Most gyms these days offer personal training as part of their portfolio and probably promote it with all the zeal of timeshare salespeople.
At some point you will consider it, if not now, then later when you hit a motivation or performance plateau that you do not know how to get over. So what will you get for your money? And how can you decide if a personal trainer is for you?
Let's be clear about what a personal trainer means. We're not talking about having someone knock up a trained training routine for you when you first start – all gyms should do that as a matter of course. Personal trainers will dedicate themselves to you and you alone for each hour that you book. They should assess your fitness level, set up a program complete with goals and waypoints, and provide the motivation to achieve them.
If you're thinking of opting for personal training, ensure that the trainer:
– Has a recognized personal trainer qualification.
– Is a member of the Fitness Australia. (Or the country that you're in, in case it's not Australia)
– Has a valid CPR (cardio-pulmonary resuscitation) certificate.
Recognized qualifications (as defined by Fitness Australia) include:
– Certificate III Fitness Instructor
– Certificate IV Fitness Trainer
– Diploma of Fitness
– Or a BA-level degree in sports and fitness
Why would you pay the extra?
Given what you're already expecting out for the gym, why would you pay extra for a personal trainer? If you have a clear idea of your fitness goals, the knowledge of how to hit them and a high level of self-motivation, then the honest answer if that you do not need a trainer. If, however, you find that motivation is a big problem, or you have an unusual target (say new sport), or you're going now and do not know what to try, then a personal trainer could be exactly what the doctor ordered.
What can I expect?
Depends entirely on what your agreed goals are. If your aim is to lose weight and tone up, then you can expect to start off with a cardio warm up before going onto weights and moves that you would not normally do. In the process you will learn a lot about form, posture, technique and the use of different pieces of equipment. It also makes the gym session an appointment, a commitment that you can not back out of, and introduces the trainer as a kind of external conscience nagging you if you let things slip. Sort of.
Your aim is to lose weight and tone up.