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The celebrities all have them, and you see them back to their pre-baby weight just 6 weeks out. You see testimonials on websites. You notice a group of fit looking people training in the park with their PT. Is this the secret to weight loss or is it all hype?

Whether you would find working with a PT invaluable, or just a drain to the bank account will depend on these 5 factors…

How much exercise knowledge do you have?

If your knowledge of exercising is based on a hazy memory of physical education in high school, a PT could be just what you need. They can show you not only the exercises you should be doing, but also how to correctly perform the exercise, and what you need to do to improve- including safe weight increases for resistance exercises, safe increases in cardiovascular intensity to avoid injury, and they can monitor you during your session if you have any health concerns and require supervision.

If on the other hand you have a good knowledge base, know how to perform exercises correctly, and have access to the equipment you need, you might find you can spend your money on other things- like a new wardrobe when you drop a dress size.

How much motivation do you have?

Having all the knowledge in the world won’t do you any good if you aren’t actually getting out there and exercising. This is where a PT can be extremely useful- encouraging you to perform at your peak during a training session, making you accountable so you can’t make excuses and cancel, and offering support for you if you are having a hard time.

If motivation isn’t a problem for you? You could probably get just as much benefit from circuit training on your own, exercising to home exercise DVD’s for variety, or doing some classes at the gym or exercising with friends who can offer that social support.

What does your budget allow?

If you can’t afford a PT, the benefits of having one won’t make any difference to you. This can also come down to a shuffle of priorities- take a look at your budget, are you spending money on things like takeaway coffee, magazines, eating out, or subscriptions you don’t need? If you shift your priorities and eliminate some extras could you afford a PT, and even more importantly- would this be a worthwhile investment for you?

If a one on one session is out of the question, many PT’s offer group exercises sessions at a much lower cost, or many gyms will offer a number of complimentary PT sessions when you join up where they can write a program for you to continue on your own. You might be able to book one or two one on one sessions to get help with the basics and then work solo from then on.

Can they fit in with your schedule?

So you’ve found the trainer you want, you are convinced they will help you get the results you want, and they have a proven track record. Next question is- do they have time for you, and does this fit in with your schedule? If they work 9am-5pm, and so do you, you might be able to get in a lunch break workout, or you might not.

Are they in close proximity to you? Can you regularly travel to meet them? Will this become too taxing on your free time on an ongoing basis. How often can they see you vs. how often you need to train? All questions you will need to find out before making a decision. The important thing is to make choices that are sustainable for the long term.

How sound is their nutrition knowledge?

If you are seeing a PT for general fitness, this part will probably not be an issue. If you are looking for a complete package of exercise and nutrition advice (based on evidence, not personal opinions), you may have to look for a PT with dual qualifications, or seek outside help from other experts.

This was something we had to consider at our retreats, and why we offer a combination of exercise as well as nutrition and psychology experts to tackle the whole picture. Weight loss is so much more than just exercise, so make sure you have the knowledge you need from all angles.

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