Reasons why a personal trainer is worth the $$

I pay $65 an hour, twice a week, to have my ass kicked. Hard.

By the end of the hour, I’m usually miserable. Drenched with sweat, light-headed because all available oxygen in my blood is feeding my starving muscles, and pale because…well, yeah, no blood left to give my skin a nice glow.

I look and feel like shit.

For about 15 minutes.

My trainer serves several important functions in my neverending efforts to get thinner, harder, buffer and tauter. And while what he’s doing is not exactly rocket science, I’m comfortable shelling out money to plenty of people to render important services to me on a daily basis that don’t require a Ph.D.

Let’s run down the list:

1. I don’t like flushing money down the toilet – For a cheapskate like me, $65 is a commitment. Over the past 6 months I’ve been seeing my trainer, I’ve only flaked once, and only because I felt like a monkey was trying to claw its way out of my bowels (I think it was the hummus from lunch). At over a dollar a minute, you can bet my ass is there every session, on time. Without this sort of negative incentive, you can bet I’d come up with every excuse in the book to head home directly. After a couple of beers. And pizza.

2. My technique sucks – I don’t know about you, but I’m unable to achieve perfect form looking at the three 2″ tall pictures used to illustrate exercises in Men’s Health. I’m also unable, despite those wall-to-wall mirrors, to see myself from all angles while simultaneously straining to lift something and trying to not induce a hernia. My trainer pays attention to how I move throughout the exercise and corrects my form.

3. I can train to failure – Whenever I work out on my own, I’m afraid to push myself to failure, because I don’t want a barbell bisecting my neck or a precariously-held dumbbell plummeting towards my forehead. If you’ve trained with free weights, you know what I mean. My trainer allows me to train to failure without worrying I’m going to kill myself.

4. He puts together a full routine – I have yet to have the same routine twice. My trainer puts together a group of anywhere from 3-6 supersets, sometimes with cardio, sometimes not. It’s always a mixed bag which helps me not get bored. I couldn’t be bothered to come up with new routines week after week.

5. He makes me laugh – I usually don’t like talking to anyone while I work out. I like to do my thing, and get out. But most of the sets are so exhausting that I need a minute or two between them to catch my breath. We usually talk about movies, pets or plans for the weekend, but he has an excellent sense of humor and is smart, so talking to him isn’t something I dread. (I do usually dread having to make small talk. So uncomfortable. So pointless.)

6. He keeps me going when I’d rather give up mid-set – When someone’s cheering you on, you’re going to come closer to finishing the set. And even when I collapse under my own weight after doing my 60th pushup, he’ll wait about 2 seconds, and then yell, “Come on, animal! 5 more!” It works.

My twice-a-week trainer habit ends up costing me $520 a month. Is it worth it? Hell yeah. You can’t put a price on your own health and biceps and glutes you can actually feel. There are other places to save money, but this isn’t one of them.

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