Are You In Shape Enough To Train With A Trainer?


If I had a penny for every person that I met who wanted to tell me about how they are about to embark on their fitness journey or how they "need to get back in the gym", I would be a rich woman! What is considered in shape, anyway? Everyone has their own definition. These individuals might be brand new to fitness, they might be coming back from an injury, and/or they might have simply fallen off the wagon and are hopping back on. No matter the background, I meet these individuals and offer my assistance. I am a trainer. My job is to help people get on track and stay there. More often than not, the response to my offer is “Give me a few weeks to just get back on the right track” or “let me build up some strength for a bit so I am ready to work with you”. I’ve also heard “Yes, I’d love to work with you, but it will be a few months before my body is ready for a workout with you.” I am not sure why people say that, but I am hoping this post will help you understand why they do not make sense. We, as trainers, only want to see people hit goals and hit goals in an efficient manner. We aren't that unrealistic or mean...unless we need to be! =)

It took me a while to realize that there is this idea floating around that in order to work with a trainer you already have to be in decent shape. But, you have to realize that you are in the spot you are in right now, because you put yourself there. I get it. It is easier to let yourself go and to concentrate on other priorities. Trainers can be intimidating and are in control of you and your goals. That is tough to relinquish and give into. Most people want fast results, but then head to the gym without a plan. A trainer is the fastest way to reach a goal. How do you know you're “good enough” to work with a trainer? Let me break it down a bit and explain what fitness levels might need a trainer.

First, you have your beginner. I’d define a beginner as someone who is very new to the exercise scene and maybe you’ve done cardio work on your own or taken a class before. However, when you walk in a gym and see all the machines, in shape people and heavy weights, you’re instantly intimidated and have no idea what to do with any of it. You are ready for a trainer, from day one. We’re called trainer for a reason. Our job is to teach you what all that equipment is for, how to properly use it, when to use it, and how to design a workout utilizing all of it. When I first started working out, I didn’t have a clue about what to do. I worked out with my brother and he had to show me everything. I mimicked his every move. I actually copied him so closely that one day he asked me why I was doing an exercise with one leg instead of two. You see, he has one leg, I have two. But, since I had no idea what I was doing I just did exactly what he did. This phase is very crucial and if you don’t start right, you might just be prepping your body for injury instead of getting stronger. This individual needs to see a trainer at least 2-3x a week to get started.

Secondly, you have the intermediate exerciser. This is an interesting section of the fitness journey. Those who start with a trainer think when they get to this level they have arrived and will no longer need help. Others who think they need to be somewhat fit to work with a trainer, might define this as when they’re ready to start training. I would define this as the part in the journey where you now have an understanding of the equipment in the gym. You know you have different body parts and you now have a library of exercises to work each one. You may have even seen some big changes in your physique. This is a phase where it is easy to fall into a rut, get lazy and keep doing the same things over and over again. This will lead to boredom and burnout. This phase is where you need to constantly be challenged with something new. Yes, you know all the equipment, but there are a million ways to use it. Changing up items like the tempo of an exercise, the rep schemes or even the sets, can change your body. When I thought I was good on my own, I got incredibly bored. I didn’t get excited about the gym anymore and my workouts were pretty lame. I needed someone to keep showing me and teaching me new things. This type of individual would need to see a trainer a little less, like 1-2x a week or even bi-weekly, along with online guidance from your trainer.

Lastly, you have the advanced individual or even an expert in the field would fit. You’ve been working out your whole life. You know tons of different programs, tons of terms about working out and exactly what works for you and what doesn’t. Shoot, maybe you’re even a trainer. Again, I’ll use my fitness journey as an example. I’ve been a trainer now for over 4 years. I’ve done a figure competition and won. I have a handful of certifications and have gone to numerous conferences and seminars. I’m always reading and listening to new things. Yet, I still schedule time everyday to work with a trainer (yes, its Brad). Why? Because I still need to be pushed. I need a second set of eyes on how I move. When I workout alone the intensity level isn’t even close to the same as when some one is there setting expectations for me. This individual would be ideal to see once a month or even train through online coaching, unless there is a performance goal they need to hit (like benching 600 lbs or running a 4.3 40 yard dash). If there is an extremely specific, performance related goal, then training 3-4 times a week is ideal.

Where do you see yourself in those designations? For all three, know that each one can utilize guidance in a different fashion. Why do I share all this? The main reason is not for my sole benefit, instead, its because I’ve walked through the various phases and I understand the position most individuals are in. I understood what I needed and still need, to keep getting better and to reach my goals. I need help because I love the encouragement, the accountability, and the variation in working with a trainer. We’re all human, “we all need somebody to lean on”. So, don’t be intimidated or too proud to ask for help. We, as trainers, want to help anyone and everyone. We want to see them hit goals! No matter the issues you might have or the goals you might have, shoot us a message and let us help you!

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