Benefits of having a trainer

HARARE - Never enter the training world alone, misdirected or without knowledge of what to do.

It can only lead to poor choices and as such lead to injuries and years of wasted efforts.

Too often, people invest their financial resources, time and energy into programmes and exercises that are not for them at that particular time. It is disheartening to see people trying so hard whilst working on the wrong stuff.

It is at this stage that a lot of gym goers will drop out and either take a long while to return to training.

Both research and the industry (health, rehab, fitness and sports) have proven that working with a trainer (strength coach, personal trainer or sports coach) has numerous benefits.

Here are 10 reasons to work with a trainer:

1. Goal setting — Trainers should always understand your reason for training. If you have a reason then along with your crainer you can set appropriate and achievable goals.

Trainers develop programmes through goal-setting and this is the foundation for the overall training plan, the big picture....the map for success.

2. Appropriate programming — Trainers are there to design your programmes based on your goals and your test results (Functional Movement Screens, Anthropometric Tests and Fitness Tests).

An appropriate blend of science-based programming and feel will create a programme that is your blue print for success as well as being a working document that can be adjusted and tweaked when necessary along the way to stimulate the desired training responses. ?3. Continued guidance — Trainers are your immediate support base, they are there to guide you every step of the way and ensure you keep moving forward efficiently.

4. Injury reduction — I am hesitant to say injury prevention simply because we are all at some stage susceptible to some form of injury regardless of how cautious we are. Appropriate programming and guidance by your trainer will create a safer environment for you.

As a strength coach my number one rule is ‘‘first do no harm’’ — minimise the risk of injury.

Good trainers utilise the results of the functional movement screen to develop prehab based exercises that are instilled into your programme to help strengthen areas that are more susceptible to injury than others.

5. Motivation — Trainers should develop a healthy partnership with you, and the biggest focus of this partnership should centre around trust and motivation.

They should inspire you to train, and motivate you to achieve your goals.

6. Learn more — Learn all you can from your trainer, they are a wealth of knowledge.

The more you understand about the programme and what you are doing the more you will invest in it...the outcome can only be successful. With regards to learning the most important thing is that of technique. Learn it well to become more efficient.

7. Variety — An experienced trainer will teach you a variety of exercise methods, which will not only keep you from getting bored but allow for appropriate levels of progression.

Also, if a specific exercise does not work for you, your trainer can change it to one that suits you better yet provides the same benefits.
Trainers also help you to make adjustments as your fitness level improves to ensure continued progress.

8. Efficiency — Too often people will waste time in their training sessions.
Trainers are there to maximise efficiency and help you stick to the plan.

9. Sports specific training — If you are an athlete (recreational or competitive) then your trainer (strength coach) will help you become appropriately conditioned for your sport.
Trainers have studied movement patterns and as a result they know the best exercises and combinations to help you develop your required components of fitness (strength, endurance, speed, power, agility and flexibility) for your sport.

10. Results — Working with a trainer will allow you to achieve results that you cannot achieve on your own.

Each person’s goals are different. Whether it be weight loss, or injury rehab, your trainer should develop goals and programmes that will lead you down a path to success.

Always do a background check on your trainer before embarking on a journey with them. Make sure they are appropriately qualified and have the required means to help you reach your goals.

* Ex-Zimbabwe rugby international Grant Mitchell is High Performance Director at Innovate High Performance Centre in Harare and a top strength and conditioning coach.

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