Can a Personal Trainer Help You Lose Weight?

If  January is national weight loss month, February should be called “national hire a personal trainer month“. As a trainer myself, it’s always interesting to me that January is my slowest month of the year, yet February is the beginning of the busiest stretch for welcoming new clients to my business. This might be surprising but I think I know why.

We all know gym membership sales skyrocket after the holidays but it’s been shown that attendance rapidly declines after January. There are many reasons for this decline but one of them is likely due to peoples realization of just how difficult losing weight can be when it’s done without support. Once the motivation wears off and the results are less than expected, some will give up on their solo mission and seek some professional help. With commercial weight loss programs, hypnotherapy, specialized coaching, and even medical and surgical interventions topping the list, there are plenty of options to suit your needs.

Another popular option is hiring a personal trainer to lose weight. Does it work? Sure it can, but first understand that you’re hiring a fitness professional, not a weight loss expert.

Personal Trainers are trained to create and facilitate a safe and productive exercise program.

BL trainerMost trainers don’t have a background in behavioral therapy, dietetics or weight management. We are exercise professionals. Considering that exercise alone only produces modest benefits to weight loss program, a fitness expert can only help you so much. I think many people overlook this fact based on the images they see portrayed in popular media. Images of trainers pushing their overweight client to their limits and advertisements promising rapid fat loss results with their “special system” are synonymous with the profession.

This is unfortunate.

So does that mean you shouldn’t look for a trainer to help you lose weight? That depends on the skills of the trainer and your specific needs as a client. Almost every personal trainer claims to be a weight loss specialist but very few truly are. Seek out a trainer that specializes in weight loss, has received advanced education in working with overweight clients and has a proven track record of helping people with the same needs as you.

Just because someone is a great trainer, doesn’t mean they have the knowledge or experience to serve you best.

 

4 Ways a Personal Trainer Can Help You Lose Weight

 
 

1Assessment

This is a critical part of your journey. Your trainer will assess your lifestyle history, your motivations, limitations and your expectations. They will also assess your fitness levels, tolerance to exercise, individual preferences and screen for potential risks and limitations. From this information and with your input, they will formulate a plan that is both realistic and in accordance with your goals.  This part of the process is the most tedious for some and although it’s tempting to skip it, I’d advise that you don’t. It is from this information that your trainer will cultivate ways to motivate and really personalize your exercise experience.

2Coaching

Most fitness professionals don’t have any formal  training in this area, which is too bad since it’s probably the most important skill they can have. I realized this myself a few years back and decided to change that by extensively studying the art of coaching, specifically for weight loss. I think my clients have really benefited from my new approach.

Coaching is about unlocking your full potential. It’s about closing the gap between who you are today and who you want to be tomorrow. A good coach will get you asking the tough questions you would’nt ask yourself and help you find the answers within yourself. It’s about facilitating change, not just telling you what to do and expecting you to do it.

3Accountability

Accountability goes far beyond just getting you to show up for your training session. Your trainer will help remove your feelings of being controlled by others and start being accountable for your lifestyle choices. Simply put, a trainer should keep you accountable for your actions and your results.

4Exercise

As mentioned earlier, exercise alone is a weak intervention without lifestyle, nutritional and motivational factors being addressed. That said, physical activity is still very important for health, for boosting your weight loss and is critical for the maintenance of your results.

An experienced personal trainer will understand the most common issues that you may have surrounding exercise. This will make your exercise experience much more pleasant. This is important because your  experience will ultimately influence your adherence to the program. A good trainer will also help you discover new and alternative ways to become more active. This will make the exercise component of your program much more potent.

 

I hope I’ve highlighted some of the main areas where having a personal trainer can be an effective strategy for losing weight. Just make sure that the one you choose is knowledgeable and experienced in working with people who have similar needs as your own.

It’s also important not to rely on one method of support. You will do best if you have an army of “coaches” and “supporters” on your side. Join a support group and get your friends and family involved if you really want to be successful.

If you enjoyed this article, please quickly do me a favor and share with others and comment below.

 

Craig Simms
Craig Simms is a personal trainer and weight loss coach in Vancouver, B.C. Craig has been a fitness leader for over 11 years and has amassed over 15,000 hours of personal training experience in that span. He specializes in personalized weight management programs.
Craig Simms
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