If making the decision to get in shape is as far as you got but you need help with the next step, you'll benefit from scheduling time with a personal trainer. He'll customize a workout program for you based on your fitness level and your goals and then train you to perform the exercises correctly. A personal trainer can recommend how often you should train with him, but you can decide that on your own.
When you're first starting out with an exercise program and you need guidance, it's useful to train with your personal trainer about three times a week. That way, he'll be there assisting and supervising every step of the way throughout every resistance workout to ensure that you're maintaining proper form and that you don't forget any exercises. He can advise you on how long and what to do for cardio workouts, but you won't need him to hold your hand for those sessions. After about three or four weeks of three training sessions per week, you'll be more confident with your abilities and may want to cut back on how often you meet with your trainer.
Once you know your way around the gym, you won't rely as heavily on your personal trainer as you did in the beginning. When you're feeling more comfortable with your workout and the machines, you can cut back to meeting with your trainer once a week or as little as once a month. He can use those less-frequent sessions to evaluate your progress, tweak your workouts and suggest different regimens or exercises.
When Money is an Issue
Sometimes your budget may dictate how often you can work with a personal trainer. It is the rare health club that will include personal training sessions in the membership, so if yours does, you can feel free to get with a personal trainer as often as you'd like. If money is a concern, though, schedule a training session as often as you can, once a week if possible, but less if necessary. Be up front with your trainer to let him know you need to get as much as possible out of each session. That way he can concentrate on the issues that will help you effectively train on your own, making every minute you spend with him count.
When You Need Motivation
Training with a personal trainer is an effective way to overcome boredom with your workout and increase your motivation to exercise. If you've been training on your own for a while and need to renew your enthusiasm, schedule one session a week with a personal trainer for two or three weeks. Having an appointment with a trainer encourages accountability, making it more likely that you won't blow off a workout. Plus, your trainer has the scoop on all the up-to-the-minute workouts and training techniques, so he's a useful resource for keeping your fitness regimen fresh.
- Matt Siaperas; Personal Trainer, Hardbodies Gym; Blackfoot, Idaho
- American Council on Exercise: What Can I Expect When Working With a Personal Trainer?
- Healthy Progress Systems: How Often Should I Train With a Personal Trainer?
Elle Di Jensen has been a writer and editor since 1990. She began working in the fitness industry in 1987, and her experience includes editing and publishing a workout manual. She has an extended family of pets, including special needs animals. Jensen attended Idaho and Boise State Universities. Her work has appeared in various print and online publications.