Why Should You Hire a Personal Trainer?

Why should you hire a personal trainer? Go beyond sets and reps to experience the full benefit of receiving guidance from a fitness professional. 

Question: Why should you hire a personal trainer?

Answer: You should hire a personal trainer for practical experience and guidance. Your trainer can help move you towards improving health and fitness in a sustainable way.

An experienced trainer can pick up where certifications leave off.

In addition to showing you exercises, your trainer can help you fundamentally change the way you see fitness and nutrition - and that may just change your life.

Let’s talk about how trainers go beyond the medium of movement to help people.

Why You Should Hire a Personal Trainer

The National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA) Essentials of Personal Training, 2ed states that personal trainers have five roles¹;

  1. Motivate performance and compliance.
  2. Assess health status.
  3. Train clients safely and effectively to meet individual objectives.
  4. Educate clients to be informed consumers.
  5. Refer clients to healthcare professionals when necessary.

A personal trainer’s goal is to teach you to effectively apply what you learn to the real world. Sifting through research on training, nutrition for health and performance, flexibility, motivation and goal setting, your trainer helps you turn ideas into results.

How You Can Develop Your Motivation.

You can work to improve your motivation.

Motivation is influenced by three internal aspects;

  1. Autonomy - Having ownership, a say, whole heartedly belief in your choices.
  2. Competence - Being good at things you care about.
  3. Relatedness - feeling cared for, a sense of belonging.

Self-Determination Theory, the leading theory of motivation, teaches us how your personal trainer can help you develop these components:

  • Autonomy - Ask your trainer if you can perform some of your favorite moves.
  • Competence - Focus on performing exercises to the best of your abilities and look back at your progress.
  • Relatedness - Share your questions and what you're learning with important people in your life.

For more on motivation, I suggest reading What You Need to Know About Goals and Motivation

Your personal trainer exists to be a partner in your journey, providing a roadmap, guidance and help towards your goals. Agree on a plan for a long-term goals, setting relevant milestones.

At times, your journey may hit a snag, your trainer will be able to help you in those special circumstances.

Assessing and Monitoring General Health Status

It is not your trainers job to diagnose.

Your personal trainer will ask relevant health questions that assist in the design of your health and fitness program. There is no one specific way to do this. Some trainers use various forms of Physical Activity Readiness Questionnaires (PAR-Q's).

Exercise, while inherently risky, can be made safer by asking the right questions.

The goal of this step in the process is to ensure that you are ready to participate in an exercise routine.

Over time, your training plan should challenge you to make progress in areas of need and want.

Maximize Your Results with the Right Training

Your personal trainer will create a plan that adapts to your schedule, preferences and rate of progress.

Using an evidence-based approach, your trainer will draw from current research to show you how to develop a training system. A system is designed to get the results it gives you, good or bad.

There are a number of training goals:

  • Endurance
  • Strength
  • Speed
  • Muscle Growth
  • Improving Bone Density

Your training could be aimed at a goal that you are not trying to improve. Developing safe, effective, and goal specific exercise programs, you can learn appropriate ways to adjust exercise to a variety of situations including training at home, traveling, and your home gym.

If you’d like to learn more about strength training, your trainer is the perfect person to ask.

(On a more practical note-it can be nice to offload some of the burden at times. You could simply work out, leaving your personal trainer to worry about the how and why.)

Improve Your Knowledge of Health and Fitness

Your personal trainer should be versed in the general subjects covered in nutrition, fitness, motivation and supplementation.

Fitness and nutrition are sciences filled with twists, turns, special circumstances and misinformation. As you know, what worked for your friend might not work for you.

There are multiple paths to the same goal, improvement.

An experienced trainer will know the important commonalities between good approaches to fitness and poor ones.

For more specific questions about nutrition, including those considered medical nutrition therapy, your trainer will know when it's time to refer you to another professional.

When in Doubt, Your Personal Trainer Will Refer Out

Your personal trainer can serve as the first point of contact between you and a qualified professional. If you have unique needs, it is beyond the scope of your trainer.

Circumstances and individuals that may require referral include:

  • Pregnancy
  • Diabetes
  • Hypertension
  • Low back pain
  • Arthritis
  • Rehab/Post surgical release

Picking up where physical therapy ends, is just one of the many scenarios where your personal trainer needs to work with a qualified professional. Your specialist of choice may assist you in choosing a personal trainer or, as is the case here in Columbia, Missouri-there are clinics associated with training facilities.

A Personal Trainer Can Get You Outside of the Gym

Your personal trainer can help you find something that you enjoy outside of your gym. There’s much more to life than lifting the weights, counting calories, and getting your steps in. Many trainers are in the industry to help you become stronger physically and emotionally.

Depending on the facility, your trainer might provide you with assistance with time that you don't spend together.

Your town may be different, but here in Columbia, Missouri there are a number of trail systems, parks, and activities that I encourage clients to frequent. Your time outside of the gym is just as, if not more important, than the time you spend in the gym.

If you're ready to take the next step in your research process, consider reading How Much Does it Cost to Have a Personal Trainer?

Here are five ways you can benefit from hiring a personal trainer:

  1. Improving your motivation. Your personal trainer can help you get and stay motivated.
  2. Starting exercise programs safely. Learn to perform the right moves, the right way.
  3. Learning basic nutritional education. Some cases require referral but, your trainer should be able to help get you on the right path.
  4. Getting outside of the gym. Fresh air and cardio are just as important as lifting.
  5. Referring you to qualified professionals when needed.


  1. Coburn, Jared W., et al. “Client Consultation and Health Appraisal.” NSCA's Essentials of Personal Training, 2nd ed., Human Kinetics, 2012, pp. 148

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