It seems that every second person on instagram is a personal trainer. Most celebrities seem to have one and every gym offers the services of a range of them. But do you really need one? It’s a hard question to answer and yet it’s one of the ones we ask ourselves here in the URBANSWEAT office all the time.
“People have this idea that we’re just trying to sell you a plan or something,” says Nike Master Trainer and personal trainer, Steph Bruckner. She’s based in Sydney at Barangaroo’s new Fitness First gym and is Nike’s main Australian trainer. “But to be honest I find most people get a personal trainer to guide, motivate, and keep them accountable in working towards achieving their health and training goals.”
And that’s not all they do according to Steph, personal trainers also help prevent injury, help their client’s self esteem, and them combat the modern day sedentary work life. So essentially a trainer’s job is to help people feel and move better, which is more ‘warm and fuzzy’ than most people think.
“Clients may have one or two personal training sessions per week but that doesn’t mean their personal training experience ends there,” says Steph. “We can set you a program that you have to complete outside of the 1:1 sessions. And, really, that’s where most of the results happen. We’re here to educate clients so they can be confident to train by themselves.”
And while an all-round personal fitness coach sounds pretty amazing, Steph says to remember that you don’t need to lock into a number of sessions or even a set programme, especially considering the fact that our training goals can change depending on what’s happening in our lives. And not to mention when our wallets aren’t overflowing…
“In my opinion a personal trainer is there to be the What, How and Why of movement,” she says. “So use them for their knowledge. You can book in a session for a specific need or goal. If you’d like to learn to lift weights the correct way, for example, just book in a couple of sessions to get your technique down. That might be all you need.”
Of course, if you’re training for something big, like the City to Surf or an endurance race, a personal trainer can be a huge advantage and can not only make you achieve better results but can also help you train to avoid injury specific to theses events. If you think about how athletes perform, they need to be the strongest, fastest and most agile every. single. time. On top of their natural skill, its personalised and tailored training from a personal trainer or coach that keeps them at the top of their game.
“The job of a personal trainer is to program specifically to your needs, strengthen any weaknesses, and develop the right skills,” says Steph. “There is no one size fits all approach to fitness, if there was we would all be doing the same thing, but every body is different and injuries, genetics and levels of fitness all play a part in achieving goals.”
But what if you simply can’t afford a weekly session or even one or two sessions? Well, there are a lot of apps out there that can act as a digital personal trainer. One of URBANSWEAT’s favourites is the free Nike+ Training Club app. Once you decide your specific goals in the app, you’ll be given a series of workouts to do. After each workout you rate it for difficulty and app’s algorithms will then – based on your rating – give you a harder or easier workout next time. It’s a great way of getting fit for free but it can also be worked into pretty much any training routine.
“The good news is when you receive the same level of training as top athletes via a personal trainer or a premium app, so you can smash your goals,” Steph says. “This will happen when you #stopexercising and #starttraining!”
So basically, if you’re training for an event or a specific goal, it’s a pretty darn good idea to at least have one or two sessions with a personal trainer to get a hold of the basics and learn how to avoid any injury (it will save you money down the track). And if you can’t afford to continue on a regular basis with them, or just prefer working out alone, downlaod an app, get connected and track your progress. It’ll keep you movitated and remind you of your end goal.