It’s a good question and depends on so many ‘right fits’; the right fit for my wallet; the right fit for rapport; the right fit for my available time to name but a few.
But then there are more questions: How motivated am I? Do I know how to work out safely? Do I know how to work out effectively? Do I want to belong to a gym? Do I know what my goal is? Why am I bothering at all? Will I have given up by the end of January?!
I’ve always been an active female. I played netball, surfed, belonged to a running club, I mountain bike, road bike, sea swim, kayak and hike. I’ve worked in the sports industry and got a sports science degree. But, when it comes to strength training, I have to drag myself to the gym. Mainly because I don’t want to be indoors – the great outdoors is always calling me!
So, for years I would drag myself out of bed three times a week and get myself to the gym before work, usually following my own workout or a routine from Runners’ World. The workouts were okay but they weren’t quite hitting the mark, except that I always felt slightly ‘holier than thou’ by having done a workout before I got to the office.
Does that sound familiar?
When I moved to Devon six years ago, I decided to join a large gym and they offered three sessions with a personal trainer as part of my joining package. When the PT asked me why I had joined up, I started to re-evaluate the reasons – which I felt were mainly down to habit: I always go to the gym; it’s what I do.
The PT was genuinely interested in my motives and my ‘jack of all trades’ approach to my sport: I do a lot of different things but none of them really well. But he was also interested in my physiology; I was then heading towards 50 and we started to discuss bone density, strength and keeping conditions like osteoporosis at bay.
I began to see the real purpose for me to strength train. Yes, for vanity – don’t we all want toned arms and legs? Yes, to improve my muscle mass for the biking and running … but also to right to consider the health steps now which are crucial for my later life.
I’ve been with my PT for the whole six years I’ve lived here. I can honestly say that there’s no way I would have deadlifted 100k on my 50th birthday. I would have avoided doing sets of clean & press, heavy squats, skull crushers and all the other exercises I’d never heard of like the plague. I would have continued to play it safe with the routines I knew.
Now I’m 53 – I’m strong, I’m toned, I have a metabolic age of someone in their early 40s and I have a strong relationship with someone who probably knows my body as well as I do (don’t read too much into that!).
Is a personal trainer worth it? I’d always say yes because, if nothing else, it’s one less thing to think about. They’ve got you, they understand your body and, if you do the extra work you’ve agreed to, you see the results so much more than trying to go it alone.