Personal trainers are not just for the rich and famous or professional athletes, although they often make good use of their services. Plenty of ordinary men and women tap into this valuable resource of knowledge on fitness, exercise and nutrition too.

Whether you are just starting your journey to fitness and looking for advice and direction, ‘stuck’ and in need of some help to get moving again, or wanting ideas on how to regain strength after an injury or operation, a personal trainer can help.

As you are paying to access this service it is important you get maximum benefit. In no particular order here are nine ways working with a personal trainer (PT) could benefit you and your training regime.

#1 Help with goal setting

Some people have a clear goal in mind, perhaps to lose weight, train to run a road race, develop a 6-pack, or tone up a particular part of their body, while others are less sure of their motivation. During your first session a PT will help you to identify realistic goals if you need direction, and draw up a realistic action plan to get you there in clear, manageable stages.

Without targets to achieve it’s easy to get stuck making broad statements like ‘I want to feel fitter’, then feel disheartened as there is no obvious way to measure progress and achievements. Further down the line seeing your mini-goals checked or struck through is a huge motivator to continue.

#2 Specialist knowledge

PTs have expert knowledge about how the body works, and which particular area or muscle sets to focus on to achieve particular goals. Tapping into this information makes it easier to reach targets faster, which is of course the point, right?

‘I thought I had my workout routine spot on until I tried a session with the gym’s personal trainer. Six months of hard work trying to shift my post-baby belly and it turns out I was using the wrong machine all along!’ [Lucy, 25]

#3 Personalized advice

Your personal trainer does more than identify the best exercise program, they also supervise your training to make sure you are doing things properly, to avoid injury. Another bonus is having someone on hand who knows when to ramp it up or switch routines to keep you on track. That’s invaluable as it’s easy to get into a comfortable routine and maintain that, regardless.

#4 Accountability

There’s a reason people join slimming clubs, running groups or book circles – that commitment to attend adds an extra dimension to motivation, and working with a PT is no different. You set goals together and they work hard to plan and implement routines and exercises especially for you.

#5 Motivation

Training with someone else in person adds a competitive edge to exercise that some find motivating, while remote communication such as text messages can provide the prod you need to get or keep going on any given day. PTs are also good at reminding you of what you have achieved when you feel like progress is slower than you’d like.

#6 Nutritional guidance/meal planning

The ideal diet differs depend on what you are aiming for, so building bulk or muscle means eating different things to someone wanting to shed weight. Having a PT to guide you through the basics of healthy eating to meet your specific goals is better than relying on fad diets which punish your body.

‘I thought I was doing okay on a low sugar diet until my trainer pointed out the levels in things like low fat yogurt. I had no idea and had been eating them freely for months.’ [Mike, 55]

#7 Reduces boredom

Most of us are creatures of habit. We wear the same clothes week in and week out, gravitate towards the same limited range of food and naturally prioritize particular exercises and activities. A PT challenges you to keep pushing and you try things that may well be out of your immediate comfort zone.

#8 Cheerleader and sounding board

Isn’t it the best feeling when you discover an amazing new health food, reach a fitness goal, lose those stubborn kilos or chop centimeters from your measurements? It’s natural to want to shout your news from the rooftops, but sometimes it feels awkward to keep telling your family and friends about your achievements.

Same goes for the days you feel it’ all pointless and too hard to bother with. There’s always at least one ‘helpful’ friend willing to help you stray from your healthy lifestyle goal. When you want to show off or get support your personal trainer can provide the listening ear you need.

#9 Efficiency

‘I was exercising six times a week but still struggled to tone up and gain muscle. I wasn’t convinced that an online personal trainer could really help but gave it a go anyhow, and it really made a difference. I felt more motivated sure, but I also learned how to tweak my exercise schedule to get more out of it. I plan to keep the sessions going and see what I can achieve at the next level.’ [Junior, 40]

Getting results faster than you can when training alone is a major benefit of hiring a personal trainer. Whether you meet 1-1 or your relationship is based entirely online is really just a matter of personal preference and your schedule.

Hiring a personal trainer isn’t something that would suit everyone, but it is really worthwhile giving it a try either for the short term while you learn how to train smarter, or the long haul, when you are ready and able to commit to improving your health.