In previous blogs centered around training, we’ve talked about the conjugate method, how we apply it to our group classes, and the major strength-building lifts. Our personal training philosophy is similar- the focus is still strength, longevity, and functionality- however it is tailored more precisely to the individual.
When someone asks if they should do personal training, I always recommend it. Here are several reasons why:
Reason 1: Individualization
When you do personal training, the workouts are tailored to the individual based on their capabilities and goals.
First, not everyone has the same strengths and weaknesses, everyone has a specific goal, and everyone’s body is different. This allows us to progress the client appropriately and not throw them into an advanced exercise they are not ready for; instead, we progress by taking the necessary steps to build strength and perfect form.
Second, the program is highly individualized. If Person A has a goal to focus on building bone muscle density for general health, then strength training is the way to go. If Person B is 15 years younger than Person A and has the goal is to build strength for a sport, then their training will look very different. Having this individualization allows for greater rate of progress to the goal. It takes away any second-guessing and also identifies what needs to be worked on instead of wasting time and energy on exercises that serve no purpose to the client/athlete.
Third, when people train on their own, they often train what they want and not what they need. This is seen often with people prioritizing big muscle groups that they can show off (biceps, glutes, and chest) but neglecting all the small muscles that are needed for a balanced figure, health, strength, and general functionality (lower back, shoulder stabilizer muscles, hip strength, mobility). Having a coach will force you to perform exercises you may otherwise skip or neglect. Coaches are knowledgeable on a myriad amount of exercises and variety that can fit in the specific program.
Reason #2: Accountability
For a lot of people, getting to the gym is hard to do. Having a trainer/coach gives us that extra push when motivation is low. Further, the plan is tailored to be sustainable for each person. This makes it so that it is enjoyable and something that the person can stick with in the long-term while still progressing and getting a lot of work done.
Coaches are responsible for measuring progress and ensuring that the client is trending in the positive direction. This means that the client’s only focus is to perform and execute. It relieves the stressors of having to track your own numbers, building your own workouts, and second-guessing what exercises to do. The coach will do all of this for you…all you need to do is show up and be ready to work!
Also, if you are limited on time then personal training is great because it keeps you on track for an hour. It’s the best “bang for your buck”. You utilize the full 30 minutes/60 minutes to accomplish all the work needed to address your goals.
Reason #3: An Extra Eye
Having an “extra eye” goes hand in hand with individualization. In many cases, people don’t know they have weaknesses or a fault in their lift. A common example of this is that many people don’t realize they have a weak lower back, and they continue to train as normal without building this weakness. Or they don’t know how to fix it. Then when they deadlift, they realize they’ve reached a plateau; they try to fix many issues but what they don’t realize is that they need to just build more strength in the back, which is their limiting factor. A coach would be able to address and work towards it immediately.
I’ll describe a recent personal experience to provide a good example of this. I experienced this just last week. I’ve been working on a particular lift for about a year. Every time I perform this lift in my training session, I record it on my phone so that I can review it later on. It allows me to check my form, identify any faults, and assign any “drills” in future sessions that will help me improve my performance in the lift. Although I’ve been doing this for a year and I know all of the technicalities of the lift (having gone to seminars led by professionals in the weightlifting sport), my form still needs a lot of work and I fail the lift very often. Can I continue working on this on my own? Of course, but it’ll take way longer for me to reach my goal because it’s hard to pinpoint where your own faults/weaknesses are. I’ve looked at so many videos of myself doing this lift and I reached a point where I didn’t know why I wasn’t as successful as I wanted to be. I showed Shaun the video of one of my most recent lifts and he was able to identify things that I didn’t even consider or realize: my head position, hip position, my back angle; all details that I did not realize and could only be caught by an outside eye. I performed the lift a few days later, considering all of his advice, and was able to execute the lifts consecutively without any failed reps (an unusual feat for me…thanks Shaun!).
Reason #4: Education
Coaches are experts in their field, with experience in various domains regarding health and fitness. Taking part in personal training/coaching will give you the opportunity to pick their brains and ask questions. There’s a lot of misinformation out in social media and Google regarding health and fitness (especially nutrition); use personal training sessions as an education piece as well. Ask questions and don’t be afraid to ask why!
There is a notion that Personal training/coaching is only for beginners—that is NOT true. It does not matter what level you are in your fitness, having a trainer/coach is beneficial for people of all experiences. And in my opinion, the more advanced people would benefit greatly from having a trainer/coach because they can overcome plateaus in their strength training, which is often done through specificity. This is the specialty and purpose of a coach/trainer.
So, if you were to ask me if you should consider personal training/coaching? My answer: Definitely, especially if you want to be the most effective in your training and reaching your goals.