The Unseen Benefits of a Personal Trainer

I’ve been working out with a personal trainer for the last 3 years. I take care of my diet, I make sure I workout 5 times a week (and when I don’t, I miss it so much that I ended up dreaming about workouts). Suffice it to say I’m gym rat, or my preferred term, fitness freak.

Over the course of these 3 years, I’ve had my personal trainer guide me and push me beyond what I alone would have been capable of. He’s taught me enough to keep on going even if he is not present. My workouts are solely strenght training based, and anyone who does strength training knows the body form and technique is more important than the weights we lift. My trainer has taught me well and I am proud enough to say that my form is pretty good.

Last week, I conducted a small experiment. My personal trainer had gone for a week long vacation with his family and I continued my workouts on my own. No help. No stretching at the end of the workout from anyone. No one motivating me to workout (except my Apple Watch).

My observations of myself were these:

  1. I kept myself motivated enough to workout (remember, if I don’t, I miss it and dream about it, so this was the easiest part).
  2. While deciding what weight to lift, I went for the lower end of the spectrum, to play it safe.
  3. When I started a set, I knew the number of repititions I would do (say 15), but near the end of it, my lizard brain would convince me to skimp out on the last two or three (so my reps were about 12), even though I’m lifting lower weights than I’m capabale of.

I can’t honestly say I was happy with those workouts.

My trainer returned this week. And I noticed the difference in the workout immediately.

It was chest day, and when I’d done it on my own, I went through the basic routine:

  1. Decline Chest Press
  2. Flat Chest Press
  3. Incline Chest Press

As the decline chest press is the first exercise, I usually go with heavier weights. My three sets were with 45 pounds, 50 pounds and 55 pounds.

Note: In a decline chest press, the plane in which the body is makes it easier to lift more weight. But let’s not getting into the science of it.

My trainer, on his return, altered my routine slightly:

  1. Flat
  2. Incline
  3. Decline

And the first set of Decline, he handed me the 70 pounds dumbbells.

Our conversation went something like this:

“Let’s go for 70 pounds.”
“Are you mad? This is the third variation. I can’t lift that.”
“Don’t worry. I’m here now.”

That’s all he said. “I’m here now.” 

And that’s all that mattered.

It must be a placcebo or whatever, but him being there, physically, gave me enough confidence in myself to push beyond the limits I had set for myself. I did complete my 15 reps. My trainer never lets me listen to my lizard brain.

That is, by far, the biggest advantage of having a personal trainer by your side. No artificial intelligence, no virtual trainer will ever be able to do that.

Sometimes, all we need is someone else, physically there to push us beyond our means.

Article by:
Akshay Gajria,
Co-founder – TrainMe.

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