So, it’s already the end of January and many of us are starting to flag – and sag – a little. All of those good intentions and steadfast promises we made to ourselves at the turn of the New Year are fast disappearing like distant ships on the horizon, and it is becoming clear that we are losing the Battle of the Bulge.
Despite forcing ourselves to the gym each day after many long hours at work, racking up many miles on the treadmill, the rowing machine and the cycling machine, the post-Christmas paunch just refuses to budge. A new strategy is clearly needed!
The funny thing about the gym is that, although we know it is a great idea in principle, there are a number of factors at play which contrive to bring us to our knees and give up before we have ever really, truly started.
When we consider dwindling motivation, lack of energy, self-consciousness about displaying our overweight and out-of-shape bodies in public, as well as not really knowing what we’re doing with all that heavy-duty equipment or exactly why we’re doing it, is it any wonder that the gym can sometimes seem a bit like a torture chamber? Not to mention that many of us haven’t the foggiest understanding about nutrition and how diet impacts everything we do, including how and when we should work out at the gym.
A personal trainer can help us to overcome the many problems we can encounter when trying to lose weight. Here are 6 reasons why a good personal trainer can help you to lose weight faster and keep it off for good.
One of the biggest mistakes that people make is to take on way too much, too soon – for example, you might try to simultaneously overhaul your diet overnight, start drinking gallons of water, start walking to work rather than driving, and start working out for an hour a day at the gym. This is much too much to take on all at once. By reducing a plethora of huge, unrealistic goals into one smaller commitment at a time, you’ll have much greater success. Baby steps are much more likely to lead to lifetime changes. A personal trainer can examine the weight loss goals you have set for yourself and help you to figure out whether they are realistic and achievable. If they’re not, he/she can work with you to realign your goals so that you are more likely to see results quickly, and are consequently more likely to stick with the plan!
Motivation, Inspiration, Encouragement and Accountability
Your personal trainer will work with you to set weekly, as well as longer-term goals, and they should check in with you on a regular basis to see how you’re doing. Knowing that a professional will be regularly assessing your progress can help to ensure you stay on track and aren’t tempted to slack off when he/she isn’t around. A professional personal trainer should teach you multiple exercises that keep you excited about working out, as well as keeping meticulous step-by-step records and measurements such as BMI and body scans, in order to track your progress. They can also help you to build a positive mindset through praise, encouragement, and modelling a determined attitude towards fitness goals.
A personal trainer will know how to change or tweak your workouts to make them more efficient and effective. Often, people don’t see results because they’re not working as hard as they could. It’s easy to slack off when you’re by yourself, but having someone there to challenge you can make a huge difference when it comes to the weekly weigh-in.
Diet & Nutrition Advice
When it comes to losing weight, no amount of exercise will help if you don’t also take steps to correct an unhealthy diet. Nutrition drives weight loss and muscle gain, and working out at the gym cannot compensate for a diet fuelled by fry-ups, burgers, chips and cake. Many people make the mistake of rewarding themselves for a gruelling hour at the gym with a calorific food treat or a couple of alcoholic beverages, effectively undoing all of their good work. Eating more healthily doesn’t necessarily mean giving up all the foods you love and replacing them with a restrictive, low-calorie diet. You just need to understand how your body uses food as fuel – i.e. how it stores energy, and how it burns fat and calories. This will lead to a greater understanding of what / how much you should put into your mouth and when, to maximise the effects of your workouts. A personal trainer can teach you a lot about these things, and can work with you to put together a customised, well-balanced diet plan which will help to accelerate your weight loss.
Strength & Core Training Expertise
Many people focus heavily on cardio exercise to lose weight, but strength / resistance training (such as weight lifting) and core training (such as squats and lunges) are equally important. Placing too much emphasis on cardio routines whilst neglecting resistance training can result in a loss of muscle mass and decreased metabolism (you can lose about one pound of muscle for every four pounds of fat). This is bad news as the more muscle mass we have, the more calories we are able to burn, even when we’re not exercising. A personal trainer can teach you how to do strength and core training correctly, and they should be able to customize your workout plans to include the right balance of activities to produce the best results.
Good personal trainers have unwavering faith in their ability to help you get results. This isn’t the same thing as arrogance and ill-founded self-confidence. Beware the personal trainer who is all ego, vanity and exaggerated false promises – they are out there, and you will need to avoid them like the plague. The best personal trainers are genuinely invested in their clients’ progress, and they really care about the people they work with. To ensure you find an excellent personal trainer, be sure to carefully check references and testimonials from previous clients, in much the same way you would before trusting a plumber to replace your boiler, or an electrician to rewire your home. Alternatively, for complete peace of mind, you could join a reputable health club offering access to professional personal trainers who have already been thoroughly vetted.
A good personal trainer will always work with you on achieving your specific goals, but this isn’t necessarily the ultimate outcome. They should also work with you on overcoming your negative behaviours and unhelpful habits by educating you about nutrition, physiology and fitness-building techniques, to ensure that their input has a much greater, long-lasting impact. After all, good health and fitness should be a lifelong pursuit rather than something that you do for 12 weeks as part of a training plan.