The Value of a Personal Trainer
I’ll always remember the moment
I sat down with my personal trainer to discuss my marathon training strategy.
At the time I was timid,
Broken, mentally unwell, and shockingly reserved.
My main question regarded to food –
Something I use to help my body when at my best
And hurt it when I’m at my worst.
I was near my worst
And in need of someone to help me figure out how to change that.
When the idea of eating for a marathon came up
My personal trainer told me it was time to
‘Start eating like an athlete’
Because I ‘was one.’
No one had ever called me that before.
Something in my mind clicked.
Before that point I didn’t even have confidence that I could run a marathon,
Let alone run one as a recreational athlete,
But my trainer already saw me as one
And, in him saying that, I began to believe it was possible myself.
That was a turning point in terms of my own mental health
And career path in to personal training myself.
What’s In A Trainer?
So many people nowadays question the need for a personal trainer.
What, after all,
Is there really to be said about the profession?
Surely exercise is just a case of knowing what general motions to do,
Wiggling your body in a way that seems halfway right,
And then enjoying a little celebratory reward afterwards?
While that can definitely be part of the fun of exercise
(And something I do from time-to-time)
There’s actually a whole lot more to the process, and to personal training.
I don’t want to bore you with the intricacies of exercise
But it’s fair to say that there’s a lot of them.
Our bodies are amazing, complex, and very precise things
(‘things’ being a totally professional term)
With lots of mechanisms going on.
Bones, muscles, ligaments, chemical reactions, systems of nervous, vessels, capillaries
And so many other things
Come together to make some motions possible and others impossible.
Even more come in to play when taking what’s possible
And turning it in to what’s optimal over time
To help people reach their long term goals.
Yes, you can always put on a Youtube video
Or follow a mobile phone application
And it will tell you what exercises to do and how.
What it won’t tell you, however, is if you’re doing it right,
What the correct weight is for you,
When you’re not quite aligned,
Or how pre-existing illnesses, conditions, or ability levels
Might dictate modifications.
It takes a personal trainer to know the exercises you need,
Then know you, and figure out how best to combine the two.
And outside perspective is always valuable too.
I am, in some regards, relatively well familiarised with a lot of exercises myself,
But I’m still blind to my own form
Because I cannot get a bird’s eye view of my own body in motion.
Yes, gym mirrors help, but they still go off of my perceived idea of correct form
And also might mean putting my neck in a compromising position for some motions,
Thus negating any of the benefits.
It’s in part for this reason that I still,
To this day, employ the eye of personal trainers myself,
As we are all a work in progress.
The Whole Package
Personal trainers are also great for picking out the forest
When we might be focused on the trees
(or on an entirely imaginary part of our woodland location that we hope to get to but have no frame of reference for).
Whereas many of us have long term goals
The road to that goal might seem impossible at first.
When I considered the idea of first running
(not running a marathon, just running)
It was unfathomable.
It was only through the guidance of a trainer
That part of a lap became one lap
And then one lap became more
Until, over time, I found myself capable of maintaining a stride
For the entire length of one of my favourite songs
(an early milestone for myself).
Part of a personal trainer’s job (a large part)
Is coming up with something called ‘exercise programming’
Which basically means that we find out what you want to do in the long term
And then break it down in to training chunks
Which help build up to that goal over time.
It’s then our job to help equip you with the programme’s knowledge
And to allow you to enact it in a confident and knowledgeable way,
Both under our watchful eye and when alone.
After all, we’re not doing our job
If we don’t help build you up over time.
Which brings me to the final and, in my mind,
Most important element of having a PT…
If you’re going to a PT
Then chances are you have a goal
But (as said above)
Don’t have the tools, equipment, nor knowledge to achieve that
And, perhaps, not the confidence either.
Fitness goals are amazing and always worthwhile
But they’re also daunting,
Ever-evolving, and damned hard at times.
I struggle a lot and every recreational athlete I know does too.
But having a PT makes us all more accountable for our actions,
Sure of our path,
And confident in ourselves.
A PT’s value is in the knowledge they have,
But it’s also in their role as friend, advisor, counsellor, and life coach.
Any personal trainer worth their rate
Has gone in to the profession for the love of fitness
And for the desire to help others
And this shines though in everything that they do.
When you go to see them it’s clear that you’re their focus.
When you’re not with them
You likely cross their mind at some point
And your confidence in that knowledge helps you work a little harder too.
What’s the value of a personal trainer?
You have a goal that you’re not sure you can achieve.
Your personal trainer already knows that you can,
And they make it their job
To help you come to that realisation yourself.
Written by Amy
One of the Lazy Bones Fitness motivators,
And commonly referred to as ‘The Crazy One’,
Amy offers Personal Training sessions,
Is our RUNdamentals leaders
And provides ad-hoc cover for other sessions.
If you’d like to work with Amy, simply contact the team.
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