Starting a fitness journey can be daunting to say the least. Depending on what your goals are, your journey might take months, even years (which isn't a bad thing). But Paul Searles, CSCS, from the New York Sports Science Lab, told POPSUGAR that hiring a personal trainer will ease the transition because he or she will be able to teach you the basics. Finding someone who's qualified to help you reach your goals is the easy part; afterward, you have to be willing to do the work, he said.
Why You Should Hire a Personal Trainer, and How to Make the Most of It
Stay curious so you can learn as you go as opposed to just doing whatever the trainer says without question, Paul advised. In his field, he's seen people who don't take the time to really understand why their trainer is having them do certain exercises. Solely following directions might be enough for them, "but you're going to have to keep hiring and paying the coach for the rest of your life because you're not going to learn anything," he said. So, the best approach is to ask questions about, for example, how to properly breathe while lifting weights.
"They should have answers for you. If they don't have answers, then you may need to look somewhere else," Paul said, adding that a certified trainer can help you:
- Make sure you have proper form.
- Make sure you're doing exercises in a way that will be effective for your goals.
- Keep tabs on your safety.
- Keep you accountable.
Paul continued on to say that some people without trainers might go to the gym, look around to see what everyone else is doing, and fail to make progress because "they're not stressing their bodies properly." Or, they could end up hurting themselves because they're lifting with bad technique or pushing themselves too hard.
How Long Should You Have a Personal Trainer?
Paul suggested that beginners hire a personal trainer in the short-term for at least four months, which will give them plenty of time to get into a structured routine that aligns with their fitness goals. "It takes roughly four months to develop a good habit," he said. (Experts we've spoken to in the past have said that, for muscle gain, beginners generally see results within anywhere from six to 12 weeks.) If you like the accountability of it and want to stick with a trainer for a longer period of time (and have the money to do so), that's fine, Paul said. But, the bottom line is that you should be asking questions and making sure you have a good foundation in order to progress onward with confidence knowing how to reach your goals. Ultimately, it's up to you and your goals.