Why I Needed a Personal Trainer
(And So Do You.)
Want to know a little fitness industry insider secret?
Most of the best personal trainers have their own personal trainer.
I'm sure you wouldn't be surprised if I told you that most of the top-level bodybuilders, premier physique competitors, Olympic lifting champions, and world class powerlifters had a trainer or coach. Right?
Well, personal trainers are no different. Not the ones that care about their own physique, health, and performance anyway. And if they don't have an actual trainer, at the very least, they hire other people to design their programs for them.
Off the top of my head, I can drop half a dozen of the most recognizable names in the fitness industry, and tell you that each of these people has a trainer for one aspect of their program or another. I can also name a half dozen who I have allowed to help me.
Which brings me around to the main subject of this article.
I have a personal coach(es).
More often than not, this surprises people. The obvious question is, “why would an expert on training - - who designs some of the BEST programs - - hire someone else to help him with his training?"
To answer this question, let’s talk about why I hired one in the first place.
Somewhere back around 2006, my training went sour. My workouts sucked. BAD. I was at apoint where I pretty much no longer enjoyed training. If I was lucky enough not to skip a workout, I was just going through the motions.
I won't tell you why simply because when I put it down in writing and read it myself, I get this overwhelming feeling of "Jim, that's weak. Nothing but an excuse." Regardless, the long and short of it is that somewhere along the way, I lost my drive and reason for training. Instead of it being my passion, it was now a chore. What was once a priority now felt like an albatross around my neck. I did what felt like my best to stay in shape during this down period, but that didn't work out so well.
How bad did it get? I ballooned up to a fat 236 lbs! (To put that in perspective, I walk around right now at about 200 lbs in good "off-season" shape).
It was around 2008, a switch inside of me sort of flipped. I hit physical rock bottom, and I couldn't take it anymore. Do you know what it's like to be a fat personal trainer? It's not good (Ironically, its all too common in our industry).
I finally asked myself, “When was the last time you actually enjoyed training?”
The answer was YEARS! I'm talking all the way back to 2000-2001. Even though I competed and did very well all the way up through 2005, when I really take a hard look at those last few years it was more like a job than a passion.
What was so different back in 2001? Why was that the last time I was really enjoying my time in the gym?
The answer was simple: back then, I had a "coach" and a mentor - - a great one, who also happened to be one of my idols. If you are a drug-free bodybuilding fan in any sort of way, you probably know him...His name is Skip Lacour.
This pretty much decided this issue. I needed to find an outside influence. Someone that motivated me. Someone I respect. I needed a coach again.
I decided to do some research as to who I trusted to be my guide. Someone to design an intense program for me and I would execute it in the gym. My search led me to Jason Ferruggia.
Without question, hooking up with Jason and his Renegade Inner Circle was one of the best choices I could have made. I followed Jason's guidance for just under 2 years, but that was more than enough to jump start my results again, and get me to a place where I enjoyed training.
Jason got me out of the box that I had closed myself into. I was training in all sorts of different ways, with different methods, and different exercises. Once I got my juices flowing again and felt like I was back to my old self, it was time to focus back more on bodybuilding...but I knew the advantages of having a mentor and a coach. So after some research, I was led to IFBB Pro Ben Pakulski and over the last year I haven't done a workout that wasn't prescribed my him. And right now I'm happy to say, if I wanted to compete again, I could get ready inside of 6-8 weeks.
The Advantages of Having a Trainer/Coach Are Truley Endless
The truth is, training with someone else’s programming taught me new things. As I mentioned above, it got be out of my own training "box" and brought the a different level of intensity than I was used to. Not just because it’s good programming, but because someone else is doing the hard part: the thinking. I was able to get out of my own mind and just execute.
This made all of my workouts WAY more productive than they'd been in a very, very long time.
Now, of course, for me (or any fitness pro) this ONLY worked because I trust Jason and Ben implicitly. I have a very critical eye when it comes to trainers. So I couldn't put my faith in just anyone.
For non-fitness professionals, having a high level of belief in your trainer is still imperative: if you don't trust your trainer, you won't get the results you are looking (and paying) for. Which is why you should hire someone elite, who has gotten results for people in your situation. This credibility lends itself to trust.
I believe everyone should have a trainer (or coach) - - at least at some point. Why? It's not because that's how I make my living. Hardly!
Here are just SOME of the main advantages of having a trainer/coach:
Knowledge/Expertise – This should be the main reason people hire a trainer or coach. Get a person that has a high level of expertise with the given subject, and leverage that knowledge to your benefit. In the case of training, you’ll get in better shape.
Motivation – A trainer should be able to get you to work harder and perform better than if you did it on your own. The combination of motivation and intensity always leads to greater progress and better results.
Accountability – By FAR, this is the greatest benefit of coaching. If you know someone is counting on you, you show up. When hiring a trainer, you’re a LOT more likely to skip LESS workouts and more prone to taking your program seriously and staying consistent...which leads to more progress.
The "Personal" Aspect – I can tell you as a coach, when you’re working with someone on a frequent basis, it’s impossible not to grow closer. Their goals are my goals. Their successes become my successes.
Those are just SOME of the benefits off the top of my head of having a personal trainer. There really are far too many to list.
I don’t think everyone NEEDS a coach - - but I think just about anyone can benefit from coaching.
So, I want you to ask yourself…
Are you the type of person who can benefit from coaching? If any of these apply to you, then the anser is yes...
- You lack consistency (miss a lot of workouts)
- You don't feel confident in what to do (need a plan that fits your goals)
If any of those apply to you, it's time to consider getting professional guidance.
Consider investing in yourself.
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