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6 reasons hiring a personal trainer is worth the cost

Hiring a personal fitness trainer could help you to propel your fitness levels forward by leaps and bounds. It really pays off. Here's why.

By MSN Money Partner Feb 12, 2014 3:30PM

This post comes from Kimberly Winkowitsch at partner site Money Talks News.

Money Talks News on MSN MoneyDo you want to hire a personal trainer to help you get in shape, but wonder if you should spend the money?

Working with a trainer can push your fitness level forward much more quickly than working out on your own.

Woman working out with personal trainer
© Milan Zeremski/Getty Images
Here are six reasons that hiring a skilled personal trainer is a great investment.

1. Trainers provide accountability and motivation

Do you want to face your trainer and tell her that you didn't work out yesterday? Sure, you can get this accountability from a dedicated friend who works out with you, but this is the trainer's job. He or she has a vested interest in seeing that you complete your workouts.

Also, if you are paying a trainer, do you really want to slack off and feel like you aren't getting the most for your money? Money spent is good motivation to work out.

2. Trainers provide expertise

A good personal trainer will watch closely to ensure that you are doing the exercises properly to maximize your result and target the intended muscle group.

My trainer carefully watches me and corrects minor mistakes in form as I make them. She assures me that sometimes the smallest tweak of an exercise will change the muscle that is targeted, and I can tell the difference when I follow her instructions.

This is something I could never do on my own, or even from watching a video. Usually, I'm not even aware of a mistake in form. Consistently doing an exercise incorrectly can even lead to injury.

3. A trainer will push you just enough

A trainer will push you harder than you will push yourself but keep you from rushing ahead too quickly.

If you are like me, you work out until you feel uncomfortable, and then you modify the movement or stop altogether. A good trainer knows how to push you beyond your comfort zone, but knows to stop before actual pain or injury sets in.

Expert trainers know alternative exercises if you have difficulty with one or if you have an injury to work around. Sometimes a modified version of an exercise is necessary, depending on your fitness level. A good trainer will expertly shape an exercise for you.

4. A trainer helps you to identify and reach goals

As I set my goals, she helps me to attain them. She encourages me by noticing improvements that I wouldn't even think about. This is helpful when discouragement tries to set in.

5. A trainer will personalize your workout

High-quality trainers know how to customize a workout based on your individual strengths, weaknesses and goals.

Mine helps me to increase my cardio endurance with a running interval plan. Since one of my short-term goals is to do more men's push-ups, my trainer is including several types of difficult push-ups in my sessions that are quickly enabling me to build my strength and move toward more men's push-ups.

6. Trainers can reduce the possibility of injury

An injury can derail a workout program and cause so much discouragement that you could lose momentum and determination to continue. A good trainer will help you to do exercises properly so that you won’t injure yourself.

When my knee began to act up, my trainer had me cut back on my running intervals and ride an exercise bike on some days. She also recognized that sometimes there can be an imbalance in the quadriceps and hamstring muscles, which leads to knee injuries. Since my quads are stronger than my hamstrings, she is targeting hamstring strength. These are things I would not have known to do.

How to find a trainer

If you're convinced that you would benefit, here are some things that you should look for in a good trainer:

  • Make sure to hire a personal fitness trainer who has received certification from a reputable licensing organization. The American College of Sports Medicine is considered the gold standard of certification. The American Council on Exercise is another good certification organization. Your trainer should have expert qualifications, and these organizations help to ensure that by teaching biomechanics, anatomy and physiology, specifics on form and muscle groups, and fitness testing techniques. You can check to see if your trainer is certified via the links above.
  • Can your trainer customize workouts to your individual needs? Some trainers are better at this than others. If you aren't receiving individual customization, you may as well just take a class at your local gym. That individualization is a huge advantage that you get with a trainer.
  • Check their personal style. Does the trainer have a military style or a more encouraging demeanor? One style or other may work out better for you. Some trainers offer their first session with you for free to see if they will make a good fit for you.
  • Make sure the trainer checks your health history and customizes your workouts based on any previous injuries or health issues.
  • Is your trainer focused on you during the workouts? If your trainer is looking at a watch or checking a cellphone, he or she is not focused on you. You are paying for her time and energy. Make sure you get that.

How much can you expect to pay? WebMD says a National Strength and Conditioning Association survey found an average of $50 per hour, with a range of $15 to $100 an hour depending on factors like where you live. You can expect to pay closer to the lower end if your personal trainer works at the gym you've joined.

Hiring a personal fitness trainer might seem like a luxury if you are on a tight budget, but if you really want to get the most out of your workouts, a trainer is a great investment. The improvement in your health and fitness levels can have long-term payment in quality of life, and even decreased health care costs. That sounds like a good investment strategy.

More on Money Talks News:

Feb 12, 2014 4:40PM

Is there no end to the ways people can waste money ?  Do you really need to hand money to some loser who thinks that exercise instruction qualifies as an actual job ?  Thanks, but no thanks Steroid.  Buy a couple of pieces of equipment, do some research and get started on your own. Don't have any money for equipment ? Go for a walk. Worked for my mom and she's 93. Might want to check with your doctor first.

Feb 13, 2014 9:49AM
"Hiring a personal fitness trainer might seem like a luxury if you are on a tight budget, but if you really want to get the most out of your workouts, a trainer is a great investment."

In terms of being fit, you don't need a great deal of expertise to get there unless you have physical disabilities to overcome.  If you exercise 3x per week, a personal trainer costing $45 to $300 is a questionable investment unless you've got money to burn.  And that $45 ($15/hr) isn't likely to be extremely qualified.

You can read a book or two, join a workout group and share information with others, etc.  I had the benefit of being a high school sports coach in a county where you had to have several college-level courses to become a certified coach like "Care and Prevention of Athletic Injuries."  I also co-wrote my county school systems Nutrition Science curriculum.

But reading and studying several books on nutrition for athletes and books on fitness attainment would have been enough, alone, to set up a decent schedule of fitness activities and diet.
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