I, like many others, have had my share of ups and downs with regard to my own fitness journey. I’ve started fitness efforts only to stop and then restart again later. I mean, I had pure and genuine intentions and really meant well, but for whatever myriad of reasons, I never stuck to it. That was, until I enrolled in sessions with a trainer. Now, one thing I will say is that the choice of enlisting the help of a trainer is strictly a personal one and depends on a variety of things that are strictly individualized as well. However, my fitness journey would probably still be a cycle of false starts if I didn’t take that particular route with someone to help guide me along the way.
I began my fitness journey a few years ago taking local walks that totaled about 3 miles twice a week. When I felt up to it, I would strap on ankle and wrist weights to increase the workload. That was all good until I began to desire just a bit more, and my local walks were very weather-dependent. I needed to find a routine that I could do indoors, independent of the weather conditions outside, that would allow me to do more than my walks. I casually walked into the fitness center of my then apartment complex. There were several machines, the facility was never crowded, and it was FREE to use (does it get any better and more convenient than that?)! I couldn’t ask for more, except an idea of where the heck to start!
I would hop on the treadmill for a couple of minutes, get winded, and hop right back off. I would then head towards the free weight rack, pick up a pair that I considered manageable, do a few curls, then put them down. Then over to the exercise bike… pedal pedal pedal for a couple of minutes, and off I got. Workout done (insert eye roll here). I think my total time in that gym was about 12 minutes, and that might be an overestimate. Eventually I just didn’t go anymore. I stopped my walks. That was the end of that… for a few years. Yup, you read that right – YEARS. A few several extra pounds and another baby later, I figured I wanted to give my fitness journey another go, but a little more seriously this time around.
I knew I wanted to begin exercising, but ultimately, I realized that I also needed a little bit of direction, some affirmation, and perhaps even some company – everything I lacked during my previous attempts. I wanted someone more knowledgeable than me to tell me what I could / should be doing to meet the goals I had in mind, and to tell me that I was doing a good job, and /or correct any mistakes I was making.
One day, I randomly stumbled across a 30-day women’s weight loss challenge online that included sessions in a Crossfit gym. The price for sign-up was affordable. I went to check out the facility in person and talk to the staff – trying to make sure the cheap price they advertised wasn’t a scam you know? After I gathered all of the information I needed, and saw that they weren’t trying to scam me, I signed up!
Before the first session, I was nervous. I sat in my car for about 15 minutes before going inside. Once I entered the building, got to meet the other participants, and talked to the trainer about my history and goals, and began working out, my angst literally evaporated into thin air – never to be seen again. The whole setup was right on time and a great match. I encountered knowledgeable, respectful staff in an environment that was not intimidating.
Fast-forward to now — a few years later — I’m no longer using that particular facility, but it sparked something within me. I’ve worked with a couple of other trainers since then, but the main thing they’ve all had in common is that they all have understood that my journey was a very personal one from the start, so our relationship had to be JUST RIGHT. The “vibe” of the training facility had to be JUST RIGHT. The amount of push and encouragement had to be JUST RIGHT without being too pushy and overbearing (because some trainers can be really militant and hold zero regard for if you have aches and pains, or if you’re having a crappy day, or if you honestly would rather be elsewhere besides in that damn gym). There’s a thin line between feeling like you’re being motivated or getting punished.
Since using personal training and closely-guided instruction, my fitness level has improved exponentially. My body shape has changed. I don’t know all there is to know, but I’ve become so much more knowledgeable of “fitness” things. I’ve discovered so many new things about myself that go beyond what happens on the gym floor… some of which have been extracted from me by my personal trainers. They have helped me maximize my physical, mental, and emotional potential, and I don’t think I could have tapped into that alone. I’m now even at the point that I feel comfortable enough to walk into any gym with any type of equipment and get to work. I can even map out my own workout in my head in the event that I don’t have that guided instruction.
Is personal training for everyone? The answer is a loud, resounding NO. There is no one-size-fits-all approach to one’s health and fitness journey. Shopping around for trainers can be overwhelming. Sessions can be costly, and you have to determine whether or not that investment is a sound one for your budget. Personal training and the decision to use it to meet whatever specific goals you may have is exactly that — PERSONAL. Working out with a personal trainer / in a gym is not superior to popping in a DVD or streaming something to do in the comfort of your living room. Ultimately, as long as you go with what you feel YOU need and remain consistent in your efforts to be a healthier you, you deserve the kudos!