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How Often to See a Personal Trainer

How Often to See a Personal Trainer

As a personal training course provider, one of the most frequently asked questions we receive is ‘how often should you see a personal trainer?’. 

While for some establishing the perfect balance for their workout routine, lifestyle and rest is easily done, for people who are new to the fitness world determining an appropriate training schedule can be a somewhat challenging process.

At OriGym, we are here to provide you with insider knowledge and the answers you need to establish the perfect balance and understand how often to see a personal trainer. 

In order to achieve this, the article will tackle the following topics:

But before we begin, if you are someone who has a passion for the fitness industry and wants to share this with others, why not enquire about our Level 3 Personal Training Diploma. Once you have graduated you will be armed with the knowledge and skills needed to immediately start your career. 

Alternatively, you can download our FREE course prospectus for more information relating to all OriGym diplomas and certificates. 

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Why Hire a Personal Trainer?

Before we even begin to tackle the question of ‘how often should I see a personal trainer?’, at OriGym we have deemed it worthwhile to discuss the reasoning behind hiring a personal trainer to begin with. 

In order to tackle this topic head-on, we must acknowledge that there is not one sole reason as to why people look to personal trainers for assistance in their exercise progress. Instead, there are a whole host of reasons as to why someone may want to employ a PT. 

Every athlete whether they’re a newbie or an expert will have different reasons behind their choice. Here at OriGym we have compiled a shortlist of reasons to hire a personal trainer.

#1 - You’re Working Out for the First Time

When you are just starting a fitness journey exercising can be intimidating, determining what exercises to do is just one of your worries, you also have to determine when to workout, and how long to work out for. 

Internet articles related to health and fitness may help shed light on certain topics, but for certain fitness novices, understanding industry-specific terminology and demonstrations may pose yet another challenge. 

We must stress that if you are a beginner never try to do anything you’re unsure of, something as simple as the wrong form or incorrect grip could lead to potential injuries. 

If you find yourself identifying with this category of individuals, hiring a personal trainer will greatly benefit your fitness practice. Not only will your personal trainer be able to impart guidance on areas of confusion, but they will be on hand to ensure that you never accidentally injure yourself. 

#2 - You’re Training For Your First Competitive Event 

Regardless of whether you’re running a marathon or competing in a weightlifting competition, for your first competitive event a personal trainer can be incredibly valuable. 

Once you have figured out how often to see a personal trainer, you can work together to understand your limits and set out a plan for your predetermined goals. 

Please note, that when signing up for a competition you may want to hire a personal trainer who has specialised knowledge within said area. For example, if you’re entering a weightlifting competition, look for a trainer with qualifications such as a CPD in Strength and Conditioning

#3 - You’ve Stopped Seeing The Results of Your Workouts 

Determining how often to see a personal trainer may depend on the effectiveness of your own workouts. 

If you have good form and a drive to succeed but are no longer able to see or feel the results within your own body, you should consider hiring a trainer in order to assess any areas you may be missing. 

Exercising repeatedly using the same techniques and timings will only get you far, in order to achieve your fitness goals your workout routine may require a shake-up. By hiring a personal trainer you will be able to work together in order to produce a new routine that will allow you to achieve your desired results.

 

#4 - You’re a Trained Athlete 

Much like everybody else, trained athletes will also require personal training, even when they’re not actively training for, or competing in their chosen sport. 

If you fall under this category, working with a personal trainer will allow you to continue building strength and endurance, even during periods that would otherwise be classified as times of rest.

Furthermore, personal trainers will help athletes perfect their form and practice. This will ensure that they won’t injure themselves and miss out on playing their sport of choice for prolonged periods of time. 

How Often To See a Personal Trainer Based on Skill Level

How often you see a personal trainer may be influenced by your current fitness skill level. It’s unrealistic to expect everyone to have the same skill set, therefore personal trainers will take this factor into consideration when crafting a personalised workout schedule. 

Using our insider knowledge, OriGym will share a recommended plan for how often someone of your skill level should see a personal trainer.

 Beginner 

When exercising as a beginner, it's easy to become bogged down by constantly questioning how often should you see a personal trainer. At OriGym, we strongly recommend seeing a personal trainer as much as possible during these early stages. 

Ideally, during this stage you should be meeting with a personal trainer 2-3 times a week, for a total period of 6 weeks. This timeframe will allow the trainer to assess your skill level, and correct any basic mistakes you may be making whilst exercising, within areas such as form or footing.

Since muscle memory is so powerful, the last thing you want is to fall into bad habits, with mistakes such as improper form. Said habits will be so hard to break, and may even result in potential injuries and reduced results. 

A personal trainer has your best interest at heart, and they will be on hand to educate you on ways in which you can avoid these mistakes, all whilst teaching you methods to improve in every area of fitness.

Within these sessions, your trainer will also impart homework of sorts, which will encourage you to exercise on days where you’re not together. Try to think of these days as unofficial sessions, whilst you may not be working out together you’ll still be working towards your personalised fitness goals. 

Naturally, these personalised goals will vary from person to person and in order to tailor a fitness plan to your needs, your trainer will require detailed information. For examples of what kind of information is required please click here to read OriGym’s article on What A Personal Trainer Needs to Know

This type of regular training also reduces any nagging thoughts of doubt, whilst providing the motivation needed to take yourself to the gym. With regular personal training sessions, beginners can also discuss areas in which they’re struggling, be they physically or mentally, and the trainer will provide advice best suited for their specific situation. 

After these 6 weeks have passed, you can meet with your trainer in order to adjust your training schedule. Once you have gotten a feel for the length and regularity of these sessions, you may choose to increase or decrease the amount of times you see each other. 

Additionally, your decision on how often to see a personal trainer may also be influenced by your goals. As a beginner, you may start off these six weeks wanting to run 5k, but once this has been achieved over the course of the training your goals may shift, and naturally so will your training schedule. 

Intermediate

For those who have more exercise experience, deciding how often to see a personal trainer is somewhat more difficult. This is due to the fact that you won’t necessarily need as much basic training as beginners, but will still require guidance in specific areas, in order to progress on your fitness journey. 

These sessions will be centered around teaching you new techniques, which will help you achieve your overall fitness goals. At OriGym we would recommend scheduling these sessions 1-2 times a week, for a total of 6 weeks. 

Typically, athletes who are of intermediate skill level hire a personal trainer when they have stopped seeing the results of their own training. However, before acquiring a trainer and setting up these sessions, we would strongly advise you to have a better understanding of your overall goals prior to the hiring. 

By having an understanding of the results you wish to achieve, you will be able to hire a trainer who specialises within said area. For example, if you want a trainer who can give you both fitness and dietary advice, then you should seek out a professional who is qualified with a Level 4 Sports Nutrition certification

By the end of the six weeks you should be able to see your desired results, at which point it will fall to you to decide what steps to take next. You can either take the advice and techniques learned during your training sessions and apply them to your personal training alone, or you can increase the number of sessions you have per week with the trainer. 

Regardless of what you decide, you will now be equipped with the knowledge needed to take your fitness skills to the next level. 

Fitness Expert

Many wrongly assume that the answer to the question ‘how often should you see a personal trainer?’, is greatly influenced by your fitness level. Whilst this is somewhat true, it is incorrect to believe that all expertly/professionally trained athletes require fewer sessions than regular fitness enthusiasts.

On the contrary, most professional athletes see their personal trainers as frequently as possible, with some arranging workouts for a total of 4-5 times per week. These frequent sessions will result in a balanced physique and better technique that will result in fewer sports-related injuries. 

At OriGym, we strongly advise focusing on both dominant and non-dominant muscles during these training sessions. If you are a professional athlete your off-season should be a time where you maintain your overall fitness levels, rather than just focusing on sports-specific workouts. 

Having a professional trainer at your side during these workouts will also help to keep you motivated. The last thing you want to do is become complacent with your current fitness level, always strive to build upon your personal best and constantly increase your current skills.

Unlike the other two categories to appear within this section, professional athletes may have a personal trainer year-round, and thus won’t require an assessment period following 6 weeks. Typically, these trainers should work with you year-round, constantly assessing your progress and adapting your goals to fit your skillset. 

However, not everyone of this skill level can be regarded as ‘professional athletes’ and if you don’t have the money or time to meet with a trainer as frequently as 4-5 times per week, meeting them 1-2 times will be just as effective for experts.

Regardless of how frequently you meet, your sessions with trainers should always center around maintaining and furthering your fitness levels. Be prepared to put in the hard work and we guarantee you will see the results. 

Whatsmore, if you’re an athlete of this skill level you will want the best personal trainer available, who knows even more than you. However, separating the good from the pack can be challenging at times, at OriGym we have your back on this topic, as our article on what makes a good personal trainer imparts 12 qualities that you should be on the lookout for

How Often Should You See a Personal Trainer in Order to Achieve Set Goals?

Your skill level isn’t the only factor that may determine how often you should see a personal trainer. Your pre-determined goals can also influence how often you should see a trainer, within this section we will run through a few basic goals that athletes of all skills may have. 

On average, the time frame in which you aim to achieve your goals can act as the main influence on how often you see a personal trainer. 

If you have short term goals, such as wanting to achieve something within a 2-3 month time frame, you should meet with a personal trainer more frequently. This allows you to achieve your goal at a fast and effective pace, think of this like a tight deadline that you need to reach. 

Whereas if you have a long term goal in mind, you can spread your training sessions more thinly. This type of training is put in place in order to maintain a sense of consistency in your workouts, ensuring that you are gradually working towards your end goal. 

If you’re questioning ‘how often should I see a personal trainer to reach these goals?’, OriGym would recommend the following time frame:

  • Short Term Goals = 2-3 Times a Week
  • Long Term Goals = 1-2 Times a Week 

We have used our expert industry knowledge to select a few frequently occurring goals, to discuss in depth. This has been done to provide you with a recommendation for how often you should see a personal trainer in order to meet said goals. 

But before we share these recommendations, please remember that OriGym has crafted this as a basic overview, your goals will always be specific to your skill level so never feel too disheartened if you take slightly longer to reach your targets.

#1 - Training for Weight/Fat Loss 

When training for weight and calorie loss you should be working out at least 5 times every week. This should specifically include strength training at least two times per week, said training is known to increase the body's metabolic rate by 10%, a benefit that will help to remodel the body to your desired goal.

For more information relating to how weight training can benefit your body, check out our article on the subject. 

The other days should be spent focusing primarily on cardiovascular exercise, this kind of routine can be somewhat strenuous on the body, so try not to burn out by pushing yourself too hard. To avoid this we would recommend breaking up both cardio and strength training on a daily basis, for example, Monday and Wednesday could be dedicated to strength whilst Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday could be dedicated to cardio.

This can be a grueling workout routine, but working through it with a personal trainer for 2-4 times per week can be greatly effective. Not only will you have physical support, but the trainers will also ensure you have emotional guidance and stay motivated in pursuit of your goal weight. 

If you have struggled with your weight continuously throughout your life, you may want the guidance of an expert within the field in which case you should hire someone with a Level 4 Obesity & Weight Management qualification

 

#2 - Gaining Lean Muscle 

Many athletes wrongly assume that in order to gain muscle mass you have to constantly hit the weights. Whilst engaging with weight training will have initial benefits, eventually it will only help to maintain muscle mass rather than develop it, in order to do this you will also have to elongate your muscles. 

As you may expect, maintaining muscle mass is far easier than elongating the ones you have already built. This will require a major overhaul of your current exercise regime, as such we advise that you approach this goal with a long term mindset, rather than looking for an immediate fix. 

In order to elongate your muscles, you will need to incorporate practices such as yoga and pilates into your routine. If you are someone who shares this goal, a personal trainer will help you to engage with both yoga and pilates, by incorporating it into your strength training regime.

By doing this you will not only be strengthening your already developed muscles, but you will also be elongating them too. Working with a personal trainer over the course of several months will help you to achieve this long term goal, in a way that is most beneficial to your body. 

If you’d like to learn more about how to incorporate yoga into strength training, this OriGym article on the benefits of power yoga is a must-read

#3 - Training for an Event

When training for an event such as a marathon building your stamina, strength and flexibility is crucial. Whilst this may seem like a long term goal, working out with a trainer closer to the date of said event will improve your focus and motivation to a greater extent. 

Please be aware that your trainer may recommend a different amount of training sessions, depending on your current fitness level and how close the event is. 

Using the previous example of training for a marathon, your trainer may recommend a month of intensive training prior to the event. This may consist of three days of cardio and two days of strength training at the gym.

The article ‘How to Train for a Marathon’ by OriGym, is a useful resource for all first time runners, containing plenty of information on what you can expect to encounter during your training and initial race. 

Whilst we have advised setting short term goals in order to motivate yourself prior to the event, setting long term goals can also be beneficial here. Remember, everyone is different and if you feel as though tackling an event will take longer for you to achieve, then set your goal accordingly.

When setting goals there is no one size fits all, you are in control of determining how often to see a personal trainer, so adapt the frequency of said meetings to fit your goals. 

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Other Factors Which Influence How Often You Should See a PT 

Sometimes asking ‘how often should I see a personal trainer?’ can be influenced by external factors, which can be hard to control. We have compiled a list of other factors that may influence the amount of time you spend with your trainer. 

#1 - Financial Situation

How often you see a personal trainer may be influenced by the amount of money you have. Whilst you may have developed a strong bond over the course of training, your PT still needs to be paid, and under no circumstances should you expect them to work for free. 

Unfortunately, if you cannot afford to keep up with a personal trainer’s fees you may have to begin cutting down your sessions. 

Discussing money isn’t an enjoyable subject for anyone, but it’s so important to keep your trainer updated on your financial status. Be upfront and honest with them about what you can afford, even if that means tweaking a specific month’s schedule whilst you wait for pay-day. 

By knowing how many sessions you can afford every month, your trainer will be able to craft a schedule and plan that will benefit you and your lifestyle.

At OriGym we would strongly recommend doing your own research prior to hiring a personal trainer. By conducting this research, you should be able to find a trainer who is well within your price range and specialises in an area you’re interested in, such as exercising with music

If you can’t afford one-to-one personal training at a gym, online personal training may be better for you, as it is significantly more cost-effective. For more information on how online personal training benefits your body and mind, why not check out our article on the subject

#2 - Motivation Levels 

The decision of how often to see a personal trainer isn’t always easy, however, it can be made even tougher if your motivation does not match your ambition. It’s easy to set goals, however, it’s not as easy to meet them, for that you need to put in the work.

If you have been training on your own for several months or years, you may find yourself becoming bored of your monotonous workout routine. However, a personal trainer can revitalise your love for the gym and fill your workout routines with a new motivational drive.

Having a personal trainer will also encourage you to go to the gym, making you less likely to blow off training in favour of just sitting on the couch. 

When it comes to scheduling personal trainer sessions we’d recommend using your own judgment here. If you require more motivation to visit the gym, then you should arrange to meet your trainer more frequently.

Meeting with a personal trainer can do wonders for your motivational levels, as they stay up to date with all the latest fitness crazes. Never again will your workout routines become boring, with this revitalised plan. 

#3 - Confidence Levels

Another factor that may influence how often you see your personal trainer, is your own confidence inside the gym itself. 

When you first start visiting the gym it’s easy to become overwhelmed, so much so that you may avoid certain machines or exercises, because it simply looks too intimidating. To avoid this issue from arising, many beginners find that integrating a personal training session into their regular gym visit boosts their confidence levels. 

At OriGym, we would encourage you to work with your trainer in areas you wouldn’t otherwise feel comfortable approaching alone. For example, if you have struggled with confidence in weightlifting, use the time with your trainer to focus in this area, this, in turn, will make the weight machine less intimidating when you’re alone.

Try not to waste your time and money, using a personal trainer for areas in which you’re already confident in. Whilst gaining some general advice in these areas may help your form, it will do little to nothing for improving your overall confidence in the gym.

One way in which a personal trainer encourages you to act more confidently is through attainable goals. By setting small frequent goals you’ll be able to achieve more in a shorter frame time, which in turn will see your confidence levels soar.

If going to the gym alone paralyses you with fear, naturally we would recommend meeting with your trainer more frequently. However, if you simply need help within one specific area, you can stick to the recommended 2-3 times a week. 

Whilst all three of the examples provided within this section are not bodily attributes, they can still influence how often you will see a personal trainer. This section was used to highlight that so much more than your physical fitness is taken into consideration, signing up to a personal trainer is a big commitment and you need to be prepared in every aspect of your life. 

Factors Which A Personal Trainer Takes Into Account Before Assigning a Schedule

‘How often should I see a personal trainer?’, is somewhat of a one-sided question, which fails to take into account how often a personal trainer chooses to see you. Remember, this is a two-sided relationship, you cannot simply dictate your wants and expect the trainer to obey, they have a say in your schedule too.

Using our insider knowledge, we have crafted the following section to share factors that personal trainers take into account before creating an estimated schedule for their clients.

#1 - Your Lifestyle and Health 

Before actually beginning training sessions, any decent personal trainer will conduct an initial consultation. These may be free or included in a bill, and pricing will always vary from trainer to trainer.

Consider this consultation to be an informal meeting, where you will share information relating to your health and fitness. 

Be sure to provide the trainer with the following information, in order for them to determine if they wish to work with you and for how long:

  • Your Short and Long Term Fitness Goals
  • A Brief Description of Your Current Fitness Regime 
  • Medical History 
  • Dietary and Nutritional Habits  
  • Your Weekly Schedule 
  • Any Other Lifestyle Information That You Deem Worthy 

Use this time to share as much information as possible, this will give the potential trainer an immediate indication of how often your sessions should be. 

#2 - Muscle Flexibility & Range of Movement 

In order to determine how often to see a personal trainer, both a movement and flexibility test will be conducted upon your initial consultation. 

This test will provide the trainer with information relating to your current range of motion, indicating what muscles need to be stretched and why. It’s vital that your personal trainer knows your flexibility levels, as it helps them to create an appropriate training regime. 

A flexibility test will also provide your trainer with indications on how they can prevent injuries. Said injuries will be counterproductive to your goals and theirs, so be sure to give it the test you're all, in order for said trainer to get the most accurate insight into your abilities.  

Following this, they will likely ask you to take part in a movement test. This consists of your potential personal trainer asking you to perform basic exercises, such as squats, push-ups, sit-ups and lunges, which is conducted in order to better understand your current skill level. 

#3 - Your Capacities

Any trainer who has achieved a Level 3 Personal Trainer qualification will understand the importance of figuring out your clients’ capacities. OriGym strongly advises all trainers to assess their clients capabilities, prior to signing them up for regular sessions. 

The following areas, in particular, should be paid close attention to:

  • Weight Capacity
  • Set Capacity  
  • Rep Capacity

Clients should be truthful with both themselves and their potential trainers with this matter. Only do what you are comfortable with, and never push yourself too far beyond your own capabilities.

Your personal trainer can always improve your skills with regular meetings, but they must first see an honest depiction of your current skill set, in order to determine what will be the most effective training program. 

Whatsmore, it’s important to represent your capabilities accurately during this section of your consultation, as it also allows trainers to create an accurate rest-period schedule. For example, if you are brand new to fitness your body is going to need more rest than physical experts. 

Once the consultation has been completed, you will be provided with a better understanding of how often to see a personal trainer. Your potential trainer will then offer you a recommended schedule, detailing a plan that they feel will most benefit you and your current fitness level. 

Be sure to work with your trainer in order to make any adjustments that you feel are necessary,  remember both parties should agree upon a schedule prior to officially commencing. 

FAQs

Can I Message My Personal Trainer Outside of Training Hours?

How often you see a personal trainer in person may have limitations, however, that doesn’t mean that you can’t reach out to them for advice and guidance on your phone. 

Typically, prior to signing up for training your PT will make their communications options available to you. Please be aware that everyone has their own approach to teaching, including when you can and cannot communicate with them.

Some trainers may only respond to you during their working hours, in which case you may need to wait for a response. Whereas other trainers may make themselves available to you whenever you require it. 

How Long Should I Have a Personal Trainer For?

This question is slightly different to ‘how often should I see a personal trainer?’. How long you should have a PT refers to the period in which you no longer deem it necessary to have their assistance. 

Much like the frequency of training varies from person to person, so too does the length of your time with your personal trainer. As previously mentioned within this article, some athletes only choose to work with a PT in order to achieve short term goals, while others may choose to stay longer in order to reach long term goals.

This is one example of how different individuals require personal training for different lengths of time. If you’d like to learn more about this subject, our article ‘How Long Should You Have a Personal Trainer?’, will provide further insight relating to the importance of working with a trainer for the appropriate length of time. 

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Before You Go! 

At OriGym we hope that this article has helped to answer the question surrounding how often to see a personal trainer. Naturally, all of this information varies from person to person, so you should always take your own fitness and skills into consideration when creating a workout plan.

Remember to constantly communicate with your trainer, by keeping them up to date with both your physical and emotional capabilities, they will be able to adapt your training to suit your current limitations.

If you want to work within the fitness industry on a professional level please enquire about our Level 3 Personal Training Diploma. Once you have graduated you will be armed with the knowledge and skills needed to immediately start your career. 

Alternatively, you can download our FREE course prospectus for more information relating to all OriGym diplomas and certificates. 

Resources

  • Kyle J Hackney et al. (2008) Resting energy expenditure and delayed-onset muscle soreness after full-body resistance training with an eccentric concentration. The National Library of Medicine. 

Written by James Bickerstaff

Content Writer & Fitness Enthusiast

James holds a BA (Hons) in Creative Writing and Film Studies and has recently gained a MA degree in Film, both of which he attained from Liverpool John Moores University. After taking up the couch to 5K challenge on a whim, James found a new passion for running, which he combines with his love for healthy cooking and writing. All of this led him to becoming a copywriter for OriGym.  

When he is not writing content for the site, James can be found researching new recipes, writing music reviews, reading and watching latest film releases.   

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