Gyms & Trainers, Health & Fitness

Should You Hire a Personal Trainer? – Denise Li

Personal training is a bit of investment so, should you take the plunge? 

Woman with Personal Trainer in gym

Let’s get one thing straight: having a personal trainer IS an indulgence. Sessions with personal trainers in Singapore typically range from $80 – $120. If you train twice a week with the PT, you’re looking at a tidy sum spent every month just on fitness alone. And if you decide to go with the PT at the chain gym, there’s still the monthly membership fees to contend with!

And with the proliferation of fitness bootcamps and intense group workouts offered by studios these days, you may argue, there is hardly a need to pay someone $100 an hour if you want to work up a serious sweat.

About three weeks ago, however, I decide to hire a personal trainer to help me get into fighting shape for my boxing competition on April 4. The folks at Radiance Physiofit have kindly offered me a 50% media discount off their usual rate of $1,070 for a package of 10 sessions. Though it still works out to just over $50 per session, I feel that it’s been worth every cent I paid for it, and I think I’ve been able to justify spending that kind of money for the following reasons. See if they apply to you as well.

drill1. I need a drill instructor

I love certain aspects of boxing training. I love punching bags, and working with a coach on padwork. What I don’t like: strength and conditioning exercises. I hate doing squats and lunges and kettlebell swings and squat jumps and burpees and the like. The problem is that these sorts of exercises are also important in helping to get boxers in fighting shape. And while I know this, I know I just don’t have that sort of willpower to follow through with doing them on my own. That’s where the personal trainer comes in. He will help push you through that gruelling third set when you’re fighting the serious muscle burn. He will make sure you don’t cheat by carrying a lighter weight. A good personal trainer will get you more quickly to help you get to your fitness goal than you will on your own.

2. I don’t like to plan my workouts

I see some people sign up with gyms, only to use the treadmill and cardio machines. What a waste of money. To see results, you need to change things up and have a good mix of workouts in your week. It can be cardio one day, strength and conditioning the next, and weight training on yet another. Remember: your body will quickly “get used” to any workout you do repetitively, which is the reason why fitness plateaus happen. But yes, planning your workouts is hard work, and if you don’t know enough about fitness, you won’t be able to plan a good enough programme for yourself in the long term. That’s where the PT comes in. He will take your fitness goals in mind to plan comprehensive workouts that get progressively harder the longer you work with him, as well as track your progress.

3. I need the flexibility of time

I’m currently working with three different entities to prepare for my boxing competition: (1) boxing training in a group at Impakt Gym, (2) group strength and conditioning with two other coaches (3) personal training at Radiance Physiofit. That, coupled with a recent heavy workload, means that I really need to manage my time well. Not only do I have to think about how to get my work done in time to clock 10-hour training weeks, I need to plan my training schedule such that I’m not doing two intense workouts back to back. I like that Ian Yussuf, my PT at Radiance, has been really nice in accommodating my insane schedule, though I try to give him at least 24 hours notice if I am not able to make it to train with him. I’d say that if you have a busy schedule BUT also a flexible one which allows you to squeeze in a workout as and when you can make it (rather than trying to always make it for the fixed timing of group classes), it might do you well to hire a personal trainer.

Anyway, those are my top three reasons for going with a PT. When I decided to go with one, I had very clear goals in mind: I wanted to not just get stronger and have better endurance for the fight, I also wanted to work on some of my boxing weaknesses. Ian was assigned to me because he’s Radiance’s muay thai trainer, and is pretty knowledgeable about fighting sports.

Ian looks fierce here but he's actually a super friendly guy!

Ian looks fierce here but he’s actually a super friendly guy!

That initial chat with your personal trainer is an important one as it will help him better plan your workouts. I asked Ian what the top three things he wanted to find out from his clients are, and here’s what he has to say:

1. Goals

“What are their objectives? Whether we prescribe a shorter or longer training plan depends on what they hope to get out of training. Do they want to be fit in general? Do they need help getting back their basic strength because of an injury? Are they getting into bodybuilding or require some sort of specific sports training? The more specific the client is, the more the trainer will have to work with.”

2. Your past and current workout regime

“Have they been physically active for the past six months? If not, I’d usually classify them as sedentary. The programming for such a person will, of course, be very different from someone who is relatively active. With active people, fitness levels can differ a lot as well, depending on how frequently they train. All this is essential information to help the trainer plan a training programme.”

3. Injuries

“The last thing a trainer wants is to have a client aggravate an injury. If I’m aware that a client has an existing injury, I’d usually advise him to consult a physiotherapist or go for rehabilitation first. We do what’s in the client’s best interest: sometimes we may have to advise the client to stay away from training until the after rehab or after the injury as healed up.”

Radiance Physiofit is at #01-02 AXA Tower, 8 Shenton Way. Tel: 6822 1618

Have you every worked with a personal trainer? What was the experience like? Drop me a comment to let me know!

Material World was offered a complimentary three-month membership at Radiance Physiofit, as well as a 50% discount off personal training. Material World was not paid for this review and all opinions are the author’s own.

About the Author: Denise Li is a founder of Material World and a freelance writer-editor. Before that, she spent a few years in the Features section of CLEO and Cosmopolitan Singapore. She considers Chiang Mai her spiritual home and makes it a point to head there for a yearly pilgrimage. She’s also a fitness buff and enjoys boxing, running and the occasional yoga session. Follow her on Twitter @DeniseLiTweets.

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