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Q&A: Do I Really Need To Join a Gym and/or Pay a Personal Trainer?

By on December 8, 2012

It’s hard to say on a large-scale basis. This is, like many fitness questions, one that has to be answered by the individual. There are those who can jump right in on their own and get great results and then there are those who need some guidance, support, and motivation. There are also other options — often less expensive — than personal training sessions, like boot camp and group training, which can have even more benefits than one-on-one time with a trainer. The support, accountability, and friendly competition that comes from group workouts can push you to achieve your goals much more quickly than if you are working alone and moving at your own pace or working out with a trainer alone. However, some people see group training — especially the perceived competitiveness — as intimidating. What your particular needs are will largely depend on your own personality.

Even if you are self-motivated and can go it alone, it is helpful to hire a trainer at least for a few sessions so that you are able to get their expertise, knowledge, and insight regarding the use of proper form during exercises to avoid serious injury and get the maximum level of results from your movement. Most trainers can also provide you with basic nutritional information to help you clean up your eating habits and present you with personalized challenges as well as keeping going when you want to take a break, stop, or even give up completely which is much easier to do when you’re alone!

The most important thing when exercising is FORM. I can’t emphasize that enough. Doing ANY exercise without positioning your body correctly is a waste of time as form determines what muscle group is getting worked as well as preventing strain on others. Ignoring proper form guidelines makes your workout ineffective at best and dangerous at worst. As I mentioned, improper form can lead to injury, which is obviously counterproductive for your fitness goals. A gym membership generally means that you will have equipment and fitness resources, but many of them won’t provide much by way of exercise guidance or nutrition information. A lot of gyms, however, do have staff that will assist you and may even provide session-by-session personal training if needed.

The only person who can answer the question as to whether YOU really need to join a gym or hire a personal trainer is YOU. If you are one of those people who can stay motivated, remain personally accountable, are educated on proper exercise techniques as well as nutrition, and will continue to challenge your body then perhaps a gym membership or a personal trainer isn’t necessary for you with all of the free resources available today to help you get started. However, if you find that you slack off after a stale period or need to be motivated on a continual basis and aren’t familiar with proper form or how to balance your diet, then a personal trainer would be highly beneficial to you!

For me personally, I’m a bit partial to having a personal trainer — maybe because I am one! No, honestly, I wouldn’t have ever gotten to a healthy BMI and reached the fitness level I am currently — or developed such a strong passion for fitness that I decided to get certified myself — had it not been for my trainer and our group boot camp environment. The support, accountability, motivation, and constant physical challenges are not something I would be able to provide for myself. In my case, I’m one of those people who very much reaped immense benefits from hiring a personal trainer. The gym atmosphere wasn’t for me initially, but boot camp made me extremely passionate about my health and eventually gave me the confidence to start weight training. Each individual has to gauge for themselves what environment and scenario will work best for their personality type, habits, lifestyle, schedule, and budget.

At the end of the day, if you are unable, unwilling, or simply just don’t desire to involve anyone else in your journey, fitness is about eating healthy and being active and anyone can handle that with the right amount of self-motivation, dedication, self-education and commitment.

Have YOU joined a gym, participated in Crossfit classes or a boot camp course, or hired a personal trainer? How did that go (or is that going) for you? Let us know in the comments section below! If you want to step it up a notch, consider joining our online boot camp challenge! If you’re in the Gwinnett County area, check out our local area boot camp class as well.

About Kat Robertson

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