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Why I Invested in a Personal Trainer

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My first memory of working out was when I was about 6 years old. Mousercise was a show that came on Disney Channel at 7 a.m. to encourage kids to start exercising at an early age. Replace Richard Simmons with Mickey Mouse and you get Mousercise.

I wanted to know what all the fuss was about, so I grabbed a towel, a sweatband, and told my family not to come into the basement for a while. Mickey introduced his fellow workout pals and we got started with a warm-up, some jumping jacks, and other things I don’t really remember because after about five minutes, I said, “This sucks.” I turned off the tv and went back to bed.

Since then, I’ve been really good at sleeping and really bad at exercising. That is, until my dad had his first heart attack.

I was about 25 when I got the call that he was in the hospital. He had survived a heart attack, and the doctors were performing emergency surgery. I don’t know how much my dad weighed, but it was a wake-up call for me. If I didn’t integrate more physical fitness into my life, I’d suffer the same fate — or worse.

I diligently started on my exercise journey. Class Pass replaced Mousercise, and I tried everything. I liked the energy that came from barre, hot yoga, and boxing. I started working out three to five times a week, and as I saw the positive results, I was pleased to make time for it.

When everything shut down during the pandemic, I was worried. I didn’t have the kind of fitness equipment I needed in my home, and virtual classes were too easy to shut off after a few minutes. I lost my motivation and the weight came back quickly. 

Eventually, I moved to Serbia, where sports, physical fitness, and athleticism are held in very high regard. It’s hard to find a Serb who doesn’t work out or train athletes on the side. If you’re Serbian, it seems you basically come out of the womb doing dead-lifts. 

I felt intimidated by the workout scene in Belgrade. Most gyms were stuffy and smelled like sweat and rubber, and the fitness routines were hard core, beyond CrossFit and HIIT and whatever else people do that honestly looks like pure torture.

Working with someone on specific goals rather than doing the same things as everyone else in a group fitness class makes more sense to me. After all, not everyone is built the same way, so why would we all do the same workout?

Then I found a gorgeous fitness studio that was all peach and lavender and gray, with a sweet little sitting area. I could tell the owner, Alex, had put a lot of effort and consideration into the space. The exercise mats and resistance bands were color-coordinated, and she even had towels embroidered with the studio’s logo. She had candles that made the space smell like a spa, and there was always a cold pitcher of fruit water waiting at the front for guests when they arrived.

Most importantly, each session was one-on-one. It made me feel less intimidated and more confident to go at my own pace instead of pushing myself unnecessarily because I thought others would be watching and judging me. 

Alex doesn’t make me do burpees, which I appreciate. We otherwise work on everything together. I lift weights, do Pilates, and use medicine balls and machine equipment. I’d never seen results from doing these things before because I wasn’t using the equipment correctly. 

Personal trainers are expensive but worth it for me. Working with someone on specific goals rather than doing the same things as everyone else in a group fitness class makes more sense to me. After all, not everyone is built the same way, so why would we all do the same workout?

I need someone to tell me what to do, to show me how to move, and to reposition me so I don’t get hurt. Alex listens to my concerns and creates a customized plan for each session. For one hour three times a week, we work on my health and fitness together. I leave with a full-body workout that has provided the best results I’ve ever had.

Plus, the stretching at the end. Everyone should know the satisfaction of having your muscles properly stretched to prevent injuries and soreness. It’s amazing.

At first, I invested in a personal trainer because I wanted to lose weight quickly. Now I know there are benefits beyond just weight loss: My posture is better, my respiratory system is clearer, and I feel physically and mentally stronger. I never got that when I was working out by myself at the gym or when I was trying to keep up with more advanced athletes in group classes.

In the end, sparing the expense for a personal trainer was totally worth it for me. 

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