There’s no shortage of information online about fitness and exercise. When looking at social media some may even say there is too much information. Countless rabbit holes to fall down, all promising an easy hack which will make it easier for us to get and stay “fit.” The truth is that what makes us each individually “fit” is as diverse as we are. Sure, we can say “a healthy diet and regular exercise” will help get us in “shape,” but how exactly?
The answer is to find an expert, ideally certified who can take you where you want to go physically. Granted you can do some trial and error testing of online programs but you can save yourself a lot of the wasted time, not to mention potential injury, if you go straight to the source and talk to a personal trainer.
No, personal trainers are not exclusively for the rich and famous. In fact, the chances are that there are some very talented and affordable fitness professionals, specializing in a wide variety of training methods right nearby you. Even if you’re only looking for just one session to answer some questions, or to do a live virtual session, you can benefit from the expertise of a personal trainer.
Best of all, there is an app where you can connect with trainers that can come directly to you. It’s like an Uber for personal trainers, but with a smarter shopping experience. The Helf app allows you to browse for the best trainer for your goals and chat with them before booking, to make sure you feel comfortable before you meet. All trainers on the app have also undergone an extensive background check and are all certified in their field to give you that extra level of safety.
But before we get into that, let’s start with some commonly asked questions about personal trainers:
Is a personal trainer worth the money?
It depends how comfortable you are with your current fitness situation, and also how serious you are about accomplishing your goals. A good personal trainer that matches with your personality and goals is definitely worth the money. That’s why it may take a little homework to find the trainer that delivers the most value for their price. If you are looking for someone to help you break through a plateau, or are rehabilitating an injury, a personal trainer might be able to give you the customized strategy that you need. The key to getting this is clear communication. You, as the client are responsible for communicating your wants and needs. Once you do this, you will have a much better idea of which trainer will work best for you.
Do you need a lot of money to hire a trainer?
Not necessarily. While a personal trainer may seem like a luxury purchase, with careful scheduling you can stretch that dollar a lot farther. We don’t suggest settling for a trainer you do not feel comfortable with so take a moment to do a little research. As mentioned before, a great place to start your search is on the Helf app. Once you have settled on a fitness professional to try, see how often you would like to schedule them. Some people only need to see their trainer once per week because they supplement their other days doing home workouts, gym or studio workouts and/or outdoor running/walking. Some trainers only meet with their clients to check in on their progress and to explain the next weeks’ workouts.
How much do personal trainers cost?
Prices vary depending on a variety of factors including the location you train at, your trainer’s experience, how often you train with them, and how many sessions you purchase at once. According to Lessons.com a one hour personal training session in the United States typically ranges between $40-$70.
Can you hire a trainer to come to your home?
Absolutely. Since the pandemic hit, the demand for at-home personal training has skyrocketed. You can find good trainers at reasonable prices who can come directly to your home, or anywhere else you want them to meet you. You can also specify if you would like them to wear a mask, or any other safety precautions that matter to you. All trainers hired through the Helf app are required to follow local and statewide safety wear mandates.
Is it safe to have a trainer come to your home?
Yes, it is safe as long as you are finding them from a reputable source. Finding a trainer through a referral is a great way because you can ask questions and get insider information. Another great way is to find them through a company that helps you do the decision making like Helf app. All the trainers on Helf have been screened through: SSN trace, sex offender search, global watchlist, national criminal database search, as well as local county criminal search, nationwide. You can also search reviews, see pictures, read bios and message directly with the trainer.
Now let's get into some of the benefits of having a personal trainer:
Works with your schedule - For those of us who have busier schedules, making it to the gym or our favorite workout classes can be impossible sometimes. Your personal trainer will work around your schedule, making sure your workouts are at ideal times. One of the benefits of online training is that you can get your custom session delivered in the comfort of your own home (without having to bring your trainer actually into your home).
Maximize workout time - When many of us workout alone, we tend to spend more time on our phones. Having the presence of another person, no less someone who’s skilled in efficient time use (i.e. a good personal trainer) can compound your results and bring you closer to your goals quicker.
Save travel time - Going to the gym isn’t just the time of the workout, it’s also the travel time to and from. If you’re trying to squeeze in a workout between video meetings or lunch, then you may not have the time to leave your house. A great alternative is to have your trainer come directly to you. Not only is it convenient, but it will make sure you don’t miss your workout.
Educational - Most of us aren’t interested in something until we start to become better at it. The same often goes for health and fitness. A snowball effect of wanting to know and learn more about what you’re doing tends to occur once you get going and see results. Take advantage of this by listening to your trainer and then asking questions. No (decent) trainer should make you feel bad for asking questions. It’s your journey.
Personalized to your goals - The problem with online workouts is that they are not totally personalized, especially if you need any sort of modifications. With a personal trainer you can give them feedback on what you would like to focus on, and at what pace you respond best to. Clear communication helps maximize your time and effort, and will bring you closer to your goals that much quicker.
Modifications - If your client plays/has played sports, or is over 30, chances are they have some sort of ailment or tightness, past or present that should be addressed. While your workout should never exacerbate an ailment, at best, it can help rehabilitate and heal it. Finding a personal trainer who is in-tune with the modifications you need can help save you from future surgeries and pain.
Motivation - A really good trainer can inspire you and make your workout feel like teamwork. We all have days where our motivation is lacking, but more often than not we feel better once we finish our workout. Find someone who can bring you from point A to B as smoothly as possible. If your trainer helps make the time go by quickly, that’s a great start!
Accountability - Money-aside, it’s a lot harder to cancel when you have another person holding you accountable. If you are hiring a personal trainer for an extended period of time, their job is to also keep you engaged during the session. We all have days where we feel unmotivated, but a strong trainer will be there to help you stay on track.
Challenge - Peer pressure can be tough to ignore. Granted, not everyone likes to be told what to do, but we hate even more to be told what we can’t. Creating reasonable challenges at strategic stages is tough to pull off on your own, but when we have someone in front of us encouragingly pushing us forward, we are more likely to step up to the challenge, and in-turn get more out of our workout.
Variety - Most exercisers do the same routine every time they go to the gym. While some consistency is necessary to see progression, there needs to be enough variety to also challenge the body. Many of us do not have the time or the attention span to create a new routine every workout. Variety in our workouts also trains our bodies to adapt better to external changes.
Consistency - Consistency is accountability over-and-over again, and might be the hardest of all of these to pull off. In fact, consistency is the very cause for the January rush at most gyms. Having someone else to meet and hold you accountable helps lead you to consistency. Don’t worry about the big picture, that can be daunting at times. Instead, think of exercising like brushing your teeth, sometimes you do it more thoroughly than others, but either way, you get it done...most days.
Okay, so what exactly does a personal trainer do? Here is a list of some of the services that your trainer may provide. Some are necessary, but some can be abridged if discussed with your trainer.
Initial Consultation - Before you get started, your trainer needs to know more about your goals, limitations and how you prefer to be trained (Do you like to be pushed? How hard/easy?) This will help them customize your training experience. This is a great time to ask questions and have dialogue about any other personalizations the trainer can make that you care about (problem areas, if you like music playing while you workout, etc). If you don’t bring it up, chances are the trainer will not know.
Fitness Assessment - Some trainers like to use some part (or all) of their first session with you to conduct a fitness assessment. Don’t worry, none of us are good at everything, and this will help pave the way towards your progression. More importantly, this will give your trainer an idea of any movements you may need to work on. Here is where it’s important to remember that the word “training” means to develop a skill. Sometimes that is as simple as strengthening a few smaller, supporting muscles.
Above is an example of a Movement/Fitness Assessment. They may be called different names, but all have the same goal of establishing problem areas. Don’t worry, exposing these areas is a good thing!
Set goals (short and long term) - This is the “what” part of the plan. What are you trying to accomplish? This is in the input which your trainer will consider when providing you with their output, the workout and their program. Yes, most people say, “lose weight and tone-up”, but be more specific than that. Make sure to include any aches and pains you may be experiencing. Taking care of these will not only help minimize pain in the short term, but also help prevent injury in the long term.
Make a plan - Now onto the “how” part of the plan, this is the output your trainer will provide you after discussing your goals. Tune into this part so you can know what to expect. Since your plan is an ever-evolving program, every so often your trainer should check back in with you about what stage your training is in. If they don’t bring it up, ask them so you know where you’re going.
Training sessions - Now that you have created your plan, it’s time to get to work! Most trainers use a set format for their sessions. It’s not a bad thing if this rarely gets changed-up. What matters most is that the exercises you do within that format evolve as you do. If your level of variety entails using a completely different format between workouts, then hiring multiple trainers every so often might be your best bet. Just make sure you communicate how you are feeling between sessions since they will be meeting with you less often.
Prepare workout ahead of time - Perhaps the biggest perk to hiring a personal trainer is that they prepare your workout for you. So all you have to do is show up. This is where communicating your goals and needs at the beginning pays dividends. Since your plan is constantly evolving (like you) it should adjust to you as well. A good trainer can make tweaks to your workouts session-to-session, and even within the session based on your feedback and what they observe.
Bring equipment (if necessary) - You might already have equipment, which your trainer can utilize. If not, your trainer will bring everything you need for the workout. This is the figurative “cherry on top” of them preparing your workouts ahead of time.
Help you practice proper form - No matter how good our form is, there is always room for improvement. Looking at ourselves in the mirror can only do so much, and most of us aren’t sure exactly what proper form is or feels like. We can look online, or at a YouTube video, but all of our bodies move differently. Your range of motion may not be the same as the person you're watching, which is why having another person giving you real-time feedback beats just watching an exercise video or doing it off of memory.
Motivation and Engagement - How often do we get caught up on our phones in between sets or intervals? While our phone may be the most tempting distraction, there are still a number of things that can sideline a good workout. A trainer will help you keep those at bay, while also motivating you through the drudges of the workout. Additionally they will keep you diligent about the usage of your time, focused on the exercise you are doing and the proper muscles to engage. While it may be tough to focus your attention, no less on something you may not enjoy, practicing being present can have both physical and mental benefits.
This might still be a lot of information to take in. If so, download the Helf app off of your App Store. The Helf app connects you with certified personal trainers in your area, and helps you find your best match, with confidence. Your time, your terms, your Helf.
Download the Helf app here: https://www.thehelfapp.com/