We’ve all been there:
Training – for months on end, sometimes years, but still dissatisfied by the results we’re getting.
Whether it’s to lose weight, bulk up or increase your fitness, it’s natural that when one embarks on the journey towards better health and performance, that we feel we are always just short of optimal results.
Part of the reason is that we live in an age where information is freely available, so when we want an answer to ‘how to lose weight’ or ‘how to increase muscle mass’ we find ourselves amongst a million google results of YouTube videos.
While this is helpful, it also presents a problem…. “Who do I believe?”
Some turn to personal trainers for help, and the goal of this article is to shed some light on what the scientific evidence shows about the effects of having a personal trainer in your corner, helping you reach your health and fitness goals.
1. Increase in strength and overall performance
A study entitled ‘The Role of Fitness Professionals in Public Health: A Review of the Literature’ in 2016 found that the use of a personal trainer is associated with:
- Improvements in strength during exercise interventions
- Increased exercise intensity
- Improvements in lean body mass
This was further supported by a study entitled “The influence of direct supervision of resistance training on strength performance” in which subjects were separated into two groups; one directly under the supervision of a personal trainer, and the other exercising under no supervision at all.
The study concluded that:
“Directly supervised, heavy-resistance training in moderately trained men resulted in a greater rate of training load increase and magnitude which resulted in greater maximal strength gains compared with unsupervised training.”These are valuable components of effective training, and all of these benefits help you achieve your fitness goals with more fluency, safety and overall wellbeing.
With these elements, you will be able to lose body fat, increase power and endurance and look better, quicker.
2. Improve your attitude towards exercising
If there is any benefit of having a personal trainer that I had to pick, this would be the most important.
In 2003 a study entitled “The Effectiveness of Personal Training on Changing Attitudes Towards Physical Activity“ concluded that:
“The results suggest that one-on-one personal training is an effective method for changing attitudes and thereby increasing the amount of physical activity. Secondly, it seems that using problem-solving techniques is of value for successful behaviour change.”
This is key. Training should not be something you despise or even dislike. It should be enjoyable and meaningful. Having someone guide you, push you and make you accountable makes each training session something to look forward to.
Exercise is often seen as a gruelling, uncomfortable, painful task that could only be a means to an end. Excellent personal trainers, however, are fantastic in their ability to see the whole picture when it comes to your exercise programme, including your preferences, your thoughts and feelings towards exercise and they will guide you to a point where you will want to train. That’s a huge win.
3. Better adherence to your exercise programme
We talked earlier about how we have unlimited access to exercise knowledge online.
Many exercise programmes will work because if anyone goes from not exercising to following a programme, it’s likely the body will respond and adapt.
But what good is an exercise programme if you don’t follow it?
Personal training has been shown scientifically to increased your adherence to an exercise programme. This goes without saying that your programme with a personal trainer will be orders of magnitude more specific to your own body and needs, not a YouTube video instructor that has no context of your personal needs.
A study conducted back in 1998 found that the use of a personal trainer ‘enhanced attendance’ to the exercise protocol studied (in this case, supervised walking).
This extrapolates well to any exercise programme, as it’s true that the difficult part is not the exercise routine itself, it’s getting to the gym.
Thoughts on using a personal trainer
At Tavistock Clinic, we offer physiotherapy in Crawley and recommend those who want to excel in their fitness goals to consider working with a personal trainer to not only help them get back into exercise (after an injury, for example) but to achieve their fitness goals safely and with more enjoyment.
It is possible to achieve exceptional goals by yourself, but a personal trainer helps you to achieve your goal significantly quicker.
The critical thing to remember is that this is not specific to fitness and health.
If you look at any exceptional players in any sport, they all had a coach. Many great chefs learnt from someone and many incredible singers had a singing teacher.
All great skills that have stood the test of time have, in one-way shape or form, been passed down from generation to generation through the process of guidance, coaching and teaching from those who have been through the process before.
This is the view I would recommend people take when hiring a personal trainer.
If you are training without any specific goal, you may not need a personal trainer.
For those who have a specific fitness goal in mind, and are keen to achieve it as quickly as possible, personal trainers offer a valuable service that scientific research has shown to be effective.
I hope this article has been of help and best wishes for your fitness goals!
Kulraj Singh BSc MCSP HPC
Tavistock Clinic, Crawley