If you are looking for guidance in your fitness journey, you may wonder how to find routines and meet your goals. Fitness apps and personal trainers are common suggestions, especially for someone just starting. I tested both, and I am here to share the results.
If you are looking for custom workouts and advice, train with a personal trainer. Personal trainers offer you workouts for your ability level. They can also recommend meal plans, calorie intake goals, and recovery-day workouts.
There are lots of other things that a trainer can do for you, and also times when a fitness app might be helpful. This post will outline why a trainer is better overall, but also when to use a fitness app.
The Benefits of a Trainer
Trainers are great for people who are either just starting and need a routine, or for people who have hit a plateau in their workout. They can also be great if you are weightlifting and need a spotter.
Trainers provide you with personalized workouts that match your goals and challenge your current abilities. They will evaluate your workouts, your weight and muscle mass, and your goals, and together you can create a plan. If you need to alter the plan because it is too easy or difficult your trainer can help you do that. Essentially, trainers will help you meet your goals in a safe and personal way.
When you go to your meetings with your trainer they will correct any poor form you have. Apps do not have the technology to correct your form in real-time. Working with a trainer means that your workouts will be safer and target the correct muscles because your form will be assisted by a real person in real-time. If you have a trainer, be sure to take their form adjustments seriously! Doing a workout without poor form may not do much for the muscles you are trying to target.
Most kinds of free weight lifting that do not use a machine should be done with a spotter. This someone who prevents the weight from falling and potentially hurting you! A trainer has many jobs, but they are there to train you on how to safely lift weights and be your spotter during weight lifting. They can also help you determine if the weight you are lifting may be too difficult or not challenging enough.
Depending on your goals, trainers will recommend times to go into a calorie deficit. Making those decisions without the help of a trained professional can damage your health, so having a trainer assisting you with a plan for caloric intake can also be very important.
When to Use a Fitness App
There are a couple of times when a fitness app could help you with your workouts:
- In conjunction with a personal trainer
- Maintaining a certain fitness level
- Tracking your steps and heart rate
- Workout ideas
One of the best times to use a fitness app is in conjunction with a personal trainer. You can use the app to track the workouts you did or the calories burned. It can act as a fitness diary that helps you and your trainer see what is working and what is not. You can even track your moods throughout the week to see if exercising has been improving. If you notice yourself getting too grumpy after workouts that can be a sign you are pushing yourself too hard.
Most fitness apps will track your heart rate and how many miles you have walked or run in a day. This can be made easier by a wearable fitness band that will stay on your body while you are working out. Having this information helps you ensure that your heart rate is rising with each workout. Fitness apps can also help you remember to get up and stretch or remember to do your workouts throughout the day.
A fitness app is also great if you are finished working with a personal trainer, you have a routine, and you are trying to maintain a certain fitness level. You can keep your goals and continue to use the workouts from your trainer, mixed with fitness app workouts.
You can also use a fitness app if you find that you need to diversify your workouts a bit. This can be while you are working out with or without a personal trainer. My favorite time to use an app is for recovery-day yoga and running suggestions. Keep in mind that most apps recommend generic workouts that may not be conscious of your level! They may recommend the wrong amount of weight or reps.
The Costs of a Fitness App vs a Trainer
A trainer can be significantly more expensive than an app on your phone. The average cost for a personal trainer is anywhere between 25 dollars to 50 dollars a session. Given that they have extensive benefits it is definitely worth it. Many apps require a small monthly fee or subscription, especially ones that offer workouts and tracking. This fee can be anywhere between 2 dollars to 15 dollars a month.
If you do decide to get a trainer, start with your gym! Many of them have trainers that are discounted for their members!
Eating and Dieting with a Trainer or App
Dieting without the advice of a trained official can be very harmful. If you are looking to enter a calorie deficit you can either find a trainer who is a registered dietitian or consult with one yourself. Some training places offer dietitian services for free or with an additional charge.
Taking dieting advice from an app may run into disordered eating or not enough intake for your body, putting you at risk for complications. I recommend tracking food and calories on an app if you are trying to enter a calorie deficit, or using apps to get recipe ideas for high-protein meals.
Contacting a Trainer
Start with your gym to find a trainer, or ask your friends about their trainer experiences. If you are looking for a trainer and some dietetic help, be sure to find a trainer in your area with dietitian services or a Registered Dietitian (RDN) themselves. Using a trainer can be a great experience!