Why I like working with a personal trainer and my weekly workouts

Guess what? This weekend recap is not going to include the usual pictures of the food that I ate and details on my social engagements over the past few days. Why? Because there’s not all that much to report. Some yoga, some BODYPUMP, shopping, packing and downtime. And absolutely no pictures to share on the blog (except for 25-30 selfies I took of Rudy and me and sent to Dave, who was away on a guy’s weekend with his dad). Remember on Friday when I said I hoped to not change out of workout clothes or pajamas? Mission accomplished.

Instead, today, let’s talk about the gym. As you know, I don’t spend as much time there as I used to when I worked as a personal trainer at Equinox, but I still go pretty often and have a good routine down. But most recently, I switched things up by working with my own trainer for six weeks in a row, going for a full-hour (sometimes longer) session each week. I’ve finished up that initial package, but figured it would be fun to reflect on it.

Six things I like about working with a personal trainer

By the way, because I’m an employee of 24 Hour Fitness, I was given a free package of personal training sessions and chose to work with a fellow Les Mills instructor, Will, who also teaches at the Walnut Creek gym, where I go. I told Will that my only goal was to get stronger. And after six weeks, I absolutely did.

During the time I was working with Will, I had only been teaching BODYPUMP once weekly, so the training sessions I did with him totally got me into the shape I needed to be to go back to teaching BODYPUMP twice a week, like I am doing now. (And for the record, teaching or doing BODYPUMP once a week is super tough, because each time you teach it’s painfully hard. While it’s still hard to teach twice a week, that’s only because I’m putting more weight on the bar and pushing harder.) 

But I digress. As someone who is a certified personal trainer who knows how to build workout programs, why would I choose to work with someone else? Many reasons! 

Why I like working with a personal trainer by A Lady Goes West

For instance …

1. Not having to think about what’s next or what to do in my workout that day.

My favorite part about working with Will was that I didn’t have to think at all. I would show up to the gym and just listen to his instructions. It was awesome. The gym turned into “me” time, instead of time that I was working or focused on the workouts of those around me.

2. Not having to count my reps, select my weight or rack my weights.

Doesn’t seem like counting reps is a big deal? It is for me. I constantly lose count. (And may or may not have done that as a trainer too hahahha!) When I worked with Will, I just kept going until he told me to stop. Sometimes I’m sure I did more or less than what was set out, but that was totally okay, because it wasn’t up to me. And even better than that, when you work with a trainer, a lot of times they grab your weights and re-rack them. It’s awesome. Because at the end of a set, the last thing you feel like doing is lugging a heavy weight back across the gym to replace it. Thanks, Will!

3. Getting out of my comfort zone, outside of the group fitness room.

Change only happens when you make the effort. Even though I’m religious about keeping up my workout routine and going to the gym, I don’t always get out of my comfort zone or try totally new things. While I love teaching Les Mills group fitness classes, to be totally honest, even though I change the programming regularly, the motions are similar, and my body craves diversity and doesn’t always get it. When I worked with Will, I told him I wanted to do absolutely anything that I wouldn’t do in the classes I teach. That means I was doing box jumps, walking lunges, incline chest presses, Turkish get-ups (my favorite) and even plyo push-ups (gag me). And for the first time since I worked as a trainer at Equinox, I went into the squat rack and did heavy squats. I also picked up a heavy bar with bumper plates for deadlifting (bumper plates are those big plastic ones that don’t make noise when dropped on the gym floor, by the way), and I did some ridiculously hard core and upper-body exercise moves on the TRX. It was never easy. But because I’m always up for the challenge, I looked forward to the workout of the day and felt so good after I had completed something that was very hard for me, and I may not have been good at.

4. Having a professional nitpick my form. 

I know what good form looks and feels like, but I’m also human. When working with Will, I learned a few things that I need to work on. For instance, during stationary lunges, I need to pull my shoulders back over my hips more. I was leaning just slightly forward, which took a bit of the work out of my glutes. He told me that one time, and I instantly fixed it and have thought about it during every workout including lunges since then. This is a good lesson. For anyone working out in group fitness or with a trainer — take what they say and make the change not only in front of them, but after the fact, so you can improve. It’s so good to get feedback on your form, and I encourage everyone to seek it out. (For instance, if you always work out at home without anyone seeing you, consider going to a gym or class one day and getting some insight on how your body is actually moving. It could be eye opening!)

5. Being motivated by someone who wants me to succeed.

Nine times out of ten, I’m the motivator at the gym as the person in charge. But when I was working with Will, he wanted me to lift heavier, finish the last rep with great form and go harder. It felt good to have someone in my corner, and it sure made me want to do a good job.

6. Remembering what it’s like to be a student.

I don’t know about you, but I don’t like to be bad at things or new at things. But that’s life. Working with Will humbled me and reminded me what it’s like for people who come to my classes for the first time. It’s not easy. You aren’t always sure of what you’re doing and that makes you second guess yourself. 

Overall, those six weeks of working with a personal trainer were really good ones for me. I definitely had a few days where I was super sore, and I ended the whole thing with some results. How do I know I got stronger? Because I’m finally back to lifting more weight on the bar while teaching BODYPUMP that I was when I used to teach a lot back living in San Francisco. I’ve also been doing way more push-ups on my toes than knees.

(If you’re wondering whether you should work with a trainer, check out this post I wrote a while ago: Top six reasons to work with a personal trainer for some food for thought.

The key takeaways for you

I hope my experience as a “student” gives you a little inspiration to be a student in some way in your life. While it doesn’t have to be in the gym, it can be in the kitchen, in your church, or wherever you think you need some growth. It’s okay to stumble and fall when you take on something new, because you’re sure lapping those who are on the couch. 

My weekly workout recap

Speaking of workouts, let’s take a look at all of the workouts I completed last week, which we always do on Monday. And sadly, no personal training sessions occurred …

Weekly Workouts by A Lady Goes West

Weekly Workouts

  • Monday: Rest day
  • Tuesday: Taught a one-hour BODYPUMP class
  • Wednesday: Took a one-hour CorePower CP2 yoga class
  • Thursday: Did 30 minutes of weights
  • Friday: Took a one-hour BODYFLOW class
  • Saturday: Took a one-hour CorePower CP2 yoga class
  • Sunday: Took a one-hour CorePower CP1 yoga class

Overview of the week

Holy yoga! I fit in three sessions of yoga this week, thanks to a free week pass at CorePower in downtown Walnut Creek. For the first time ever, I tried out the CP1 class at CorePower, which of course, is much less intense and slower than my usual CP2 experience. It was the perfect flow and stretch session for a Sunday. Overall, three resistance sessions were included, so it was a good week. Cardio you ask? Oh, I forgot to fit that in this week. Whoops!

Hope you go off and have a great start to your week!

What you can learn from working with a #personaltrainer - talking #fitness #weeklyworkouts and more Click To Tweet

P.S. Thanks to Meghan for today’s “Week in Review” link-up. 

Questions of the day

When was the last time you were “new” at something?

Have you ever worked with a personal trainer before? What did you think?

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33 Comments

  1. I never have but have always thought about working with a trainer. I usually do a video or write my own workouts, but every so often I crave something different. I do like working out with my husband though, he’s pretty knowledgable when it comes to weight lifting and like you said it’s nice to show up and just have him tell me what to do and watch my form. Have a great week!

    1. Hi Patricia. I always watch other people at the gym, and I’m really impressed with some guys that definitely know what they are doing and have good form — all on their own. I bet your hubby is one of them hahah! How cool he helps you out. πŸ™‚

  2. I did a few personal training sessions and I really loved them. I like being pushed and getting out of my regular routine. I still count my reps and when they wouldn’t count properly it would drive me crazy!

    1. Ha! Well, you are a counter, that’s good. I’m not! I think it’s good for everyone to try personal training if it’s in the budget for them, so it’s cool you had that experience, Jen. πŸ™‚

  3. Love selfies with the pup, we do those a lot when the bf is out of town as well!

    Oh box jumps! I’ve been doing those a lot lately, such a fun and challenging way to get your heart rate up! I just added another riser to mine this weekend, it’s such an easy way to see progress :).

    My boyfriend keeps reminding me how much I need to work on proper squat form, ick… I know he’s right, but it just hurts… waaa .

    1. Hi Jessie! Perfecting your squat form will help your box jumps! Yes, they are fun — but also scary, that’s why I don’t do them that often hahah. Glad I’m not the only one who communicates with dog selfies to my significant other. πŸ™‚ Hope your weekend was great, friend!

  4. I love the energy you get from group workout classes, although having a personal training would be awesome too. I love the idea of just showing up and not having to think about anything.

    Happy Monday and thanks for linking up.

    1. It’s definitely helpful to get at least a few sessions with someone to check on your form and imbalances! Hope you get to do it one day, Dixya!

  5. Love this post! I couldn’t agree more with all of your points. I worked with a trainer and completed a 30-day program right after I got certified. It was great to have someone create workouts for me, nitpick my form, and really push me. I’d love to do it again!

    1. Hi Heather! That’s great! You can learn a lot from group fitness instructors — especially the good ones. Usually you can even go early or stick around after to get help with your form based on the moves from class.

  6. I loved working with a personal trainer, but it was so pricey it was hard to maintain on top of a gym membership. I miss it so much, I think I was in the best shape when I was working with my trainer 3 times a week buuut then I went broke! lol Plus I’m sure for you, it’s great to get new ideas for different workouts and ideas for classes you teach!

    1. Hi Fiona! Yes, but you can take with you what you learned from that time with your trainer. And for someone who works out a lot, having that knowledge is TOTALLY worth the money you spent. πŸ™‚ So you are better off for it! hehehe even though now you have to be responsible for other little people and can’t spend so much on yourself.

  7. OH WOW, I love this so much. On Sunday, one of the young guys did an exhortation on being ‘teachable’ and it convicted me so much. I’m too often spending too much time trying to help others, that I need to step back, be humble, and learn what God has to teach me through others.

    This seems so similar to what you learned in your 6 weeks of personal training. Your desire to learn and grow and be challenged to lift heavier, to understand your students, and to be a better athlete shines in this post!

  8. Love this – especially the message behind it!

    I recently started classes with a new trainer and it’s been amazing to have their help with form. It’s tough when there are some different thought processes (ex, when to tuck your booty versus only focusing on your ab strength in barre), but I’ve loved even learning them in general to form my own opinion.

    Thanks for the inspiration!

    XO, Jessica
    http://www.semisweettooth.com

    1. Hi Jessica! Barre can definitely be tricky, because depending on the studio, sometimes you tuck and sometimes you don’t. I get confused too. And that’s cool you’re working with a new trainer and group! Hope you like it so far. πŸ™‚ Have a great day, gal!

  9. I was a personal trainer back in the Paleolithic era πŸ™‚
    Back then and now I would tell anyone who would listen: I was a trainer but I would not do well with the trainer. I don’t respond well to encouragement in that fashion.
    And then something shifted. The past few months I’ve come to the realization I might enjoy having a trainer – – for exactly precisely and completely πŸ™‚ the reasons you listed above.

    1. Hi Carla! Oh how we all change sometimes! That’s awesome you were a trainer back in the day as well. Hope you get to take up some personal training sessions when you have the time and see how it goes. πŸ™‚ Have a great day!

  10. All these reasons make me want to have a personal trainer of my own so badly. I love the idea of being surprised and challenged each day and adoreee the idea of having someone critique my form. I do the best to watch mine in mirrors but I’ve always been very concerned with making my form safe and correct!

    1. Hi Cayenne! That’s great you are open and receptive to having help from professionals, because it can be very effective. Hope you get to work with a trainer one day. But for now, keep up the good work on your own, gal. πŸ™‚

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