Pros and Cons of a Personal Trainer | Fat Man Unleashed Page 1 of 11
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By Susan Gernhart on February 02nd, 2011
Pros and Cons of a Personal Trainer
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Have You Ever Thought About Hiring A Personal
I have a new man in my life. He’s tall, dark and handsome and we meet twice a week. During our time
together, he tells me what to do, when to do it, how to do it and how many to do. He makes me sweat and
grunt and pushes me to my limits. This may not sound like the ideal male/female relationship, but it’s just what I
need because my personal fitness trainer, Dustin Ponder, is pretty darn amazing. (And yes, he’s patient,
supportive and encouraging and I trust him unconditionally.)
Pros and Cons of a Personal Trainer | Fat Man Unleashed Page 2 of 11
For me, running is a priority along with eating and breathing. But I’m not toned, flexible or strong (Dustin will
gladly second that) and I knew that I had to incorporate strength training into my regimen. I finally stopped
procrastinating and purchased 16 personal training sessions with my very own Bob Harper.
As a result of my I-swear-I’m-gonna’-stick-to-it resolution, I went directly to the experts – personal trainers
themselves – to pinpoint the why’s, what’s and how’s of hiring one.
WHY YOU SHOULD DO IT (…OR AT LEAST CONSIDER IT)…
“There is so much health and fitness information and most people don’t know where to start. Trainers educate
you on your terms. It’s like hiring a lawyer; you wouldn’t take on the legal system by yourself, so why do it with
something as important as your health?” ~ Kevin Asuncion (NASM certified trainer & Co-Founder of Los
Angeles based Movemo Fitness, www.movemofitness.com)
“PT’s make it their obligation and duty to get to know you and your body – your weaknesses and strengths,
capabilities and inadequacies. They are your counselor, friend, stress reliever and motivator. They are there
when you feel the lowest and stay with you as you grow or when you fall.” ~ Angela Bredenkamp (B.S. Sport
Science; Personal Trainer; Owner and Founder of FunctionalFitnessTrainers.com)
“Trainers provide accountability, responsibility and expertise. I devise a safe & effective routines to help my
clients achieve their goals in one-tenth of the time. I oversee the big picture structure: recalling the exercises
and in what order they are most optimally completed, what their weights are, etc. By hiring a trainer, clients
have a set of eyes watching them, a mind thinking about them and a heart caring about them.” ~ Laura Dow
(ACSM Certified Personal Trainer, Yoga Instructor and Nutrition Educator and Wellness Coach)
“Everybody is different. A diet or fitness regimen that works for me may not work for you and vice versa.
Personalized plans are based on your schedule, likes & dislikes and confidence level. It may take a little longer
to see results, but they’re life-long. No diet or workout gimmick can give you that.” ~ Kathi Casey, ERYT, CPI
(Founder, The Healthy Boomer Body Center, www.HealthyBoomerBody.com)
“A trainer learns how your body reacts to certain movements and correct imbalances, tracks your eating habits,
notices your feelings & mood changes, and finds the correlation between them. A workout partner can get you
up in the morning to work out, but a trainer teaches you how your body works and the best way to use it!” ~
Alexandria Serra, NASM-CPT, ACE-CPT, ACE-LWMC (B.S. Kinesiology; President, Recharge Fitness; Level
1 Kettlebell Instructor)
WHAT YOU SHOULD LOOK FOR…
Advertisement “Good trainers are responsible, attentive and safe. They
don’t text/talk on their phone or engage in lengthy
conversations with other gym members while they are
training you. They are dependable and only cancel or
reschedule when there are emergencies.” ~ Robin Castro,
LMSW, CPFT, GFI (Transformation Strategist; Owner of
Robin’s Body Shop – a fitness and nutrition company in
“A good trainer will give you homework to do on the other
days of the week so you stay on-track. Track your progress
and write down every workout; they will be valuable in the
months/years ahead when you move on from training or if
you’re stuck in a rut.” ~ Jenny Skoog (NASM certified
personal trainer, pre/post-natal coach; www.Skoogfit.com)
“An important factor is philosophy and program design. A
bad trainer will often scribble something before the
workout, or just make it up as they go. They must conduct
an assessment when you first start. Everyone has
issues/concerns that need to be identified and addressed in order to progress safely. If they are trying to get
everyone to do the same exercise, that’s another warning sign.” – Brendan Hayden (CSCS Co-Owner & Dir.
Coastal Performance in Palm Beach Gardens, FL, www.coastal-performance.com)
Pros and Cons of a Personal Trainer | Fat Man Unleashed Page 3 of 11
“Not all trainers are created equal. Sometimes the older trainers are more experienced, but not up on the new
research. Younger trainers may be up on the new research, but don’t have enough experience. And just
because someone is in excellent shape, does not make them a good trainer!” ~ Kim-Lien Kendall (Movement
Educator, www.movementeducator.com and Yoga Instructor, www.kimlienyoga.com)
“Don’t settle for the first one you find or someone who offers you a good deal. Research their qualifications and
talk to their clients to determine whether they were happy with the results.” ~ Andrew Neitzke (ACE Certified
Personal Trainer at Thorbecke’s Gym in Tempe, AZ, www.thorpowergold.com)
“People call themselves trainers although they have not been certified, don’t have liability insurance, and/or
aren’t CPR certified. The consumer really needs to be aware of these factors because it shows how serious the
trainer is about what they do.” – Wendy Stewart (ACE-certified personal trainer;
ALTERNATIVES TO PERSONAL TRAINING…
If personal training sessions are way out of your budget, you can always try: boot camps, gym classes that
incorporate weights, small group sessions (2-6 people) or ½ hour (versus hour-long) sessions. Or…
“Try negotiating a barter deal that benefits both of you. Many trainers who start out offer free sessions or
another service in return. I have bartered office space, marketing services, and referrals with a few of my
clients, as these are extremely valuable to my business.” ~ Kevin Asuncion
“Many gyms provide a first-time training discount or a few free sessions to get you started with your goals.
Take advantage of those freebies and make the most of them. Build a relationship a trainer that may offer free
tips and advice that will help you stay on track until you’re ready to hire them.” ~ Jenny Skoog
“The new wave of personal training is virtual wellness coaching. Our clients receive a monthly personalized
program, grocery shopping lists, recipes, three weekly check-ins and an optional Skype session. Workouts are
tailored to the client, with video links and audio instructions and costs one-tenth of traditional personal training.”
~ Alexandria Serra
IN SUMMARY… “Hiring someone to train you should be fun, challenging, and keep you intrinsically motivated
to get in shape and stay in shape.” ~ Andrew Neitzke
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About the Author
Hi there! My name is Susan Gernhart and after spending my entire life in New York, I moved to Tampa, FL in
May 2009. Speaking of changes, I fulfilled a lifelong dream by transitioning to a freelance writing career full-
time in winter 2010 (having spent most of my career in the sports and entertainment industry) and have been
working 7 days a week ever since! I've been published in several different outlets and have met some
incredible people/subjects along the way, so I'm not complaining. I'm far from a health & fitness expert, but love
writing, running, and snacking (!) and I look forward to contributing, learning and sharing on this site. Check out
my work at www.susangernhart.com - thanks!
Featured • Fitness personal trainer, personal training
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Community Thoughts (28)
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1. Mike says:
February 2, 2011 at 10:48 pm
I have been a trainer for over 12 years and I have many clients who say without getting a trainer they
wouldn’t show up. A good reason to get a trainer is to learn how to perform exercises in a safe an
effective manner. I see many people showing people haw to do exercises their way which may not be
the safe way.
2. Personal Trainer Marina Del Rey says:
February 3, 2011 at 1:07 pm
Hiring a personal trainer may have it’s pros and cons like anything else, but if you reach your desired
look you will probably be happy about it. Great post.
3. Advogirl says:
February 4, 2011 at 7:23 am
I love working out with my trainer. No matter how hard I push myself, I can’t get as good a workout as
when I am being pushed by my trainer. It is a luxury. You don’t have to think about what is next, you just
need to perform. My favorite indulgence.
4. myhealthmaster says:
February 4, 2011 at 1:29 pm
I have had a personal trainer in the past, and he was very mean to me. I know he was trying to motivate
me, but I think some things are negative, when its important to treat someone with an obese problem as
positive as possible. I guess the real deal is that you must find the right trainer for you. Great informative
5. Zahra Brown says:
February 4, 2011 at 7:48 pm
Personally, I don’t need a PT. If I want someone to push me then I put on a workout DVD. That’s the
only time I need encouragement.
I wrote a blog about the worst personal trainers out there. People shouldn’t assume that just because
the PT is qualified (if they even bothered to get qualified) doesn’t mean they know what they’re doing.
6. Long Island Personal Trainer says:
February 6, 2011 at 5:31 pm
Some people could never reach their goals without a personal trainer. They need the structure,
accountability and proper approach. It’s an investment, not an expense.
Pros and Cons of a Personal Trainer | Fat Man Unleashed Page 5 of 11
7. Deepak says:
February 7, 2011 at 6:11 am
Personal trainers are helpful in getting you in shape with proper monitoring….People need to
understand their importance.
8. Long Island Personal Trainer says:
February 8, 2011 at 2:30 pm
Deepak, definitely agree with you.
9. Fitsite says:
February 9, 2011 at 6:31 pm
I think a lot of people are in need of a PT but they just don’t know it. They make sure your motivation
doesn’t drop after a week and they make sure people lift those weights the proper way.
10. beginners workout says:
February 11, 2011 at 6:56 pm
PT’s can be great. When you are starting out, I think it’s a good idea to make sure your PT knows that
you want to start out slowly. Especially if you are older, overweight, or both. I think most of us have seen
trainers try to kill their clients during the first few sessions. Don’t let them do this to you.
11. Mike says:
February 19, 2011 at 1:05 pm
It’s hard work to get back into shape when you reach a certian age. If you’re young it isn’t so hard to get
back up in your feet. Eating healthy is important too when your exercising, and a perfect diet. You can
accomplish anything in life if you work hard at it.
12. Daniel says:
February 25, 2011 at 4:57 pm
I have had a PT for about a year now and I can tell you it’s the best decision I’ve made in my life, period.
I didn’t have the knowledge to really get going myself, only tidbits I’d read about or done in my high
school gym class. I went 3 times a week for the entire year (barring some holidays or emergencies), and
he was always there for me. I lost over 120 pounds, and am trying lose my last 15-20. I have gained an
extensive amount of knowledge about different exercises and what I can accomplish. I hope everybody
at least takes a look at what they can do for you. After all, NOTHING is more important than your health,
we spend a ton of money on new gadgets and toys every year, why not put that money toward
something that will last a lifetime, instead of just another toy you won’t like in a month anyway.
13. Mark Bunge says:
March 8, 2011 at 7:38 pm
Pros and Cons of a Personal Trainer | Fat Man Unleashed Page 6 of 11
More important than a trainer is routine. If you go every day at a set time its a lot easier to mark sure you
actually go each day.
Even more important than that is diet, you are what you eat.
14. Ryno says:
March 11, 2011 at 11:30 am
I just started training with a trainer this week , im actually enjoying it so far. Thanks for great article.
15. Funny Gym says:
March 13, 2011 at 5:40 pm
Im a personal trainer so it was interesting reading all this. Thanks for the post!
16. Amy says:
March 22, 2011 at 4:47 pm
It really is difficult to decide whether or not to spend the money on a trainer. However, if you don’t have
another form of accountability or motivation, it can be an excellent option. Some trainers offer “demos” if
you will. That’s another great way to see if a trainer is right for you.
17. George Clark says:
March 25, 2011 at 5:55 pm
It really boils down to the chemistry between both parties.
I used to give my clients the first two sessions at half price with a money back guarantee. You have to
mesh with each other as with any relationship.
18. Peter says:
March 27, 2011 at 9:33 pm
Susan, I wish all personal trainers were like yours – patient, supportive and encouraging.
19. Diet Minded says:
March 30, 2011 at 2:58 am
I’ve always liked the idea of a personal trainer and I think most people would benefit from having one.
Problem is it’s just not affordable.
Also, since you are dealing with another person, I think most people would not skip as many visits with
their personal trainer as they would going to the gym by themselves.
20. Derek says:
May 18, 2011 at 7:12 pm
Pros and Cons of a Personal Trainer | Fat Man Unleashed Page 7 of 11
I think that a PT can really help someone that hasn’t worked out much previously, and get you motivated
no matter what your skill level. However, I never had one myself since I really love to workout, so I never
needed one. I do need some extra motivation once in awhile, but that I get either from varying my
workout or popping in a DVD like P90X or something (people shouting at me always gets me riled up).
Hope everybody is staying healthy, as a #1 goal!
21. Blair James says:
May 25, 2011 at 3:06 pm
I have nothing but kind words to say for my trainer who helped me lose weight. The support and
encouragement he gave me was truly phenomenal. I think everyone needs someone to push them in
order to achieve their goals and it’s always a great help to have a trainer that’s also passionate and
22. Aurela Gace says:
June 2, 2011 at 7:01 pm
I had a personal trainer for a while, but I think it’s too expensive for the real value of their service. I just
read a book and I know everything she knew, and it’s better to know yourself, than to always depend on
other people for advice.
23. Adam says:
June 7, 2011 at 9:43 am
I think it’s the financial side of things that would stop me getting a personal trainer. No doubt it would
mean I wouldn’t slack as much but at the moment money isthe biggest factor for me.
24. Jenn Brigole says:
June 7, 2011 at 11:55 am
Wow. Virtual wellness coaching. That’s definitely something I should look into. But ultimately, it’s about
finding what suits your lifestyle (budget and time wise) better for you to at least continue on the program
that you’re supposedly committed to. After all, consistency and maintenance is what really matter, but
that’s just me.
25. Mia says:
June 9, 2011 at 5:02 am
I have to admit that I don’t like someone to boss me around! I know my limits and I know my goals. So
why pay someone, when I can be my own trainer?
26. Yvonne says:
June 10, 2011 at 7:14 am
Everyone is different, some people can use a dvd and are happy with that others want to vary their
activities and be pushed, but unless your trained to know what you limits should be or monitored to see
how you have improved how do you know what to do to push or progress. Great post, obviously making
a lot of people keen to have their say.
Pros and Cons of a Personal Trainer | Fat Man Unleashed Page 8 of 11
27. Gordon says:
June 21, 2011 at 11:11 am
I think that there is to many trainers who think more is better and over train there clients. I also feel that
most personal trainers don’t focus enough on the nutritional aspect of their clients. Most people may feel
that this is a mass generalization but this is how I feel. I think that some personal trainers don’t focus
enough on there clients during training sessions. If your personal trainer busy playing with his phone
while he’s working with you. You shouldn’t be working with him.
28. Brisbane Osteo says:
June 30, 2011 at 2:36 am
I’ve never hired a personal trainer, I think I would love too, just to see if I get different results, but my PT
is my interval timer.. I think if you have will power and you enjoy keeping fit, i need it not only to stay in
shape but also for my sanity..watching your diet is actually the most important thing.. you can train with
the best trainer in the world, but if your diet is not healthy, you will not see the results you want.
So maybe one day I will get a few sessions, just to satisfy my curiosity
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