Have you ever made a resolution to get more fit or healthy? Maybe that is your goal for this year! Unfortunately, according to U.S. News & World Report, 80% of New Year’s resolutions are abandoned by the second week of February. There’s a reason why local gyms are flooded every January, only to be sparse once again just a month or two later.
The truth is: Life is stressful and busy. With so many other responsibilities on your plate, the commitment to big lifestyle changes often falls by the wayside. Maybe you’ve been considering working with a personal trainer to keep you on track, and are wondering if it’s worth it. Having a dedicated personal trainer will help you reach your health and fitness goals more quickly, safely, and efficiently, allowing you to spend more time focusing on what matters most in your life. But, how often should you see a personal trainer to see results?
The answer is it depends! I know that’s a bit of a let-down, so let me level set. When you hire an in-person or online personal trainer, you should plan to meet with them at least once a week, but more likely several times a week. You two need to spend time not only working out with you getting advice on proper form or ways to modify moves, but also teaching each other what type of accountability and support you need.
Let’s talk about how a personal trainer can help get you where you want to be, and what you can expect along the way.
Why Is Working Out Alone So Hard?
Our modern, sedentary lifestyles are not conducive to good health. Many Americans spend most of their day sitting down at work, in the car, having meals, and during leisurely activities such as watching TV, reading, or scrolling on their phones. In fact, one in four Americans sit for over 8 hours a day!
As Newton’s First Law of Motion taught us, an object at rest stays at rest. That is, until an external source forces it to move.
With so much time spent at rest, it’s no wonder we struggle to find the motivation to get up and moving. This is where a personal trainer comes into play. Making big lifestyle changes to get fit and healthy can be daunting. Research shows that social support, encouragement, and accountability increase your likelihood of sticking to a fitness plan and achieving your health goals.
Maybe you’ve tried free workout videos on Youtube only to be disappointed at the lack of results. Or you’ve paid for a variety of fitness apps with little success. Perhaps you’ve tried sticking to a gym schedule but felt overwhelmed or intimidated attempting to do it all with no plan or guidance. So many machines, so little instruction! If this sounds familiar, working with a personal trainer would be a much more time- and cost-effective solution.
How Many Times a Week Should You See a Personal Trainer?
Wouldn’t it be nice if we could all get fit by only working out for 30 minutes a few times a week? How many times a week you should see a personal trainer will be determined by your personal goals and current health and fitness status.
I spoke with Paige Waehner, certified personal trainer who trains clients for Kickoff, about how much time you should spend with a personal trainer. Waehner advises those who are just starting out, or who need more guidance or accountability, to meet with a personal trainer two to three times a week as you work together to develop a routine.
When I asked if meeting once a week would suffice, Waehner shared that this approach is typically reserved for those who already have established exercise habits. She notes that meeting only once a week would make it much more difficult to experiment with different approaches to find out what works best for each individual.
Simply put: To reach your goals as quickly as you’d like to, it’ll take more than just one 30-minute session a week to get there. But don’t worry; you should start seeing results more quickly than you might think.
“I usually spend about an hour on the actual workouts three times a week, which is the best way to build an exercise habit and start seeing some results. This is for clients who do live training with me,” says Waehner.
In addition to guiding her clients through live online workouts, Waehner also spends her mornings checking in with them through text or email, sending meal plans, and sharing workouts that they can do at home in between sessions to keep up the momentum. Her mission is to make sure that her clients are never left feeling like they are on their own at any point during their fitness journeys.
How Long Does it Take to Start Seeing Results?
As you might expect, it will take at least a few weeks of consistent work before you begin seeing results, whether you work with a personal trainer or go it alone. Chances are that you will work much harder with a trainer than you would if you were left to your own devices. A personal trainer will gently push you beyond your comfort zone to make sure you’re making steady progress without risking injuries.
To explain how a personal trainer can expedite your progress, Waehner says, “When you're by yourself, you may lift lighter weights when you could go heavier. Your form might suffer when an exercise gets tough. A good example is biceps curls. It's easy to swing the weights up when you get tired, but if you're with a trainer, that person is going to watch what you do, correct your form, and push you a little out of your comfort zone so you're always making progress. That will most likely lead to faster results.”
What to Expect From Working With a Personal Trainer
If you’re a beginner doing this for the first time, you’ll want to take the necessary steps to be sure that you're choosing the right trainer. Waehner recommends interviewing a variety of trainers to learn more about their credentials, personality, and training style. Don’t be afraid to ask questions; experienced trainers know that it’s an important part of the process. Pass on trainers who are not responsive or don’t listen to your feedback. If at any point you feel that you’re not clicking with your trainer, don’t hesitate to hire someone new.
With consistent one-on-one work with a dedicated personal trainer, you’ll streamline your progress by using workouts and nutrition plans that are tailored to your individual needs. Your trainer will take into account your current fitness level, end goal, availability, and the equipment you have access to. If you’re fed up with not seeing results, get a free consultation with a personal trainer who can create a customized training program that will help you crush your fitness goals.