10 Reasons to Hire a Personal Trainer

A personal trainer can teach you, motivate you, and help you get results

Woman working out with personal trainer

Verywell / Sabrina Huang

People work with personal trainers for many reasons. Whether you want to develop an individualized program to support weight loss goals, get in shape, or feel that you'd benefit from the additional accountability or instruction, a personal trainer can be a great resource.

But sometimes, people are cautious about investing in a trainer. Cost can be an issue; some people might feel intimidated by working with a pro. But certified fitness professionals are trained to work with clients of all backgrounds and fitness levels. And many can work out package deals to make the service more affordable.

If you are starting an exercise program or don't see results with your current routine, a personal trainer might be your best option. Here are 10 reasons why you might want to hire a personal trainer.

What Does A Personal Trainer Do?

Personal trainers work with you one-on-one to help design an engaging exercise regimen, help you with form, ensure you are working all your muscle groups safely, and more. The accountability of meeting your trainer for a set appointment can help stay on track and meet your goals. Personal trainers are excellent resources for beginners who need help getting started as well as for more seasoned exercisers who want to push themselves further.

You're Not Seeing Results

If you've been exercising consistently for several weeks or months and aren't reaching your goals (whether you are seeking to lose weight, improve your performance at a sport, or build strength), there are a few ways a trainer might be able to help.

Evaluate Your Current Program and Goals

By looking at what you're already doing, a trainer can suggest ways to change or tweak your workouts to make them more efficient and effective. A trainer can help determine if your goals are realistic.

Help You Stay Motivated and Keep Pushing

Knowing you have an appointment with a pro can help you maintain motivation to exercise. People often don't see results because they're not working as hard as they could.

It's easy to slack off when you're by yourself, but having someone to challenge you (and cheer you on) can make a difference. A trainer can help you set weekly goals, then check in regularly to see how you're doing, keeping you motivated and pushing toward your goals.

Provide Educated Advice

Whether you want to learn how to lift weights properly or do a new exercise, a trainer is a wealth of knowledge. For example, you might think you need to focus on cardio to lose weight, but you need strength training and core training, too, and a trainer can help you set up a plan.

You may be getting results—just not in the way you expected. You might gain muscle and lose fat, changing your body composition while your weight stays constant. While this is rare for those who've been training for a while, it's a phenomenon that happens frequently among new lifters.

A trainer can see your situation more clearly from the outside and offer you a new perspective.

You might decide that you only need a few sessions with a trainer to hone your skills or get inspired. Once you get some new ideas for exercises and workouts, you might be ready to get back to a routine on your own.

You Don't Know Where to Start

We're not born knowing how to exercise, or how to design a complete program that includes cardio, weight training, and flexibility training, which specific exercises to do for each of those, and how to fit it into a busy schedule. Facing the task can feel so overwhelming that you don't do anything.

A trainer can help you with the basics. The workouts you do should be based on the F.I.T.T. principle: You choose the frequency, intensity, time, and type of workout and manipulate these elements over time.

How a Trainer Can Help

  • Suggesting activities that work for your body, schedule, and available equipment
  • Helping you figure out how hard to work during exercise and how to monitor your exercise intensity
  • Showing you how to choose exercises, weights, reps, and sets
  • Using different tools (such as a heart rate monitor or activity tracker) to enhance your workouts
  • Teaching you how to get the most out of your workout, while also making sure you don't overdo it

You're Bored With Your Workouts

If you're an experienced exerciser, you may not have considered working with a personal trainer. However, it can be a great choice if you need some variety in your workouts.

It's easy to fall into a workout rut, doing the same workouts repeatedly. This isn't just boring; it can also lead to weight loss plateaus, overuse injuries, and burnout.

If you're already workout-savvy, you might consider hiring a personal trainer for a fresh perspective while continuing to challenge you toward your goals with an objective eye.

They might see areas of your program that could be adjusted to make your workout more interesting, more challenging, or just more fun. A trainer will look at your workout performance and let you know about any areas you could improve or where you might be able to push yourself a little harder.

Trainers are experienced in many different types of workouts. Find someone to show you the ropes if there's one you've wanted to try. This could mean high-intensity interval training (Tabata training), different strength training methods, including supersets and pyramid training, or new equipment like the water-filled Kamagon Ball.

A trainer offers a fresh perspective and new ideas to challenge your body and your mind. Even if you only have a few sessions or meet every few weeks, it can be refreshing to have new workouts and exercise equipment to try.

You Need to Be Challenged

If you feel stuck or ready to take your training to the next level, an experienced personal trainer can help you find ways to challenge yourself in several ways.

Trainers can help you find and train for competitive events: A trainer can help you find and prepare for events like a "Tough Mudder" (where you run through an obstacle course) or a local race.

If you've hit a plateau in your progress, trainers can be a tool for change. They can switch up your programming to add volume or intensity to keep you progressing. A trainer can help you choose the correct weights and spot you as you do more challenging exercises.

A trainer can also engage in the workout with you, adding a competitive element to your workouts or helping you with partner exercises.

You'll find it's tough to slack off with a trainer standing over you, telling you to do just one more rep. You may even find you have hidden strengths to tap, which can motivate you even more.

You Want to Learn How to Exercise on Your Own

Even if your goal is to create your own workouts and exercise by yourself, hiring a trainer for a few sessions offers the benefit of helping you learn the right way to perform a new exercise. This is especially true if you're new to strength training and need to practice. A trainer can:

Teach You Exercise Varieties and Form

This knowledge is gold, especially for the home exerciser. Knowing a variety of exercises that target different muscles allows you to create your own workouts.

To get the most out of your workouts and avoid injury, you need to do each exercise in a certain way. A trainer can offer cues to help you get your body into the right position to ensure you are doing each move correctly (and safely).

Provide Information for Program Design

A trainer can help you decide how often to lift weights and how to choose your weights, sets, and reps. They can create a variety of workouts for you to continue doing when you're ready to go out on your own.

They can also teach you which exercises work for each muscle group so you know what to choose when designing a plan. Learning about your muscles, as well as how they work, is essential if you plan to work out on your own at home or at the gym.

Even after you stop training, a trainer can still be an available resource. Most trainers are fine with you contacting them from time to time for advice and you can always go back to training at any time.

You Need Accountability and Motivation

Motivation comes from all kinds of places, both internally and externally. You may already have some intrinsic motivation to exercise, such as wanting to be healthier or to get off your high blood pressure medication.

You also need extrinsic motivators to keep exercising. A personal trainer can be that motivator. By hiring a trainer, you're creating motivation in several different areas:

Accountability and Commitment

Your trainer will probably ask about your week, wanting to know if you did your workouts and how your eating plan is going. Knowing that you'll have to report in can make you less likely to skip your workouts.

There's nothing like a regular standing appointment to get you in gear for a workout—you don't want to let down a trainer or yourself.

Time and Money

You're investing money into reaching your goal. Just showing up for your sessions to ensure you don't lose the money might be all you need to keep going.

Money isn't the only thing you're investing—you're also investing time, which is a precious resource. Some people feel more motivated when they've committed to something with their dollars.

You Have a Specific Illness, Injury, or Condition

If you have a specific injury or condition, your doctor may want you to exercise—but how do you do that if you're in pain or have to work around an injury?

That's where an experienced trainer comes in. Trainers work with all kinds of people. Many trainers even have specialties that allow them to work with special needs clients.

How a Trainer Can Help

  • Creating a program that works on the areas you need without risking new or re-injury, as well as dealing with old or chronic injuries
  • Coming up with a fitness plan if you're pregnant or ​want to become pregnant
  • Exercising with a chronic health condition such as arthritis, diabetes, or heart disease
  • Increasing your balance, core strength, and stability if you've had a fall or need to work on those areas.
  • Overcoming back or neck pain

Before you start working with a trainer, there are a few essential things to keep in mind:

  • Always talk to your doctor and get clearance for exercise. If you have a specific medical condition, your trainer might require your doctor's OK before they will work with you.
  • Work with your physical therapist (if you have one). Your trainer might want to get in touch with your physical therapist to find out what exercises you should (or shouldn't) do.
  • Make sure your trainer is experienced with your condition. Ask about any classes or certifications they have taken to ensure the trainer knows what they're doing.

You're Training for a Sport or Event

An experienced personal trainer can greatly help if you're into a specific sport or training for an upcoming event.

Whether you're a golfer, a runner, or into cycling, there's likely a trainer out there who can help you to up your game. Just make sure they have specific education in an area like sports conditioning or a related field. Specialized trainers can:

Create Effective Workouts and Schedules

A sports conditioning trainer knows what exercises to do for a specific sport, such as golf or basketball. They can help you develop workouts to strengthen the areas you need to work on while avoiding overdoing it.

Training is about more than working out. You also need to have the right amount of recovery time. A trainer can help you create a program that allows your body to get the most out of your workout while also giving it time to heal and recover.

Help You Avoid Injury and Burnout

One primary concern in sports is that making the same motions repeatedly can cause an overuse injury. A trainer can help you cross-training, allowing your muscles to rest or work differently.

As well, trainers will help with fatigue management, which is crucial for avoiding overtraining and burnout. They will incorporate rest and recovery techniques for you to follow and monitor your symptoms.

You Want Supervision or Support During Workouts

Even if you know how to exercise and do so correctly, you might like to have a trainer around for support and supervision.

How a Trainer Can Help

  • Being a workout buddy: A trainer can do more than tell you what to do; they can guide you through your workouts and even do them alongside you.
  • Keeping you in line: If you know you tend to slack on your own, a trainer may motivate you to work harder because you know they're right there watching you.
  • Motivating you: If you find it hard to exercise on your own, having someone arrive at your door (or having an appointment to hit the gym or fitness studio) can get you motivated to show up and do the work.
  • Spotting you: If you're lifting very heavy weights, a trainer can help keep you safe and rack your weights as well.

You Want to Work Out at Home

If you'd like to exercise at home but you don't have a lot of equipment or aren't sure how to use what you have, in-home personal training is an excellent choice. Look for trainers in your area who offer that option.

Benefits of At-Home Workouts

  • Convenience: You don't have to pack a bag or drive to the gym if your trainer comes to you.
  • Equipment ideas: A trainer might bring equipment with them but can also make recommendations for home exercise equipment to help you reach your goals (i.e., equipment worth the investment).
  • Instruction: A trainer can show you how to use standard workout tools like resistance bands, dumbbells, and an exercise ball. A good trainer can also show you how to use unexpected equipment like a staircase, a couch, a chair, or paper plates.
  • Privacy: Working out in your own space instead of a gym. It can be more comfortable and make you feel less self-conscious.
  • Variety: A trainer can also change your workouts as often as possible to ensure you don't get bored.

What to Look for in a Personal Trainer

Most gyms have personal trainers on staff and offer attractive packages for personal training. You can also look online or use IDEA Fitness Connect to find trainers in your area.

The cost of a personal training session will vary depending on where you live and your trainer's experience and education. The cost for a personal trainer varies based on where you live, what you are hoping to get out of the sessions, the package you choose, and the trainer's personal experience and rates.

An effective personal trainer will listen closely to what you say and make sure that they understand your goals and will be focused only on you during your sessions. Most importantly, they will regularly assess your progress and make changes if necessary.

Things to Consider

  • Business policies: The trainer should have liability insurance and provide a copy of policies and procedures for services, costs, cancellations, and refunds.
  • Certification and qualifications: A personal trainer should be certified through a reputable personal training organization, such as ACSM, ACE, IDEA, YMCA, or NSCA. Your trainer should have an updated certification in CPR and/or first aid.
  • Experience: Make sure your trainer has the experience, especially in relation to your goals. For example, if you're a bodybuilder, you want someone knowledgeable in that area.
  • Specifics: If you have a specific medical problem, injury, or condition (such as being pregnant, difficulty getting pregnant, heart problems, diabetes, etc.) make sure your trainer has an education in these areas and will work with your doctor.

What a Session Is Like

A personal training session usually lasts about one hour. Your first meeting with your trainer will be devoted to assessing your fitness level, taking body measurements, talking about the exercise you already do, getting a health history, and setting some goals.

Be prepared to step on a scale, have your body fat measured, and answer specific questions about your fitness goals.

After your initial meeting, you'll spend each session doing cardio, weight training, flexibility exercises, or other activities depending on your goals. A trainer will show you how to do each exercise, help you figure out how much weight to use, and give you pointers for getting the most out of your workout.

A Word From Verywell

Hiring a personal trainer is an important investment in your health. It's a good idea to take some time to be sure that you hire someone that accommodates your specific needs. Ask friends or colleagues for recommendations, but keep in mind that if their goals are different than yours, their trainer may not be the best fit. Once you've hired your trainer, keep the lines of communication open. Provide constructive feedback to help them guide you to success.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Is it worth getting a personal trainer?

    For many people, it is. A trainer can help you to reach important goals, help you to return to fitness after an injury, or simply provide motivation and accountability when you need it the most.

  • How long does it take to get in shape?

    Everyone's fitness journey is different. The time it takes for you depends on your starting point and your goals. But if you exercise regularly, you should start to see changes in the way you look and feel in a couple of weeks.

  • What does a personal trainer do for you?

    A trainer can make your exercise program safer, more effective, and more fun. They also provide expertise, accountability, and support. If you're training for an event, a trainer can help you to feel more confident on your big day. If you don't feel that your trainer provides a benefit, it might be time to find a new trainer.

  • How many sessions do you need with a personal trainer?

    How many sessions you choose to do with a personal trainer is a choice you can make as you go. Starting with about 12 sessions will give you a very good basis for learning a variety of exercises and programming. However, there is no reason to stop using a personal trainer as your programming should adapt over time and a trainer will know how to do that.

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By Paige Waehner, CPT
Paige Waehner is a certified personal trainer, author of the "Guide to Become a Personal Trainer," and co-author of "The Buzz on Exercise & Fitness."