Our YMCA has a program called ActivTrax, (we can call him AT) which is a computer-generated workout, supposedly tailor-made for the individual, based on data entered as a baseline. I always found the weights to be too light, and I was forever upping the weights. Dear AT worried about this, and always asked me during data entry if I knew I had exceeded the recommended weight and was I aware that this would affect future workouts? I loved the idea of AT; the reality was another story.
I opted for ActivTrax (AT) because I know personal trainers are a whole lot more per hour than a free computer-generated printout. But, isn’t it the truth that you get what you pay for.
After AT and I parted ways, I checked into personal training at my Y, and was introduced to my trainer, James. I have worked with trainers before, so I have an idea of the reasons I like to work with actual trainers.
1. The camaraderie with my trainer. He notices if I do a great job on a set; he laughs with me; he shares a little about himself. I never did learn whether AT was single or in a relationship.
2. The ability of the trainer to adjust the workout to my energy today. He hears the energy in my voice, listens to my comments about the last few days, and can either ramp things up, or slightly tone things down to compensate for what he’s observing. AT basically was set in his ways and did NOT adjust.
3. The encouragement that a personal trainer gives. James celebrates when I keep my balance on a tough set of kettlebell toe raises while standing on the bosu ball. He gives me “style” points for form that goes a little above and beyond. He notices and affirms my physical strength. AT was all, “Just the facts, ma’am.”
4. The adherence that an appointment encourages. Old AT, he’d be there anytime, whether or not I showed up. James and I make a plan for a certain time, and I show up at that time. That kind of accountability is great in a fitness situation.
5. The knowledge that a trainer has. The computer can show you a video on how to do a bicep curl, but a trainer actually helps you make adjustments in your technique, which enhances the effectiveness of the exercises.
6. The taking me beyond where I think I can go. “10 more seconds!” “You can do it!” “You’re almost there!” Those kind of comments keep my focus on the goal, on the success, and off of the tiredness and fatigue. AT was always conspicuously silent.
7. The value I believe I receive when I pay for this service and see the results which come from sticking with it. Things cost money. We pay for things we value.