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Should you hire a trainer

In the age of the so called “information age”, there seems to be a notion that one can get all the knowledge and guidance that is needed via the internet, as long as one is willing to spend enough time researching about it. Of course I do agree that all the easily available information on the net has certainly increased the knowledge levels about fitness of those who are not into the fitness industry professionally. For eg 2 decades back most people would not have an idea as to what is meant by GI index, compound movements vs isolation exercises, why calories are important, etc. However today thanks to the popular media like television, and the net, more and more people are starting to understand the way the body works, and what it takes to become strong and fit.

So does that mean that the poor, old gym instructor is no longer required, and we can all get ALL the info that we need and get in shape by ourself thanks to the internet? I don’t think so! Yes, there have been those who have done self research and have had great results, but on the whole I would very firmly say that a good trainer will certainly make things better. Here are some reasons why you should think about hiring a trainer:

1) World class athletes have trainers- most, if not all world class athletes in all the sports that you can think of, train under the supervision of an experienced coach. And in many cases the achievements of the coach as a player himself, do not even match up to the level of achievement and skills his athletes have. Yet these athletes understand that a good coach can add a lot to their game with his experience levels and knowledge, which is probably greater than theirs. So if these athletes with their high skill levels and years of experience still rely on a coach, I think most of us, would benefit from a trainer too.

2) Statistically speaking, hiring a trainer improves results- Studies have shown that people exercising when a trainer only supervises (no instruction or coaching) work up to 30% harder than they do on their own. And when you come to think about it, 30% could mean the difference between losing 15 and almost 20 pounds in the span of 4-6 months, or taking a 150 pound bench press to 215 pounds instead of 200 pounds. Or you could look at it this way, it could take you 30% lesser time to reach your target weight, so if you were to reach your target weight in 12 months, you would reach it in about 8 and a half months! All that adds up to making the results a lot better in my opinion. Of course, this statistic I believe would be based on the average trainer, and also did not involve any serious coaching. So if you hire an above average trainer, who works hard after you, then I would like believe that the results would be even greater.

3) Reduces your effort- let’s admit it, we all seem to have lesser and lesser time each day to ourselves as our responsibilities and job pressure increases. Considering that, you would have to agree that to make time to research on something will be tough. And even if you do, there is no guarantee that whatever you have come across in your research will work (yep, the net is full of junk info too). On the other hand an experienced trainer who has got results with previous clients is almost sure to get you results with no failures and frustrations. When you hire a good trainer, all you have to do is show up and follow instructions. No need to plan, investigate, research, etc. All that is taken care of, all you need to do is follow instructions.

4) To get another opinion- if you have trained by yourself for a long time, chances are that you have developed a fondness for a particular muscle group or a particular exercise. And chances are that you have also ignored something that you should have paid attention to. This is where an outside perspective helps. Another individual, that is a good trainer will look at you and let you know what you need to work on. Also, he will bring in fresh new ideas for training which might motivate you to work harder.

To be honest, I have never heard anyone hire a good trainer, and say later on that they made a mistake. A good trainer has a lot to offer, even if you know a lot to begin with. There are many top coaches who have mentioned that they too have recently hired other coaches to help them with their training. Yeah, I know, it sounds hard to understand that why would a good coach hire another coach to train him, when he knows a lot himself. The major reason for this is because not everyone is equally good in every aspect of training, and this is when a trainer himself hires the services of another trainer to help him improve on any aspect that the other guy is better at.

Anyways, the bottom line is that if you are serious about your results, then you want the best people to be part of your team, and a good trainer would certainly be a part of it. If you cannot afford a good trainer to train your multiple times a week, then hire one 1-2 times a month, and consult with him. Have him make your monthly routine and check on your form to help you. Of course I am not suggesting that you should never read anything related to health and fitness on the net or in a magazine if you hire a trainer, but rather that use these sources of information to help understand things about your body and training better, while relying on a trainer for program design, exercise guidance, and for accountability.  By the way, on a related note you may want to read this helpful article by my friend Sean Casey on how to choose a good trainer, if you are thinking of hiring one.  

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