Starting on a fitness and health journey can be challenging and filled with confusion. Although we are currently living in an era where we have more access to information than ever before, this creates its own challenges. Information overload is common these days. People are often paralyzed with indecision and are not sure of which workout program to follow, or which exercises are best for their goals and body. When people finally do decide on how to start, they are surprised to find that doing an exercise that they watch on YouTube or that they saw in a magazine isn’t as easy as simply imitating.
Staying on a fitness and heath journey can be even more challenging. It’s common for someone to find something that works initially, only to realize it stops working within a short period of time. Lack of continued results or plateauing, is one of the main reasons people stop working out. The truth is that millions of people start a workout program every year and the majority of them eventually stop due to lack of progress.
The challenge with figuring out what workout and fitness plan is best for you is that you are VERY individual. On a basic level, it’s true that doing almost any activity (short of the extremes) is better than being completely inactive, but this won’t likely get you to your fitness goals. Following a workout program that isn’t ideal for your body is very inefficient and ineffective. This begs the question: “How do I know what the right workout is for me?”
Your body is unique. When we combine your genetics, your past life experiences, your mind, your beliefs, your daily experiences, and even your bacterial microbiome, it’s easy to see that you are different. Once you understand this, it’s also easy to see that, due to this uniqueness, in order for a workout routine to be truly effective, it needs to be individualized.
Now don’t get me wrong, we are all human and there are general truths when it comes to fitness. For example, a squat and squat variations are largely considered the best lower body exercises anyone can do in terms of muscle building, fat burning and positive metabolism effects. But if you dig deeper you find that a proper squat can look different from person to person and that getting to a point where you can squat with optimal form (lowest risk of injury and maximal results) takes special consideration of your current movement patterns. Your movement patterns reflect your body structure and your past and current lifestyle.
To the laymen a workout looks straightforward. A workout involves exercises and movements that burn calories. This is true, but this is also only scratching the surface of what goes into an effective workout. There are variables like intensity (how hard you work out), duration (how long you work out), frequency (how often you work out), the exercises you do, how you do them, the sets and reps you do and much more. You may be thinking, “the best thing to do is to do the most of all of those variables,” but you would be terribly wrong. Over applying intensity or duration or frequency or any other variable will flatline your progress and may even cause health problems. The best workout is the RIGHT workout.
For those reasons, and more, I strongly believe that hiring a good personal trainer is the single best investment anyone can make for their fitness. A good trainer doesn’t just understand exercises and form. They also understand how to assess your body, and most importantly, they know how to TEACH their clients how to workout best for themselves. A good trainer is like a mountain guide. They have led people up the mountain before. A good trainer helps you understand your own body and teaches you how to train yourself regardless of your life stresses, your body at that moment and your goals. For those of you who can afford to work with a trainer on a weekly basis, doing so will be a powerful investment that will most effectively ensure that you will succeed. In my experience, most people do best working with a trainer 2-3 days a week on average.
Of course, the big drawback of working with a trainer is the cost. A single session can run anywhere between $50-$120. Most people can’t afford this extra weekly investment. I understand the money challenge. That being said, there is still tremendous value in even hiring a trainer for a few sessions. Although a trainer won’t be able to guide you every step of the way if you only hire them for a few sessions, they will still be able to provide you with massive value. They can teach you proper exercise form and help direct you towards the right track. For a cost-effective approach, I recommend getting 2-4 sessions and spacing them out. One session a week or every other week is a good strategy. In this scenario a trainer will show you good exercise form, write you up a workout and then meet with you a couple week later to hear your feedback of how it all went.
If you are serious about achieving your fitness goals, you should consider hiring a trainer. Working with a trainer will help you minimize injury and wasted time and maximize your motivation and results. Doing so often makes the difference between falling into the common pitfalls of fitness and being a success story.