Should I get a personal trainer: woman following an exercise videoShould I get a personal trainer: woman following an exercise video
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Kickoff's certified personal trainers and registered dietitians share detailed analysis, discussion, and how-tos about the questions we get most often

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Should I Get a Personal Trainer? We Think So! Here’s Why

So, you’re planning on starting a new fitness journey – or taking it to the next level. High five! It’s an exciting time to be you, but you’re probably wondering: Should I get a personal trainer, or can I do this training program all on my own?

Whatever your goals are, pretty much anyone can benefit from working with a personal trainer. Read on to learn about some of the benefits of working with a personal trainer, who can benefit most from this relationship and who might not be ready, what to look for in a personal trainer, and how you can get started.

Benefits of Personal Training

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Everyone from beginners to experienced athletes can benefit from fitness training and guidance from a professional. Here are some of the benefits you’ll get from personal training:

Human Accountability

Fitness apps can be fun and all, but at the end of the day, we’re most accountable to other humans. Having someone help you keep track of your progress and goals can be the difference between “Let’s do this!” and “Hmm, maybe I’ll workout tomorrow.”

Of course, we all have different preferences when it comes to accountability – some people want to check in with their trainer every day, and some people prefer only to reach out whenever they need support. A good personal trainer will figure out what sort of accountability works for you

Personalized Plans and Workouts

Whether you have specific fitness goals, are looking to start a new exercise program, or just want to maintain your current fitness levels, you need someone who will meet you wherever you are. Your personal trainer will help you plan how to get from where you are to where you want to be.

Personalized plans are great for everyone, but especially for those with an injury or health condition that limits your mobility or energy levels. A good personal trainer will make sure your workout plans are doable and tailored to your specific needs. They’ll also make sure you work out with proper form to help prevent injury.

Flexibility (with Online Personal Trainers)

We’re a bit biased towardsonline personal training — but we have good reasons! Where an in-person fitness trainer may require you to get a gym membership and charge a hefty fee (on top of the gym membership fee), an online personal trainer will be able to meet with you anywhere for considerably less money.

In fact, the average cost of a personal trainer may be anywhere between $400 and $1,000 per month, depending on where you live. However, if you go with online training service Kickoff, you only pay $95 per month, no matter where you live.

If you want to work with a personal trainer but don’t have time or money to spend on a whole extra gym membership, online training will give you the flexibility you need to fit your workout routine and personal training sessions into your schedule. Your online personal trainer will customize workouts to fit your busy schedule, and you’ll be able to work out from home (or wherever you’d like) and decide when to video chat with your trainer.

Help Making Sustainable Changes

Have you ever jumped into a whole new exercise program all excited and gung-ho only to lose momentum after a week or two? It’s a common problem. To counter it, you can work with a professional who has experience helping people make small, incremental changes.

It can seem almost counterintuitive to make small changes when you want big results, but those big results can’t be achieved all at once. A good personal trainer will help you make progressive, sustainable changes so you don’t get burned out and you improve at a reasonable pace.

Help With Multiple Wellness Domains

Personal trainers may specialize in one main area – e.g., bodybuilding, weight loss, or prenatal/postpartum fitness – but they may also have training and knowledge across a variety of domains. For instance, many of the personal trainers on Kickoff are all also nutrition experts, and they can also help you manage sleep and stress – two major, often-overlooked barriers to fitness.

Who Should Work With a Personal Trainer?

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While pretty much anyone can benefit from working with a personal trainer, certain groups of people are particularly well-suited to personal training.

People Who Are Ready to Set Specific Fitness Goals

Whatever those specific #goals are, it’ll be hard for you to achieve them all on your own if you’re not a fitness professional. Before you even begin, a personal trainer will help you refine your goals to make sure they are SMART – specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound.

After refining your goals, a personal trainer will figure out what sort of plan you need to achieve them based on your current fitness levels, preferences, and past experiences. They’ll help you figure out what works for you and what doesn’t.

People With Medical Conditions or Injuries

If you have any sort of condition that’s keeping you from working out, a personal trainer can create a fitness plan specifically tailored to your condition. Everyone can benefit from physical activity, even those with limited mobility, and a qualified personal trainer will have the relevant expertise to figure out what sort of exercise is safe and manageable for you.

People Who Don’t Know Where to Start

You want to get in shape, but you don’t even know where to begin. Maybe you used to be a runner, but it’s been a few years, and now you feel like a beginner again. Whether or not it’s your first time starting a new fitness routine, a personal trainer will be your guide in this journey, meeting you wherever you are.

Is There Anyone Who Shouldn’t Work With a Personal Trainer?

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Now that you’ve seen some of the many benefits of personal training, you may be wondering if there are any downsides, or if anyone should avoid personal training. 

Some people are worried about the cost and time of working with a personal trainer. However, those can be mitigated by working with an online personal trainer. For example, you can work with an expert trainer at Kickoff for just $3 per day. 

However, you might not be ready to work with a personal trainer if you fit into one of these categories:

You Have Trouble Listening to Advice From Others

If you’re someone who doesn’t appreciate advice or being given suggestions, you may want to avoid personal training. Part of the job of a personal trainer is to work with you to create a personalized fitness plan. 

While you create this plan together, and your trainer should listen to your input, they may want you to try new exercises and ask you to work out in new ways. To get the most out of the relationship, you need to build trust with your trainer and be open to their suggestions.

You’re Not Ready to Change Your Habits

If you really want to see results, you’re going to have to change some of your habits. Your current habits are what got you where you are now, so unless that’s where you want to stay, you’ll need to be open to changing your habits.

You Want an Easy Fix

Real change doesn’t happen easily, or quickly. Personal trainers are not in the business of quick fixes. They will help you make sustainable changes, and this takes time and effort. If you’re just looking to make a temporary change, you may not get much out of working with a personal trainer.

What to Look for in a Personal Trainer

Personal trainer working on a fitness plan

If you’re starting to think personal training might be a good idea for you, awesome! At this point, you might be wondering what your next step is. You’ll need to consider your specific goals and what sort of expertise you need. 

Here are some attributes of a good personal trainer to keep in mind as you start looking. For a more in-depth look at this process, read our blog on tips for finding a good personal trainer.

A Good Listener

All the expertise in the world won’t matter if your personal trainer doesn’t listen to you. You’ll know soon whether or not the personal trainer you’re considering working with is a good listener, because they should be doing a lot of listening when you first meet them. If you tell them you hate squats, and they add squats to your plan, they might have a listening problem.

They’ll need to learn about your history, your current physical activity, your diet, any injuries or conditions you have, your goals, and your preferences before they can really begin working with you. 

Relevant Expertise

Personal trainers tend to specialize in one area, so it is worth considering what sort of specialization you’d like to look for. Are you really interested in strength training? Are you looking for someone who can help you with weight loss? Are you trying to take your cardio routine to the next level? Whatever it is you want to focus on, find a trainer who focuses on that, too.

The Right Certification

There are a number of exercise institutions that issue personal trainer certifications. The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM), the American Council on Exercise (ACE), the National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM), and the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA) all certify personal trainers. Some personal trainers may have additional certifications, such as registered dietician (RD).

While personal trainers do not legally have to be certified, you may feel more comfortable working with a certified personal trainer (CPT). It’s a good idea to look into different certification programs to see which one(s) you’d like to look for in your personal trainer.

Experience Working With People Like You

Credentials are nice, but what matters even more is that your personal trainer has a track record of helping people achieve goals similar to yours. Look for testimonials or reviews, and see what people have to say about each trainer you’re considering. Do they talk about how this person helped them achieve goals you’d like to achieve one day? That’s a really good sign.

Goals aside, you’ll also need to make sure their personality is a good match for you – like dating. Consider what sort of motivational style works for you. Do you want gentle encouragement or strict orders? This is also something you can glean from reviews. Notice what people say about the trainer’s style.

So, Should I Work With a Personal Trainer?

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In short, yes! 

As we’ve seen, a personal trainer will work with you to cultivate clear, reasonable goals and create a personalized plan that will help you achieve them. An online personal trainer will offer more flexibility (and be more cost-effective, too). 

You’ll also find you have a lot more options for online personal trainers than personal trainers who happen to live in your area. The online personal trainers from Kickoff each have their own specialization, so you can find someone who specializes in whatever you most need. Getting started is easy – just scroll to the bottom of the page to take a short quiz and see which personal trainers you might want to work with.