On Hiring a Trainer

We all know I’ve had some “experiences” in the personal training realm. If it wasn’t the “fitness test” guy treating me like a total idiot because I was overweight, it was my first trainer acting like a total punk and making me never want to step foot in the gym again. But when I found Trainer 2.0, it was like the perfect pairing. He was the right combination of all the things I needed:

  • He pushed me hard
  • He knew my true limits — not just the ones I said existed
  • He helped me learn those limits
  • He laughed with me
  • He cried with me — well, he let me cry and didn’t judge
  • He listened to me
  • He was positive and encouraging
  • He recognized what was important for me and my body
  • He taught me new things
  • He celebrated my weight loss and success and saw me through the plateaus
  • He had this amazing go-for-it, you-can-do-it, no-judgments-passed attitude
  • He became … well … a friend

Why I hired a trainer — I decided when I started this journey that I wanted to hire a personal trainer at some point. But I felt weird about it. Could overweight people even have a personal trainer? I know, it doesn’t make any sense, but this is what 271-pound me thought. So I waited. I started out just walking. And then walking faster. But then I recognized that I was going to have to pick things up. Cardio alone wasn’t going to get me where I wanted to be. But those machines. Oh, those machines. First, what the heck were they? Second, how the heck do I even begin to use them? Third, what’s the difference between the machines and the free weights? It was clear to me that I couldn’t do it alone. So, I made myself a promise: Lose 50 pounds and you can have your personal trainer. By January 2010, I had lost the weight and signed the contract with my gym for personal training. There was no looking back. And I was scared but ready for what was coming at me.

What our were sessions like — I’m going to refrain from talking about my first trainer, as I only worked with him for a couple months (scarcely even because of the number of sessions he canceled). Basically, Trainer 2.0 and I met once a week, on Monday nights for 45 minutes. We did a full range of things, from the weight machines to free weights to jumping rope to plyometrics to stair running to boxing. You name it, we did it. They’re always excellent sessions, and every workout was better than the last. And, every six weeks, Trainer 2.0 wrote me a new strength program to do during the week when we weren’t working out together. He’d walk me through the program and make sure I knew what I was doing. Then, he’d patiently wait and watch until I asked all the questions I needed to and until I got it right.

What it cost me — Sessions for personal training cost $40 per session. Since I met with him once a week, it was $160 a month, paid on the 20th of each month automatically from my checking account. So, no excuses — I was paid up and couldn’t skip out. Though, not that I’d ever want to. I really looked forward to Monday nights with T2. It was fun. It was hard. It was sweaty. It was an excellent way to spend an evening.

How Trainer 2.0 make a difference in my journey — Trainer 2.0 has made all the difference in my journey. And I know full well that if I had been stuck with my first trainer, I’d be nowhere near the place I am right now. Trainer 2.0 may have taught me how to feel comfortable in the weight room. And he may have taught me how to do certain exercises. But, really, the biggest thing he taught me? To be confident in my own abilities and realize that I am stronger than I think. One of my bad habits is questioning my strength and thinking I can’t do something. Through him I learned to trust my body — it will tell me when something’s too much. So much of this journey is mind over matter.

In the last year, with Trainer 2.0’s help, I have found:

  • Strength — in body and mind
  • Confidence — of self
  • Faith — in my own abilities
  • Joy — in conquering new experiences
  • Patience — for real change (hard work always pays off)
  • Pride — in personal victories
  • Respect — for my body and the amazing things it can do

Oh yeah, and:

  • Muscles — in my everywhere (!)

So, was the money worth it? Yeah. Best investment I’ve ever made.

End note: Do I recommend it? Yes — if you can afford it and you can find the right trainer. Meet with potential trainers first. Ask them questions — remember, you’re hiring them, not the other way around. Share your story — and be honest about your abilities and your past. Don’t be scared to say what’s on your mind. Be upfront about your goals. If your trainer doesn’t know what you want, he/she can’t help you. Make sure you two click because you’re going to be experiencing a lot together. My personal training sessions were as much therapy as they were workouts. It was mental and physical. And Trainer 2.0’s personality was just as important to me as his experience and background.

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One response to “On Hiring a Trainer

  1. Pingback: A Letter | That's All Joy Wrote

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