Should You Hire a Personal Trainer?

Holy soreness! I am definitely feeling the effects of last night’s BodyPump session. Rolling myself out of bed was quite the task this morning, especially with Mochi plopping himself on my chest. That little stinker is quite the bed hog despite his small size 😛

I’m glad that many of you enjoyed the salsa chicken recipe! If you don’t already have one, you should go get yourself a crock pot. It’s cheap (I got mine for $20 on sale), extremely easy to use, and makes excellent dishes of all sorts (including dessert). Throw it in, turn it on, and come home to a delicious meal…sounds good to me.

This is going to be a long post for a question that I get frequently in “real life” regarding personal trainers, so please read through it all if you are considering hiring one as part of your long-term fitness plan. If you are only planning on going once or twice to learn exercises, modify for physical limitations, or get acquainted with gym equipment, I would highly recommend it (most gym memberships usually include 1 free session anyway). If this is not you, I won’t be upset if you come back tomorrow 🙂


I finally hit the bottom of my almond butter container, so it was finally time for Oats in a (plastic) Jar! All the extra little bits of almond butter made today’s oatmeal more yummy than usual 😉

Oats in a Jar

For lunch, I had leftover soup from last night, but I was so hungry that I didn’t take a picture of it…oops. It was quite yummy though.

To Hire a Trainer or Not Hire a Trainer? That is the Question.

I’ve been asked this question a lot from people I know, so I thought it would be useful for all of you out there who don’t get to see me in person. Please note that I am not a personal trainer or a medical professional. I am just offering some advice and my honest opinion. For a brief recap of my journey to fitness, check my ‘About Me‘ page.

click on image for source

I hired a personal trainer for about four months this year, and I absolutely loved it. The main reason that I stopped going, point blank, is that it was getting WAY too expensive on my salary. I’ve still got personal debt from undergrad days to pay back, thanks.  With that said, I’m extremely happy that I stopped when I did because I was not ready to have a personal trainer.

“Wait, what? I thought you just said…”

That’s right. I loved my personal trainer and stopping sessions was the best decision that I’ve made in regards to my fitness. How can that possibly make sense? Easy. I wasn’t ready or willing to make the lifestyle changes necessary to fully benefit from seeing my trainer, so my money was being thrown down the drain. It had nothing to do with my trainer; he was awesome. For the sake of names, we’ll refer to him as “John”.

I truly believe that a lot of people fall into the personal trap that I fell into when I hired John. I’ve got myself a fancy personal trainer, now I’ll be in shape in no time! Yeah….kinda….no. Don’t get me wrong, in the first month alone, I lost some pounds and lots of inches from seeing John 3x a week. I was lifting heavier and feeling great about myself….when I was in the gym with John.

Back at home, I somewhat adjusted my eating habits, but not really. I never went to the gym unless I was going to the gym to meet with John. I didn’t think of it this way at the time, but I was relying John, alone, to make miracles happen, not myself. Let me tell you folks, this is definitely not sustainable in the long run. I cut back to seeing him less often to make it more affordable and guess what? I slowly started gaining it ALL back, plus some. This seems so blatantly obvious in retrospect, but hindsight (and more fitness knowledge) is 20/20.

Now, I know that this seems like I’m advocating against personal trainers, but I’m not. You just need to make an informed decision before you make up your mind so that you can gain maximum benefits and make an investment in yourself with all of that money (I wasted A LOT). So how do you know if you’re ready to hire one?

  1. You have disposable income to spend. This means income after all of your bills and living expenses are paid for (aka play money). It is not worth putting yourself in debt to get a trainer, and getting a trainer is very expensive.
  2. You are ready for a lifestyle change. This doesn’t make sense to a lot of people because it sounds very frumpy. When I say lifestyle change, you are not on a diet or Vegas/Mexico/vacation workout plan. You will see temporary results, but be prepared to say hello to your old self again as soon as you stop. A lifestyle change is making small, incremental changes to your daily life that lead to a sustainable, long term road to health and weight loss. It has taken me 9 months to lose, gain, and re-lose about 13 pounds, but they’re staying off, I have tons of energy, I am more fit, and NOT STARVING. The gain for me was after stopping my PT sessions before I got serious about change. I still slip up and enjoy my share of treats and bad eats, but I start over again at the next meal or the next day. Sh*t happens, learn to deal with it.
  3. Accountability to yourself. This is in line with #2. You must be accountable to yourself when your trainer is not there. Nobody can motivate you in the long run but yourself. I don’t always feel motivated to work out, especially after a night of drinking and late night eating, but I made a promise to myself to live a healthier life. Even the world’s strongest athletes have days when they don’t want to work out, but they do. Think of your health as an appointment to yourself; you are your most important client.
  4. Have a goal. John asked what I wanted to accomplish, and I stared at him blankly. What did he mean? I thought I would come in, and he would just work me out, simple as that. I didn’t know, so I just told him I wanted to get tone and thin. He worked with it, and I did get more tone and thin, but that was a pretty obvious outcome. It’s better to go in knowing a goal in mind. Even if it’s as simple as overall fitness, that’s okay! You can also go in needing help to train for an event, modify around your physical limitations, or get past a plateau. If you’re training for a race/event, taking other strength-based classes at the gym, or working out on your own, LET YOUR TRAINER KNOW. They need to be able to safely plan their workout with you based on your other forms of activity so that you don’t get injured or over-train specific muscle groups.
  5. Be prepared to get worked out, duh! This also seems completely obvious, but it happened to me, and I see it all the time at the gym. People go in wanting to get in a hardcore workout, and then they waste time shooting the shit with their trainer, whining, or not really giving 100%. You did not pay them to be your therapist or mom, and they did not get their certifications to watch you waste your money. It will be hard. You may want to vomit at times. You may question your sanity (and theirs). You will feel AWESOME. It’s a luxury to have a trainer, so make every.single.moment.count.
If all of these reasons are jiving well with you, then go for it! It could be exactly what you need to reach your next goal(s). I would love to hire mine again, but I’m still seeing results with what I’m doing and more aggressively paying down the before-mentioned debt. That’s my priority right now, but I know I can always find a trainer again. This time, though, I’ll be smart about it.
If you have any questions about my specific experience, types of workouts, etc, feel free to contact me directly 🙂 I’m more than happy to answer.
Be Thankful Challenge
Phew…that was a really long post! Hopefully you made it through and got some valuable information to help you make a decision. Today, I am thankful that it did not snow. We were supposed to be hit with another storm last night, and it never came (yay).

8 thoughts on “Should You Hire a Personal Trainer?

  1. I’ve always dreamed of being able to afford a personal trainer, but I can see myself becoming dependent on them like you said, and only working out with the trainer. If you’re not accountable with yourself, the trainer won’t work wonders.

    That’s a cool looking Almond Butter jar!

  2. I would love to be able to hire a personal trainer once I’m out on my own and have a real job to support it, but I agree that you have to be completely committed to wanting to improve your fitness level or health. Otherwise, it’s just a waste of your money and time.

    I’m also so thankful the snow missed us! I was not ready for another week with snow.

  3. I used to want a personal trainer but I didn’t have the money to afford one. I could see how I would rely on them a lot if I do have one though.

    I saw some of justin’s almond butter and really wanted to get it, but it’s so expensive. Too much for my college budget.

    • I agree. I just bought a different brand, though, I like the Justin’s better. I don’t know what it is, but it’s just delicious. I would suggest not buying one for awhile because you might become hooked lol.

  4. Pingback: 25 Years Later « Fit on the Rocks

  5. Pingback: So We Meet Again | Fit on the Rocks

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