It’s been on your vision board since you signed up for your first gym membership: Hire a personal trainer. And for whatever reasons (usually cost-related), you’ve been putting it off.
But thanks to services like Find Your Trainer (or FYT), it’s one item you can cross off your to-do list. The genius tool helps you find your trainer soulmate by entering your zip code, and you’re matched with a variety of nearby trainers who can work with you either at your pad or your neighborhood gym (so you can finally start using the phrase, “Well, my trainer says…”).
Shayna Schmidt, a New York City-based trainer, says this process of finding a fitness pro has changed the game. “It’s built on a model of allowing you to browse a database of trainers and pick your favorite,” she says. “You should always be able to choose, as opposed to having a membership advisor randomly assign you one.”
Since FYT lets you decide who you’re going to work with based on price point, schedule, and discipline, it’s way easier to meet your match. But how do you know it’s actually time to commit? Schmidt’s giving us the expert lowdown.
Keep scrolling to find out five reasons why it’s probably time to add a personal trainer as your new fitness BFF.
You have a big goal…now what?
Everyone has different fitness goals. Maybe you finally want to master the perfect pull-up, or you’re ready to get serious about lifting but find the weight room slightly terrifying (been there). Instead of getting bogged down with feeling clueless and overwhelmed, leave it to a pro. “A trainer can not only make you feel more comfortable in a gym setting, but can also map out exactly what it will take to reach your goals,” Schmidt advises.
You’ve hit a plateau and can’t figure out how to break through it
Even fitness fanatics who definitely know their way around the gym shouldn’t be immune to asking for a little help. “I’ve seen it so many times,” Schmidt says. “You’ve been going to the gym and lifting for years, perhaps you even saw some great changes a while back, but you haven’t seen any results in quite some time.”
That’s when it’s time to call in the big guns. “A trainer can show you how to properly progress and move back and forth from different phases of training in order to ensure that your body never adapts to the workouts you’re doing,” Schmidt adds.
You’re a cardio junkie…but that might not be enough
“Research in the last several years really kicks to the curb the idea that spending countless hours slaving away on the treadmill will burn off the all the food you’ve eaten,” Schmidt says—which means it might be time to rethink your usual workout situation.
Mixing in strength training with cardio can help provide better calorie-burning benefits, according to Schmidt. But if you have no idea where to start, a trainer can help you balance that out. “Plus, he or she can give you tips on the best times to incorporate cardio into your strength training workouts in order to really maximize your results,” she notes.
You have a sports injury
Returning to the gym on your own after you’ve been sidelined can add injury to, well, injury. “Having the guidance of a trainer is highly recommended,” says to Schmidt, which is where Find Your Trainer really comes in handy. Since you can choose your next favorite fit pro based on their education, certifications, and style or specialty, you can really hone in on one who will have an understanding of your injury and help you work through it as you heal.
You need someone to hold you accountable
Some days (especially when snow is in the forecast), bed just seems more enticing than the rowing machine. Knowing someone is waiting for you can be all the motivation you need—plus, not showing up usually means you’re wasting money since most training sessions are pre-paid.
And Schmidt notes another perk of having accountability: You’ll work harder during a session with a pro. “It’s quite difficult to force yourself to do higher intensity workouts on your own, and having a trainer counting your reps or seconds can ensure that your heart rate hits those big peaks,” she says. Just consider them your personal sweat-sesh cheerleader.
Top photo: Find Your Trainer
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