4 Ways A Personal Trainer Will Rock Your Workout

Nov 16, 2018, 12:11 PM by Andra Coberly

You can see it now: Your future self.

You see yourself running through the finish line of your first marathon or spending an entire weekend effortlessly skiing one run after another. You see yourself in new clothes or old clothes that had become unzippable. Or you envision yourself playing with your grandkids or climbing the stairs at work without feeling winded.

Maybe you simply see yourself comfortable in your body — for the first time in a long time.

But you could fit a mountain in between who you are now and that future you. Becoming that fitter, stronger version of yourself would be a daunting journey. It’d be hard. It could be really hard. 

Could you even do it?

The answer, of course, is yes. You can do it, and with some extra support, you can do it better, faster and easier.

study printed in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research found that working out with a personal trainer is more effective than working out solo. The study reported that fitness club members working with trainers got fitter and stronger and increased their lean body mass more effectively than fitness club members who did self-directed workouts.

For the fitness staff at the Y, that research reflects their mantra: Trainers get results. And the benefits of working with one is not always about muscle mass or body fat.

We set out to find the ways trainers help their clients, and here are just a few:

1. Trainers Help You Set Goals and Develop a Strategy to Meet Those Goals

When you’re beginning on your fitness journey, you can feel lost before you get started. Even if you’re in a workout rut, it can be disorienting to step off your current path.

That’s where a personal trainer can be your personal compass.

Peggy Merrill, Sr. Health and Wellness Director at the YMCA, has been a personal trainer for more than 30 years. She says when you ask people what they should do at the gym, they’ll rattle off a list of random activities: elliptical, use some machines to work biceps and quads. Oh, and crunches. There is no strategy or plan.

“When you work with a personal trainer, they can help you map out a plan to help you reach your goals,” Peggy says. “They can also help people discover the goals they want to achieve.”

When you meet with a trainer, you’ll have conversations about your goals. On the surface, you may think your focus is on losing weight, but the more you talk with your trainer, the more you may discover specific objectives you want to attain: you want to lower your cholesterol, you want to do the BolderBoulder for the first time, you want to feel confident for your 20-year high school reunion. With those in mind, a trainer can help you create an outcomes-based strategy.

2. Trainers Get Personal

There is a ridiculous, overwhelming, confusing number of ways you can expand your exercise repertoire. There are appsmagazinesYouTube channels, advice from your fitness-obsessed friends, blogs, beautiful and shiny Instagram gurus and so so much more. Yeah, we see you following #fitspo. 


None of it, none of it, is personal. It’s generic. Like Cheerios for your workout routine.

But when you work out with a personal trainer — yes, you know what I’m about to say — it’s personal. 

“It’s a personalized way of helping you improve your quality of life,” Peggy says. “And it’ll help you get results faster than if you did it yourself. That’s because of that personalization.”

Whether you’re dealing with old injuries or new injuries or lack of strength, endurance or flexibility, certain exercises may not be right for you (for now). In fact, trying those YouTube video workouts could be a recipe for injury or reinjury. 


A trainer will develop workouts that specifically cater to your body’s wants and needs. Whether you want to prep for ski season or you need to lower your blood pressure, your trainer can ensure each and every exercise is meaningful and mindful of those objectives.

Peggy says trainers can help you develop workouts that reflect who you are right now — your age, your stage of life and your circumstances. You may start up the same workouts that helped you stay fit in your 20s… but let's be honest, if you aren't 25, those workouts may no longer be right for your body, your schedule or your lifestyle.

“Maybe you are a new mom, or maybe you work odd hours and don’t have time for two-hour gym workouts, or you are getting older and you want to be able to sit on the floor with your grandkids. We meet you where you are at,” Peggy says.

3. Trainers Help You Conquer the Exercises You Are Bad At

You hate leg day.

You absolutely hate it. 

You love working on your biceps and triceps and back and chest and abs. Bench press is your jam. Pull-ups make you giddy. Even cardio is doable with the help of Beyoncé, Netflix and podcasts. 

But legs… shudder.

We get it. We all have exercises we just don’t enjoy (Confession: Burpees are my archenemy), but your preferences can impact the results you want to achieve.

“We tend to do what we're good at,” Peggy says. “Having a personal trainer can help someone make sure they get in that leg workout, which they would have blown off otherwise.”

Your trainer can give you the motivation to tackle something you dislike. They can also get creative and develop workouts that will make you LOVE every single aspect of your workout. 

On top of that, and maybe most importantly, they can help you clean up your technique and form and identify patterns in movement that may lead to injury. 

4. Trainers Are the Workout Buddy You Always Wanted

“Trainers are just normal people who have an interest in movement and helping people,” Peggy says. “We want to help people find satisfaction in their bodies.”

It’s a good thing to remember as you ponder whether or not you want to work with a personal trainer and which personal trainer. 

YMCA personal trainers have different specialties, experiences and education (see the trainer bios in each fitness area to learn more). They also have different personalities, and no matter your preferences and personality, there is a trainer for you.

“We want you to like your trainer. We want you to enjoy being around them,” Peggy says. “And we can help you find a trainer who works with your personality. Just come to talk to us.”

Once you find the right trainer, the comfort and trust levels grow, and it can feel like you’ve found the world’s best workout buddy. And that’s a good thing.


It’s not just about learning new exercises or being held accountable that will help you become that future you. Having social and emotional support can be a game changer. Having an additional support system like a trainer can help you set goals, strategize, reach those goals and discover how to maintain or surpass those accomplishments.

Just remember, on this journey, you are not alone.

Learn more about Personal Training or visit the Fitness department at your local YMCA. 

Fitness Facebook Live: Boosting Your Fitness During the Holidays

Pie, stuffing, egg nog and so many carbohydrates. Tis the season to consume extra calories. Never fear, the Y is here to help you stay strong and confident during the holiday season. During this Facebook Live session, our trainers will offer up advice and tips on turning up your fitness regimen.