With all the new technology these days, it might seem like the role of a Personal Trainer is becoming obsolete.

I just spent the past 4 days with 12000 other fitness professionals at the IDEA World Fitness Convention in Los Angeles (I’ll get into this in more detail on Friday, so be sure to come back!).

An exciting part of the convention was the expo – who doesn’t love free samples? 😉

how can a personal trainer help

There are no shortage of snacks in this apartment!

But samples aside, I was really looking forward to seeing the new tools and technology that’s available to personal trainers.

And while there were tons of fantastic CRM platforms and ways to connect with existing clients and potential clients, I was really surprised to see the “be your own trainer” software.

There were apps that created full-on meal plans based on dietary preferences and activity levels. Websites claimed to be able to help you reach your goals by creating customized workout programs.

All for a fee that runs much lower than a personal training package.

You can even take it one step further and turn to one of the thousand You-Tubers, virtual personal trainers, and Insta-Celebs who are giving all the goods away for free.

how can a personal trainer help

Tired of seeing stuff like this?? Me too!

And while I’ve never quite felt “threatened” by these offerings, it has made me wonder where my field is going to take me in the coming years.

But after connecting with different trainers and listening in on incredibly helpful and inspiring sessions meant to help us help you better, I’ve gained a greater appreciation for what these tools and technologies and programs lack:

Relationships.

The ability to connect with another human being – to share struggles, celebrate successes, and reach out when you need a helping hand or a friendly kick in the ass.

They lack sets of eyes that watch every move, ensuring all aspects of technique are correct.

And they lack flexibility. An app doesn’t care if you’ve had a rough day and can’t mentally handle an intense HIIT workout, whereas a trainer can pick up on those cues and adapt the session as needed.

So if you’ve been wondering, amidst all these fantastic new tools, “how can a personal trainer help me?”, here are your answers.

how can a personal trainer help

1. Customization.

Sure, some of the more advanced software will allow you to enter your weight, height, dietary preferences, exercise preferences, etc. and will “customize” a program for you.

But these programs are still based off templates with pre-determined exercises and pre-determined recipes. They don’t take into account that sometimes your shoulder gets sore after overhead movements, or that you occasionally work graveyard shifts that throw your entire schedule out of whack.

2. Accountability.

You can probably turn on Push Notifications so your app will tell you it’s time to workout.

And you can set calendar reminders to tell you meal prep or drink your water or whatever.

But how often do you actually pay attention to those things?

how can a personal trainer help

Hiring a personal trainer is a two-way investment – it’s an investment of your time, money, and energy, and it’s an investment of their time and energy.

Countless studies have shown that by staying accountable to another individual you will be more likely to stick to and ultimately reach your goals.

If you know you’re going to have to report to your trainer about whether you hit your water intake or completed your workout homework, are you going to be less likely to skip out?

3. Knowledge.

It’s your personal trainer’s job to understand the “why” behind a certain exercise or programming method.

We’re required by our certifying bodies to ensure we are giving you accurate information and are being honest about questions we don’t know the answers to.

Your favourite fitness blogger who posts workout programs and meal plans on her recipe can say whatever she wants because #FreedomOfSpeech

“Will I gain more weight if I ate a tablespoon of Yak Butter or drank a soda?” – unanimously they would say Yak Butter. But they’re wrong. Your body has no idea what the hell to do with the soda, so this floats through your body, and it stores it as inflammation, which is a very important word that needs to be understood correctly.”

Don’t get me wrong – I’ve heard a lot of crap come out of other trainers’ mouths that makes me cringe.

But at the end of the day, the vast majority of us take our careers seriously and work hard to ensure we are communicating accurate information.

4. Flexibility.

Let’s be honest – you’re not going to crush every single workout every single day. You’re not going to be motivated to kill it all. the. time.

These generic programs and softwares lack the ability to adapt based on your current needs.

Tired from a mentally draining day at work? Maybe 10 sets of 10 squats isn’s what you need. But does you app offer an alternative, or are you left to mull about on the couch?

Are you travelling on business which limits your workout time? Since you no longer have the time for Ms. Fitness Blogger’s two-hour workouts, what else are you going to do?

A personal trainer can modify the workout they had planned for you, or even the current phase of your program based on the current factors in your life.

how can a personal trainer help

We hold mighty powers in program manipulation

Source

It’s not always about being a super-hardcore-ultimate-badass-fitness-monster every single day.

Sometimes it’s about doing what you can when you can, until life puts those favourable conditions back in your hands.

At the end of the day, my job as a personal trainer goes far beyond kicking peoples’ butts in the gym and writing them programs.

It’s more about supporting others as they take steps towards improving their health and their lives.

It involves creating an environment that allows them to explore how strong they really are.

It involves being a cheerleader, a therapist, and most importantly, a friend.

how can a personal trainer help

So while all of these new apps and tools and software will force us trainers to become more creative in our practices, I have a hunch that we’re all here to stay 😉

If you would like to learn more about how myself or one of my fellow trainers can help you reach your health goals and discover your inner strength, contact me today for a complimentary consultation. I’d love to get to know you!

Showing 30 comments
  • Lisa McLemore
    Reply

    I hate it when technology starts putting people out of work! I’m sure you’ll weather the storm though 🙂 Accountability is something people who work with personal trainers are often really looking for! An app can’t provide that.

    • Ariana
      Reply

      I agree! You are so right though – there’s only so much hounding and badgering an app can do. Us trainers are a lot better at that 😉

  • iIndira
    Reply

    There is no app or program that could make me feel how I felt when I saw Ariana’s face at the finish line of my first half…… Apps can assist but no app can motivate you or make you feel proud of yourself or pick you up when you feel beaten….. I appreciate technology for what it is but love my trainer….

    • Ariana
      Reply

      Aww! You are so awesome and I love you too!! Technology is a fantastic tool and we can definitely use it to our advantage to enhance our performance, but you’re so right – it lacks the emotion that human contact has!

  • Reply

    I’ve been working with a CrossFit coach for 2 years now, one on one, and what a huge difference she has made in my–yes–running!

    • Ariana
      Reply

      That’s great! Cross-training is so important for runners, however I know CrossFit isn’t one of the more popular options. It CAN be great for runners, but I think oftentimes it’s not done in a way that compliments running. You must have a great coach! 😀

  • Nicole @ Fitful Focus
    Reply

    love love love this! I think tech and apps can be a great supplement to training – but nothing compares to a real trainer making a customized plan just for you.

    • Ariana
      Reply

      You are so right! We have that magic touch, don’t we? 😉

  • Mar @ Mar on the Run
    Reply

    I’ve had a personal trainer off and on the last few years. It is SO helpful – in learning new exercises and with accountability. It can get pricey though!

    • Ariana
      Reply

      It can definitely be pricey, but I always try to look at the cost of a coach as an investment. Doing intermittent spurts like you are is a great cost-effective way to get the assistance of a trainer while still keeping your budget in check.

  • Reply

    I found this really interesting! I’ve had the same trainer for 10 years! He is my therapist, cheerleader and friend all in one. He also reins me back in when I sign up for too many races. You will never be able to replace the human relationship and personal interaction.

    • Ariana
      Reply

      Wow 10 years! That’s amazing, you two must have a really strong relationship. When I first started training I never thought I would have to hold clients back, I thought it would be more encouraging and maybe even a bit of hassling to get them to train 😉 But lo and behold, I have a lot of really eager women who just want to train all the time and run all the races!

  • Reply

    I do think the apps and the blogs have their place because there are always people who are self-motivated, have some knowledge, or really can’t afford to pay a personal trainer.

    That being said, nothing beats having a trainer for all the reasons that you laid out. One other thing (probably included under “knowledge” but…), FORM! I see so many people using such bad form and doing exercises so incorrectly that it’s amazing they are not injured 50% of the time. Even trainers themselves need a little feedback from time to time, to keep in touch with maintaining proper alignment.

    • Ariana
      Reply

      I agree that apps and blogs and all that have their places. At the end of the day, if they get an inactive person active, then that’s awesome!

      But yes, form is a HUGE thing! I have knee issues now from doing at-home exercise DVDs and not understanding the cues properly. Even now, I’ll still ask for form checks, advice, and feedback on my own training!

  • Jennifer Florence
    Reply

    It is absolutely true that a trainer can make all the difference. The personal connection, the support and of course the knowledge make a huge difference!

    • Ariana
      Reply

      You hit the nail on the head with that one!

  • Lora
    Reply

    Great post! personal training is SO important and necessary to get to the next level. One on one makes such a difference!

    • Ariana
      Reply

      Yes! While I do think that it is possible to continuously improve on your own, it can take longer when you’re going at it alone, and not everyone has the patience for that! (Myself included! Haha)

  • Reply

    While technology is certainly great, personal relationships are super important, especially when it comes to getting fitness advice. We’re all built differently, and relying on a generic online plan is usually not the best way to go.

    • Ariana
      Reply

      Agreed. There is so much to the human body that can’t be taken into consideration through a generic program!

  • Reply

    I have considered becoming a personal trainer but have held off for the reasons you mentioned. BUT, I do think that people hire personal trainers for the accountability and the relationship!! Great post!

    • Ariana
      Reply

      Thank you! I HIGHLY recommend it! 😉 As I said, it can force us to be more creative in our practices and can definitely be tough to make it in such a competitive and crowded market, but it’s oh-so possible. And I feel like if we have that passion for fitness and knowledge, it’s our responsibility to share it to help improve the lives of others!

  • Amanda
    Reply

    Great perspective! I love working with a personal trainer.

    • Ariana
      Reply

      It’s a great way to keep your routine fresh, hey? Thanks for stopping by!

  • Becki S
    Reply

    I enjoyed this read. I know accountability is a huge factor for people being motivated and consistent with getting fit. I also found it helpful to have a real person who can answer questions on the spot about all the different aspects, as opposed to trying to find another app to cover it.

    • Ariana
      Reply

      Agreed! The question factor is a huge part. Sometimes they can pop up during the middle of a workout, and you don’t always have time to wait for Google or an app to tell you 😉

  • Reply

    I don’t think an app could ever really match the motivation aspect of a real live person! That makes such a difference!

    • Ariana
      Reply

      It totally does! You never know – scientists may become very creative with robots in the future. But I don’t see that happening any time soon 😉

  • Reply

    Great tips! I definitely want to work with a personal trainer as soon as I have the money, but for now I’m stuck with the apps. And you’re right, there’s no replacing an in person relationship!

    • Ariana
      Reply

      I think it’s great you’re making your time and resources work for you! Trainers will always be there 😉

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