You can't be lazy and lose inches of fat.
Two years ago this summer, I set my alarm for 4:45 in the morning so I could make it to Spring Hill Adventure Boot Camp for Women.
Upon waking up when it rang, I finally realized I'm not sane. I mean, who, pray tell, gets up before 5 -- before 6, even -- five days a week for a month to work out with a trainer? Let me tell you: I did.
And it changed my life.
For the first time since high school, I saw results from working out. In four weeks, I lost several inches in several places. I saw, for once, that like much of life, I couldn't get where I wanted to be if I tried to do it alone. We're designed, after all, to be our brothers' (and sisters'!) keepers.
I'll be honest with you -- though it's been more than four months since I've eliminated added sugar from my diet, it wasn't until recently I noticed any change in my size or shape. That's because I wasn't getting adequate exercise. Any good trainer -- like Frank Pastorelli in Florida or Dustin Maher in Wisconsin -- would tell you the best results will come when how you eat and how you work out are both top notch.
Four reasons to hire a trainer
"If you hire a good trainer, they definitely know things you don't know," said personal trainer Dustin Maher.
Those things, he said, can make or break your workout. Among them? Ways to work out without getting injured. Ways to safely work out after a pre-existing injury. What to eat in order to best reach your fat loss goal (and when to eat it!). How to keep the fat off once you've lost it.
"Personalized programs and nutritional plans for your needs, goals and body type," said personal trainer Frank Pastorelli. He also said a good trainer makes sure the trainee doesn't hit a fitness plateau. Often times, when you work out alone, "you'll get results in the beginning. But they'll come to a permanent halt." A trainer, he said, can see those plateaus coming and change the workout routine before they happen.
Pastorelli can always tell when a trainee has reached his or her limit. But in the following, he's a firm believer: "You would have quit 20 seconds ago if you didn't have me, or whoever, there to get the most out of you."
A trainer, Maher said, doesn't just keep you accountable during the workouts. His or her presence also keeps you accountable on the days in between them.
"Chances are, someone who's really unhealthy (or) overweight doesn't have a good support network around them," he said. A trainer can be that network -- or, at least, get it started.
You can probably afford it.
"Some people truly can't afford it," Maher said. But "I tell people there's no money in the world to trade for health."
One of his trainees, Becky Runo, agrees.
"So many people will pay $4 a day on a calorie, sugar-laden mocha and not give it a second thought," she said. "But when it comes to paying for even one personal training session, they can't afford it."
Pastorelli sees the same pattern.
"Just brew your own (coffee) and hire a trainer," he said. "I hate the excuses." Some people say they can't afford it, he said, but "they'll go spend $50 on a meal at Outback."
The issue, the trainers said, is usually less about money and more about priorities.
Runo, 38, has been working out with Maher for more than 15 months. Before she started training, she weighed 174 pounds but changed her diet. When she reached 154 pounds, she met Maher. Three months later, she weighed 124.
"My body has really transformed in more (ways) than the scale alone conveys," she said. "I have much more tone and definition."
And the results, she said, wouldn't be as good without a trainer.
"I never push myself as hard as Dustin pushes me," she said. "Even on the days when I'm working out on my own, I know he is going to ask me about what I did. So, in a sense, he is still there, encouraging me."