What Does A Personal Trainer Do? (And Do I Need One?)

November 26, 2020 - 8 minutes read

You’re ready to make a change, you’re excited about taking time for your health, and you know that exercise is the place to start.

But figuring out where to go from here can be overwhelming.

What do I need to know before heading to the gym? What type of exercise is good for my body? How do I make sure I don’t hurt myself? Like many new undertakings, a great way to set yourself up for success is by reaching out for help.

Here are six instrumental ways a personal trainer helps you develop the skills you need to reach your fitness goals.

The role of a personal trainer

  1. They assess your body and how you move
  2. They design programs specific to you
  3. They teach technique to help you move well
  4. They act as a dedicated accountability partner
  5. They help you recover after a workout (or long day of sitting)
  6. They provide an element of community

1. They assess your body and how you move

Before you begin any workout routine, it’s always helpful to gain a clear understanding of where you’re starting from and what you need to work on to reach your goals.

To get to know you specifically, a personal trainer will use a series of assessments that outline your:

Body composition
Posture
Mobility restrictions
Movement literacy
Cardiovascular function
Current lifestyle and readiness to change

By gaining insight into these perspectives, a coach can then create a blueprint of you as an individual, and use that to design your customized exercise journey.

2. They design programs specific to you

Working with a coach is all about personalization. And that means designing programs that specific to your body, your goals and your lifestyle.

Using the insights gained in your assessment, a trainer will:

Select exercises that are appropriate for you
Choose the intensity and rep range that will challenge you appropriately
Progress or regress your program based on how you’re responding to your workouts

They will also take into account any special considerations (such as whether you’re dealing with any pre-existing medical conditions, exercising during pregnancy, in need of active rehab following an injury, etc) to make sure they’re designing a program that will set you up for success.

3. They teach technique to help you move well

It’s easy to think that exercise is just about moving your body, but in order to get the most efficient workout while also preventing injury, there’s a lot more to consider.

Depending on where your body is tight, loose, strong or weak, it will naturally have some movement limitations and compensation patterns ingrained deeply within it. As you exercise, and especially as you add weight to your movements, these issues can lead to muscle asymmetries, pain, discomfort and injury.

Not only will a trainer teach you the proper mechanics of each exercise, they will also pick out your natural tendencies and coach you on how to fix these pattens. This allows you to more effectively build strength, improve your mobility, and reduce your chance of injury.

4. They act as a dedicated accountability partner

If you’ve had a hard time creating a habit of exercise in the past, the support and accountability of a personal trainer is indispensable.

A trainer will facilitate a fitness schedule that keeps you on track with your workouts and healthy choices. Then, as challenges arise, they will work with you to troubleshoot obstacles and help you navigate through change in order to stay consistent with your health.

In addition to providing a personal system of support, a trainer can help you boost your self-confidence. By exploring options for making activity more enjoyable and celebrating short-term progress towards goals, they aid in the development of a more positive outlook on exercise and can improve your motivation to engage in regular activity.

5. They help you recover after a workout (or long day of sitting)

As much as working out is about pushing you forward, it’s also about learning to take the time to rest, decompress and recover from stress.

A trainer makes sure you create space for each of these things in your life. They check in regularly to help you maintain a healthy balance of challenge and recovery and teach you skills like diaphragmatic breathing, myofascial release (foam rolling) and mobility training to help you wind down and release tension after a long day in the gym or at work.

Related: 7 Products From Amazon To Help You Recover After A Workout (Or Long Day Of Sitting)

6. They provide an element of community

Success with any endeavour is often enhanced by having a supportive group of people who are rooting for you.

A personal trainer, along with other clients whose goals, successes and challenges are similar to yours, provides a strong community for you to join where you can feel supported and included in something bigger than just exercise. In the case of our company, we’re working on building a movement toward feeling strong and confident in your own skin so you can do more of the things that make life meaningful.

Should I hire a personal trainer?

Depending on your motivation to workout consistently, willingness to learn, and awareness you have toward your body and movement, you could create a basic program for yourself or follow generic workouts online. Or, you might discover that you would prefer the help of an expert. Either way is okay!

If you end up looking for help, it’s important to know that many coaches and gyms provide personal training, but can vary widely in quality. Knowing how to choose a good personal trainer can save you a lot of time and money, and can be the difference between having a great or poor experience with exercise.

Related: 9 Signs Of A Great Personal Trainer

Ready to experience how a personal trainer can help you? Get started with online personal training and see how great you can feel with a customized program.