How Often Should I Train wih a Personal Trainer
by Ralph Klisiewicz, Certified Chicago personal trainer and muscle activation technique specialist
One of a most common questions I get asked is “How often should I see a personal trainer?” There is no simple answer to this question. Some clients can see real benefit from seeing a trainer once a week, while other clients need to see a trainer multiple times during the week in order to see the results they are expecting.
Once a week training
I really enjoy training clients that choose to see me only once a week because they are often highly motivated to workout. The reality is that training once a week will rarely yield the desired results. However, those that want to train with a personal trainer once a week do realize that they will also have to do work on their own. Hence, they mainly hire a personal trainer in order to have a structured workout plan.
The once a week client reviews a plan with a trainer that is later incorporated into the workout he does on his own. The role of the personal trainer is to ensure that the client is strategically progressed. The client receives feedback during his session on his progress. The trainer can then make adjustments during the session that will be carried over to when the client exercises on his own.
Although the once a week client does not need to be motivated through every workout session, they do still get a little extra push by seeing a personal trainer once a week. Seeing a trainer once a week ensures accountability. The client has a professional to whom they have to report to. The trainer, on the other hand, has the responsibility to make sure the client stays on a course with his exercise program.
Twice a week
This is the most popular frequency at which a client sees a personal trainer. Many clients feel like they need specific guidance when they are doing strength exercises. Many exercises can be difficult to perform when feedback is not provided. The exercise machines can also be intimidating. Lastly, putting all exercises into a logical order takes knowledge and experience.
Therefore, a client who sees a personal trainer at this frequency usually focuses on strength training during the session. Often, a personal trainer may focus on lower body exercises in one session and then train upper body on another day. However, that kind of split isn’t always the case. In fact, some of my clients perform full body workouts on both days. The exercises do change from session to session, and one session might focus on more dynamic exercises and the other session on more slow controlled exercises for balance and stability.
As the “twice a week” clients work with a trainer on strength exercises, these clients are still responsible to do at least 2 hours a week of cardiovascular exercises. Working only twice a week with a trainer and doing nothing in addition to that will unlikely produce the results that one wants..
Three or more times a week
There are some clients who feel they need to be under a guidance of a personal trainer every time they exercise. Several of my clients have suffered from aches or even injuries when they have made an attempt to exercise on their own. Therefore, they find exercising safe only when they are working with a professional. For instance, my specialty is mechanics, so I perform a very thorough assessment to understand the limitations of my client. I am also certified in Muscle activation Techniques™, so I can resolve many mechanical issues that hinder optimal performance when exercising. When I design an exercise program for these clients, I make sure I stay within safe parameters so that the potential for injury is reduced.
Another group of clients who do choose to train with a trainer 3 times or more a week are those who demand efficiency when they exercise. These clients tend to be very busy so they do not want to waste time. They simply want to maximize their time in the gym. A “three time” a week frequency, in such situations, allows for some flexibility when designing a workout plan. Most often strengthening and cardiovascular modalities are combined. For example, a client might do cardiovascular based exercises for 20 minutes during each workout. Another option is to do two strengthening workouts and one cardiovascular workout in the same week.
How often one needs to see a personal trainer differs from client to client. In fact, the frequency does not always ensure better results. I often explain to my clients that what is more important than frequency is consistency. Some people simply cannot afford a personal trainer three times a week. It is a far better investment, for example, to train once a week for a longer duration than to train multiple times a week for a brief time in order to quickly gain the wanted results.