If you’re looking to take your fitness to the next level, you may be wondering whether hiring a personal trainer is right for you.
Whether you’re new to exercising or the gym is your second home, working with a personal trainer can help you reach your health and fitness goals.
A certified personal trainer is someone who is trained in creating and implementing safe and effective exercise programs for their clients. In other words, they’ll help you work out and execute other lifestyle changes to reach your fitness goal.
Read on for 9 reasons why you might want to consider hiring a personal trainer.
1. Increases accountability
One of the most challenging parts about maintaining a workout routine can be just that — doing the workouts, and doing them consistently.
If someone isn’t expecting you to meet them at the gym, you’re much more likely to skip out if you’d rather stay in bed or lounge on the couch instead.
Working with a personal trainer will give you the nudge you need to get your workout in — whether in person or virtually — not only during your appointments but also hopefully several other times during the week.
You may also find you work harder with a trainer by your side than you would if you went at it alone.
Ever heard the saying, “If you want to go far, go together?” There’s ample research to show that the more support someone has with their health and fitness goals, the more likely they are to succeed.
In fact, one analysis of 11 years’ worth of studies looked at how well people stuck to their weight loss routines. It found that the more accountability people have, the more likely they were to stick to their weight loss program (1Trusted Source).
2. You’ll learn about health, fitness, and your body
A personal trainer isn’t just there to make you sweat — you likely learn something from your time together, too.
To become a certified personal trainer through an accredited organization like the National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM) or American Council on Exercise (ACE), a person must have a high school degree, as well as be certified in cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and to use an automated external defibrillator (AED).
They must also pass an initial certification exam and earn continuing education hours each year to stay current.
That means your personal trainer knows a lot about human physiology and body mechanics, behavior change, exercise science, and more. They can help you learn proper form, how to use specific equipment, and what exercises will be most effective for you.
Beyond that, they can teach you about greater health and fitness topics that will help you maintain a healthy lifestyle.
Let’s take a specific exercise for a second, though. Take the squat — a movement that seems basic enough but is actually very nuanced (2).
There are many factors at play, including your head position, upper and lower back position, pelvis position, knee alignment, and foot position, and each is dependent upon your fitness level, body mechanics, goals, and more (2).
Having a personal trainer to guide you through the correct positioning and form is invaluable. They can help ensure that you’re performing the exercise most effectively for your body.
You’ll not only likely see better results but also avoid potential injury this way.
3. Helps with goal setting
Have you ever set a huge health and fitness goal — say to lose 20 pounds (9 kg) or train for a marathon — only to fall short of reaching it? Or maybe you’re not in the habit of goal setting at all, and you could simply use some guidance.
A personal trainer can help you set realistic and attainable goals based on your personal experiences and abilities, aiding you in your progress along the way.
And even if you just want to stay active or feel better, having a goal when you’re on a fitness journey, no matter how big or small it is, can be an important factor in keeping you motivated.
An analysis of data from Slimming World, a U.K.-based weight management organization, found that members who set a weight loss target lost more weight over a 12-month period than those who did not set a target (3Trusted Source).
Work one-on-one with your personal trainer to identify your short- and long-term goals, then create a plan to help you get there.
4. You’ll get an individualized plan
A quick Google search will yield many pages of workouts or programs you can follow, but that doesn’t mean they’re the best option for you. Having a personal trainer will ensure that you have an individualized plan that will give you the best results.
For instance, say after an initial consultation with your trainer, they notice that your right leg is weaker than your left leg — and you had no idea. This imbalance is causing you to compensate during many daily movements and exercises, which exacerbates the imbalance.
To address the issue, your trainer then incorporates single-leg movements into your workouts, allowing you to correct this imbalance and make yourself stronger overall.
In fact, recent research indicates the effectiveness of individualized workout plans just for this reason (4Trusted Source).
Researchers studied a team of 24 male, well-trained junior soccer players, dividing them into two strength program training groups — one that did not have muscular imbalances and one that did (4Trusted Source).
The results suggested that individualized resistance training programs could provide additional benefits to traditional strength-training protocols to improve muscular imbalances in these soccer players (4Trusted Source).
5. Flexible schedule and format
You can meet with a personal trainer in person at a gym weekly, several times a week, or even monthly — whatever works best for you. Nowadays, virtual personal training is popular, too.
In this format, you’ll work out at your home while you video conference with your trainer, who will guide you through the workout on your phone or laptop.
Sessions typically range from 30–60 minutes and will cater to your personal goals. There’s a personal trainer for everyone, regardless of your physical abilities, level of experience, location, or budget.
6. Promotes exercise variety
You may be a creature of habit when it comes to exercise, always gravitating to the same equipment at the gym or doing the same workouts at home.
A personal trainer can introduce you to exercises you may have never done before or would never have attempted on your own, decreasing your chance of boredom and hitting a plateau.
One study followed 21 resistance-trained men over 8 weeks — one group completed a fixed exercise routine while the other completed a randomly varied routine via an app (5Trusted Source).
Researchers found that changing things up with a varied workout routine made people feel more motivated. The fixed and varied routines also had similar muscular effects (5Trusted Source).
Moral of the story? It can be good to switch things up. You’ll challenge your body’s movement patterns and make your brain work, too. Plus, maybe you’ll find something you love. And if you don’t, you’ll be happy to know that you tried it.
7. Nutritional advice
A certified personal trainer is not a nutritionist or a dietitian, so they’re not legally allowed to recommend meal plans or provide very specific recommendations about food, especially for clients who have underlying medical conditions.
However, personal trainers are allowed to provide general nutritional advice, which many clients may find very valuable as they navigate their health and fitness journeys.
Whether your goal is weight loss, muscle gain, or both, your diet plays a crucial role.
Knowing how much protein to eat, how to incorporate more fruits and vegetables into your meals, or even what your water intake should be can amplify the results you work for in the gym.
In fact, a 2015 review explored the role of physical activity and exercise in initial weight loss, weight maintenance, the obesity paradox, and the prevention of weight gain (6Trusted Source).
It found that a combination of calorie restriction and exercise produced the best weight loss results — and that exercise alone was not as effective (6Trusted Source).
So, look to your personal trainer for advice and guidelines as you address your diet as well.
8. Helps your mental health
Personal trainers can help with several aspects of your mental health.
For one, there’s a notable amount of research that supports the positive effect physical activity can have on mental health issues like depression and anxiety (7, 8).
Exercise increases blood circulation to the brain, helping reduce stress and improve mood and cognitive function overall. Working with a trainer consistently will help you reap these benefits.
Plus, a good personal trainer will take an interest in your life — your family, your career, your struggles — and can become a confidante of sorts. Knowing that someone is in your corner rooting for you, not only in the gym but also outside of it, is a good feeling.
9. Promotes a healthy lifestyle change
Working with a personal trainer can help you develop good habits for a lifetime.
One study found that people do a whopping 43% of their everyday actions while they’re thinking about something else (9).
This means that if you don’t purposely integrate those healthy habits — taking the stairs instead of the elevator, drinking water over soda, sleeping 8 hours — you may have a harder time seeing results.
A trainer can help you make these changes one by one and support you through any roadblocks that may arise. Starting small and adding to the wins is the most effective way to master habit change, and a good personal trainer will help you navigate this territory.
The bottom line
A personal trainer can give you the tools and support that you need to reach a health and fitness goal.
They can provide support, accountability, education, and a personalized plan of attack, so you may find working with one well worth the investment.