What does a personal trainer do?

Avatar for Mish Khot By in exercise, fitness goals, personal training, training on 20/02/2020
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If I’m already going to the gym, do I need to consult a personal fitness trainer? What if I’ve never done a work-out before – do I need a personal trainer or should I start off with just a gym membership? Do I need a personal trainer only if I’m trying to lose weight?

Trying to decide if you need a personal trainer can be confusing, but we’re here to answer all your questions.

First of all, what does a personal fitness trainer do?

A personal trainer can help you whether optimize your fitness routine, whether you are a beginner or have had a regular routine for years now. The trainer will take time to understand your fitness or weight loss goals, your metabolism, and your abilities, and then can customize a routine that works for you.

We all have days when we feel like quitting and giving in to that calorie overload. A personal trainer provides the motivation you need to keep at it, even when you’re tempted to go easy on yourself.

personal fitness trainer

I’m a beginner. Should I just start off slow and join a gym?

Joining a gym is a great start, and it’ll all be new to you. Consulting a personal fitness trainer at this stage is a good way to set realistic goals, understand your body and its abilities, and most importantly, learn the correct way to perform your exercises.

Incorrect posture is one of the most common causes of injuries in the gym or during a sport, and by having a personal trainer supervise you, you’re more likely to learn the right way to do everything.

I have a regular gym routine. Why should I consult a personal fitness routine?

For many people, a fitness routine can become just that – routine. Gym-goers tend to use their favourite machines over and over, or perform the same exercises over and over. This could lead to injury from overuse, or it could cause a plateau in the results you’re getting.

If you have the discipline to maintain a regular fitness schedule, you’re already doing better than most people. That valuable hour that you set aside to take care of yourself should be the most effective it can be. A personal trainer can help you reassess your fitness goals, see where you are and where you want to go, and help make your workout work for you.

I don’t really like working out, but I do it to keep fit. Why would I get a personal fitness trainer?

You should never be bored of your fitness routine, because there are so many ways to stay fit, lose weight, gain muscle, or just remain active. A personal trainer can help you find a sport or develop a routine that you love and that helps you achieve your goals.

It’s also possible that you’re just not motivated by solo workouts, but when your personal trainer becomes a workout buddy, it feels like more fun.

Alternatively, if solo workouts are not working for you and you’re not sure about getting a trainer, why not join a group fitness class?

I don’t go to the gym but I do a lot of running/yoga. Why would I need a personal trainer?

If you’re a runner, a personal trainer who specializes in running can help you improve your form, work on your time and speed, train more effectively, and recover faster from long runs. If you do yoga regularly, a trainer will help you improve your flexibility and form, and can help you achieve the correct postures. The same applies to any sport you do – a personal trainer can make you better at whatever you enjoy doing.

personal fitness trainer

If you have a big event coming up, a personal fitness trainer can help you train for it. Whether it is a marathon, a big game, or a match, you’ll need a targeted approach to be able to meet specific goals

I don’t have much time. Should I get a fitness trainer at home?

A personal fitness trainer is suitable if you don’t have enough free time to commit to a regular routine. If you choose to be trained at home, it might be easier to finish your workout before your day begins. In this situation, a personal trainer will make sure that no matter how little time you have, you’re doing the optimal workout for your goals.

How do I choose the best personal trainer for me?

When you’re looking for a trainer, it is important that you get along well and enjoy each other’s company. A personal trainer can help you develop a realistic, healthy relationship with your body and with your fitness goals, and should be someone who can motivate and inspire you on the journey.

It is most important to check the credentials of any trainers you are considering. A good trainer has experience in the field of fitness and in the specific area of your sport.

what does a personal trainer do

You should have a chat with the trainer to understand what their style of working is like. Some clients respond better to boot-camp-style commands, while some need a gentler, more patient approach – figure out which you are and choose a trainer who understands this. The best personal trainer for you is one who understands how to motivate you and help you reach your goals.

Of course, practical considerations like the cost, the number of times you will be expected to meet, and the convenience (where do they work from, will they visit at home, can you arrange sessions and get to them on time) of the trainer are important.

Should I get a female personal trainer?

It makes no difference whether your trainer is male or female – as long as they have the required experience and certification. However, some clients may be more comfortable with a female personal trainer, or find it easier to communicate with a woman. In this case, a female personal trainer is a better idea. 

Does it make a difference if I get a fitness trainer at home or in the gym?

Some personal trainers are attached to specific gyms or fitness centres, and do not work outside of it, while some trainers are available to train you at home or at a different location.

what do personal trainers do

The advantage of working with a personal fitness trainer at home is that you can do this at a time and place that is convenient to you. However, the benefit of working out in a gym is that you have access to a wide range of equipment and can progress to more advanced levels on the machines easily.

What does a personal trainer do that I cannot do on my own?

While you can watch a dozen Youtube videos and talk to the fittest people on the running track or at the gym, a personal trainer has actually studied for this job. They have a degree in nutrition, fitness, health and exercise and are required to keep up with the latest research and developments for a living.

With a strong foundation and understanding of exercise and fitness, a personal trainer brings a lot more to the table than a layman.

A personal trainer helps you to understand the following in detail:

  • How nutrition can help you make or break your fitness goals
  • How to target particular muscle groups to strengthen and aid areas of weaknesses
  • The correct forms of exercise to ensure maximal results while preventing injury or pain of any kind

Having a professional on your side lets you ask all sorts of specific questions so that you can work on a more personalized exercise routine for yourself. This is an advantage that most people tend to underestimate when trying to correct their posture, technique and nutrition all on their own. Not only is this dangerous but it also results in slower progress as you might be unable to extract the most benefits from your fitness regimen.

This can be dangerous because incorrect form when performing exercises can result in severe injury or worse. Even the fittest person can end up seriously injured if they have bad form or try exercises that don’t suit their bodies.

trainer for correct form during exercise

While we all want to gain the most from our workout, incorrect form is the worst possible thing you can do during your hour of exercise. An injury can leave you debilitated for a long period of time and wreck all the goals you’re working towards. A thorough professional who is qualified and trained in how to execute exercises diminishes your risk and boosts the effectiveness of your workout routine.

This is not to say that everyone without a personal trainer has poor form but those are exceptions rather than the norm. Certain people only need certain adjustments, while others may need to unlearn all that they know before they can relearn the basics and develop the understanding that is needed for correct form.

No two individuals are alike; everyone’s abilities and goals are different when it comes to working out. While some might be trying to recover from a long-term injury, others may be trying to undo the effects of a sedentary lifestyle, and most of us are just trying to improve our current state of health.

What does a personal trainer do to ensure I get maximum results in the minimum time possible?

Think about how you exercise, and be honest with yourself.

Do you spend more time on the exercises you like and ignore the others? Do you spend more time at the gym trying to find the perfect soundtrack? Do you frequently skip the heavy workout days because you’re not feeling sufficiently motivated?

Very few of us walk into the gym with determination in our eyes every day, and most of us have a favourite exercise or machine on which we spend more time than we should.

Personal trainers are trained to identify our weaknesses and build a better routine. A personal trainer allows you to move swiftly and seamlessly towards becoming more efficient and will help motivate you for every session so that you can get more from your workout.

personal trainer for better workouts

Irrespective of the time at your disposal or your current levels of fitness, a trainer supplies you with the right tools and techniques to step up your game and maximize the gains from every single training session.

What does a personal trainer do in terms of nutrition?

As part of their training and to secure the necessary qualifications, all aspiring personal trainers must pass a module on nutrition when they wish to get certified. It is in these modules that they learn about the impact of nutrition on exercise performance and fitness levels.

To receive their next level of certification, personal trainers complete even more nutrition so that they can suggest appropriate diets, help you understand what is metabolism and work with your specific body type and health concerns.

What does a personal trainer do in terms of my mental health?

A personal trainer works on not only your physical fitness levels, but your general wellbeing and health. A personal trainer is concerned about your mental health because that has wide ranging impacts on multiple fitness related factors. Your current mental state determines your work life balance, the type of food you will consume and thus your workout performance. Your mental state also has a major impact on your motivation and performance levels.

This is why a good personal trainer puts in effort to develop and cultivate a strong relationship with you so that you feel supported and are comfortable addressing your concerns and struggles with your general health and wellbeing. A physical training regimen is known to boost mental health and help ward off mental health problems such as anxiety and depression, but the extra care that a personal trainer takes can help you much more than you know.

setting fitness goals with a personal trainer

If you feel overwhelmed with your current state of mental health and don’t feel like working out, bear in mind that all of us go through mental health concerns at some point or the other in our lives. You are not alone in your mental health struggles and just like many others, you can overcome them and come out on top.

A personal trainer makes it easier to set a daily routine and have goals that you can control and work towards, such as your level of fitness, which is highly beneficial for your mental health.

By keeping you motivated through the difficult times and choosing the right exercises for your current state, a personal trainer ensures maximal mental benefits from your workouts, all the while providing you support that you can count on.

What does a personal trainer do to ensure I stay on track with my goals?

It takes a lot of time to form good habits that ensure you stick to your long term goals. It can take even longer to part with bad habits that come in the way of reaching these goals. Trying to do this on your own only makes it that much harder and intimidating. A personal trainer makes it easier because they can help come with up weekly or daily goals to form new good habits while breaking bad ones that come in the way of your goals.

The daily goals can be something as simple as the number of steps to complete, how much water to drink, or something more complicated like creating a diet plan to avoid processed foods. These can help you build good habits in the long run as you hit these daily goals on the way to accomplishing weekly or monthly ones.

personal trainers for sports

Personal trainers not only help you understand and set goals that are realistic but also provide the flexibility of short and long-term goals. They act as the perfect medium to set and achieve goals of various lengths. If you have specific short-term goals such as training for an upcoming event or hitting a desired level of fitness, then this is something your personal trainer can help you work towards.

Examples of short-term goals could be losing weight within the next few months so that you can wear a pretty dress at your cousin’s wedding. A personal trainer is the perfect way to help you lose that extra weight so that you can fit into that dress.

Another short-term goal could be preparing for a marathon in the upcoming months. A person trainer could tailor your exercise regimen to allow you to work on your stamina and core strength as you prepare to blaze through the marathon.

meet your fitness goals with a trainer

The problem with goals is that most people who begin training with goals in mind, want to see quick results because they hope to achieve these goals immediately. Goals could range from weight loss, better core strength or general improvements in flexibility; regardless of the quantum of the goal, no goal can be achieved straight away. All goals take time (and effort) to achieve. It is not the goals that end up discouraging most people, it is their unrealistic expectations from the many realistic goals.

Apart from setting goals that are realistic, personal trainers chalk out realistic ways to achieve them and stay on track with the same. They can help you get that ‘bikini body’ for the summer and not through doing 100 crunches every single day for a whole month.

They know it is not about excessive spot exercisers but rather a holistic training regimen. It is about combining cardio with resistance training to work your muscles within a realistic timeframe. They also know that it is hard for you to sustain your motivation levels throughout the entire journey of achieving your goals. A personal trainer is vital to ensure that you remain committed and work daily on your fitness goals.

You are far more likely to attend a training session where you have made an appointment with a personal trainer (and spent money on the same). A personal trainer can make the difference between you hopping out of your bed in the morning to go for a run or hitting the snooze button for an extra hour of sleep.

What does a personal trainer do in terms of offering flexibility?

Working out in a crowd of people is not to everyone’s liking, either because of personal preferences for hygiene, or not wanting to wait in line for using the workout equipment. A personal trainer offers the benefit of not being limited to working out only in the presence of equipment.

Your personal trainer can bring along the equipment with them and can arrive at the location of your choosing. Whether that is within the comforts of your home, a public park, your local gym; a personal trainer affords you the flexibility to workout however and wherever you see fit.

Most of us lead extremely busy lives with tightly packed schedules and very little free time. It doesn’t matter if you have time to work out extremely early in the morning before your daily commitments or only during your lunch break, a personal trainer offers versatility in terms of your schedule. They appreciate that everyone has different timelines and hence are willing to customize appointment timings to your liking.

how to choose a personal trainer

All of us have varied preferences when it comes to all facets of life and workouts are no different. There will always be certain exercises you tend to enjoy more than others, for reasons that extend beyond capability. You might, for example, excel at performing sit-ups but might enjoy performing squat jumps more.

For this reason, personal trainers customize all training plans to incorporate more of the exercises that you enjoy which keeps you motivated to workout and achieve your goals. There will also be days when your mind or body is not up for a workout which is where a personal trainer comes in handy. Not only do they motivate you to show up but also tailor that day’s routine to take into account your current condition whilst ensuring a productive session.

What do personal trainers do in terms of improving my fitness levels?

When you train on your own, you are likely to experience dazzling results in the first few weeks of training as your body takes time to `adapt to the training regimen. Week after week, you see exponential gains in strength and flexibility but soon you find yourself hitting a wall.

This is where a personal trainer can make all the difference. After all, what do personal trainers do except help you break through the barriers of your fitness efforts. They’ll help you take your fitness to the next level as you continue to challenge and exceed your personal abilities. What a personal trainer does in this aspect is to help you see with new eyes your old training regimen.

get fitter and healthier with a trainer

This helps you understand how you can improve, what you can alter and how much more can you really push yourself. You will especially notice the difference when you are on your last reps for a set and your trainer motivates you to challenge yourself, to keep pushing yourself as you take your fitness to the next level.

What does a personal trainer do to get their required qualifications and experiences?

Most personal trainers within Australia have undergone extensive training to receive a Certificate IV in Fitness, a degree in Exercise Science or Human Movement or a diploma in Fitness. This is the minimum level of education requirement for any and all personal trainers within Australia. While most will only meet these requirements, they are trainers who have added to their skill sets by completing additional courses, degrees and training programs. When considering what do personal trainers do for your routine, do make sure to check if they meet the following qualifications:

  • Enquire about their past cases and success stories when it comes to their other clients
  • Question them about their experience and scope of work
  • Request to see their professional qualifications including all types of certificates, diplomas and other forms of proofs
  • Get in touch with Fitness Australia, preferably through their website, to check out the trainer’s qualifications, experiences and other skill sets which are available on the ‘Find a Trainer’ page
  • Ensure that they are trained or educated in the specific areas that you wish to improve, especially if it is related to specific medical conditions and injuries.
  • Figure out if they are willing to work with your doctor and other medical professionals for your specific conditions
  • Question them about existing industry standards, ethics, codes of practice and the Scope of Practice for Registered Exercise Professionals
  • Find out how they keep themselves updated on the the lateness health and fitness news and reports. Whether they take courses, subscribe to magazines and journals or attend seminars
  • Make sure they, or their employer, have professional liability insurance by seeking proof of the same
  • Enquire if they are enrolled in quality accreditation programs
  • Ask them for references and do get in touch with all the contacts provided
  • Check if they have public liability as well as professional indemnity insurance
  • See if they are registered with industry associations such as Fitness Australia (Australia’s peak health and fitness industry association) or Physical Activity Australia (fitness registration body)

Are there any precautions I should bear in mind when it comes to personal trainers?

The primary concern when it comes to what do personal trainers do is that you hire the best you can. This means avoid trainers without credentials. Be sure to check the credibility and qualifications any personal trainer by requesting them to share their credentials or simply check with Fitness Australia if the personal trainer is registered with them.

Validated credentials are not the only measure for a personal trainer. Some of them tend to be unethical despite having the right qualifications. Watch out for the following warning signs when it comes to personal trainers:

  • They try to get you to buy supplements or other forms of dietary aids, harping on certain brands and insisting that they are essential to your training regimen
  • Remain adamant that their methods of training are the only correct ones for you
  • Refuse to give proof of professional credentials
  • Try to close the contract as soon as possible during the first session itself without assessing compatibility
  • Do not make you go through any form of pre-training screening
  • Refuse to offer references for a background check
  • Prescribe dietary or training advice which seems to have no scientific backing
  • Guarantee to deliver you instant and dazzling results despite the fact that any good training regimen will need six weeks before delivering any sort of results being contingent on a number of factors such as  age, gender, physical conditioning and types of exercises
  • Are persistently late and refuse to answer their phones on most occasions
  • Suggest exercises or techniques that seem dangerous or dubious
  • Do not pay attention to your personal health and fitness goals and instead make you go through random workouts
  • Do not offer any form of tailored or customized exercise regimen that takes into account your personal factors

If you’re not sure where to begin, it is best to consult your general practitioner. They can provide you with advice, assess your current state of health and provide references to put your mind at ease.

If you’re looking for a personal fitness trainer, Avaana can help you find one near you.

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Mishana Khot is a fiction author and co-founder of The Great Next, an adventure travel company. She has been featured in National Geographic, Forbes magazine, and other publications, and has over 15 years of experience with health, travel, and lifestyle brands.

Avatar for Mish Khot

Mishana Khot is a fiction author and co-founder of The Great Next, an adventure travel company. She has been featured in National Geographic, Forbes magazine, and other publications, and has over 15 years of experience with health, travel, and lifestyle brands.

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