3: Love and belongingness (relationships, friends, sense of connection)
The next tier implies we have social needs once the physiological and safety needs have been met. The need for interpersonal connection motivates our behavior and examples of this include friendship, trust, acceptance, affiliation, etc.
For many, fitness remains a solo journey. But it doesn’t have to! A good Coach isn’t only there to guide you with your physical health but also acts as a supportive resource for any occurring stress. We can’t count the number of times Coach Mike listened to our stories or troubles, both positive or negative. This is a big distinction we like to emphasize - a good Coach genuinely wants you to lead a better life and is willing to forge a relationship and safe setting during your sessions. If you opt for group fitness, it’s also a fun social setting that provides a sense of connection and belonging with other members of your community.
Tier 4: Esteem Needs (Feeling of accomplishment)
It’s pretty obvious what we’re going to say here, but how can we not? Multiple studies have shown fitness has a direct positive impact on self-esteem. This tier is all about esteem for oneself and the desire for respect from others. Both are met via improved body aesthetics, better control and understanding of fitness, accomplishing new challenges and pushing your limits, and acting as a positive influence for others (by showing you are committed, consistent, and engaged in leading a healthy life).
Tier 5: Self-actualization needs
The top tier in Maslow’s hierarchy of needs is described as reaching self-actualization, or the desire to become the most that one can be.
At Pure Elite Fitness, we use the word “Elite” with this exact definition in mind. Self-actualization in all areas that contribute to your health. This is why we do what we do. Personal training is about challenging others, helping them grow, and proving that the sky is the limit. All of the benefits described in our article leading up to this single-tier - becoming the best you can be.
There’s no doubt financial investments need to be thought out, especially during uncertain times. But if you’re willing to invest in skincare products, hygiene products, or even that Starbucks cup of coffee every day, why not invest in a service that will improve your body functionality and mental health? Because the truth of the matter is that this investment will strengthen you, shape your body, decrease stress, improve mental health, challenge your limits, and allow you to set a positive example for others.
So instead of asking “Is personal training worth it?” we challenge you to ponder this and ask yourself, “Why didn’t I start personal training sooner?”