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For many people, the thought of hiring a personal trainer seems like an unnecessary expense, but unless you are already heavily into your muscle building lifestyle a trainer may not be a bad idea.

There are many reasons that hiring a personal trainer can be beneficial and even cost effective. For starters, you can often get a free session when you sign up at a new gym. They’ll probably test your overall health and fitness level, and from there they will be able to help you establish a safe starting point to develop your training program.

A trainer can also help you with diet. You may be completely overwhelmed with all the seemingly conflicting diet plans that are on the market. For example paleo lovers avoid grains while many whole food lovers can’t get enough of them. Everyone is different just like every body is different. A trainer can sit down with you, discuss your dietary goals, and help you find the path that is right for you. Trainers can guide you and provide a level of expertise that you likely won’t be able to find on your own. They’ll help you design an effective eating plan that works for you, your body type, and your schedule.

Form is another big area where a trainer can help you. They will watch your workout and form carefully, and offer helpful advice so that you are actually working out in the safest way. A good trainer will know just how hard to push you and they will know when you can safely add more reps to a certain exercise. If you have an existing injury, a trainer will be able to offer alternative exercises so that you can still meet your muscle building goals without aggravating your injury.

A skilled trainer will be able to personalize an effective workout based on your age, strengths, weaknesses and goals. This is a critical part of both short and long term success. If a client sees results, they’ll be more likely to stick with the program.

Managing client expectations is also part of being an effective trainer. Many people want to look like a particular film star without taking into account their genetics, body type and age. A good trainer can focus on the body aspects that are most important to you and help you work toward them, while maintaining realistic expectations.

Boredom can be a major obstacle to long term success. But your workouts don’t have to be something that you just slug through. A good trainer will help you mix things up, get you engaged and help you find workouts that you love to do. They’ll keep you motivated and wanting to come back again and again.

Plateaus are another area where a trainer can help you. Plateaus are very common and can be extremely frustrating, especially when you have been giving your workouts everything that you have. A skilled trainer will know how you can best confuse your body to burst through those plateaus and meet your weight goals.

When you’re looking for a trainer, you’ll want to consider the following:

  • Is he/she certified?
  • Where did the certification come from?
  • Ask for references from past clients and from the gym.
  • Preferred methods of payment.
  • Is there a discount offered on packages of 5, 10 or more workouts?
  • What is their training philosophy?

Ask all the questions that you need to and make sure that you’re on the same page. If you don’t like him during the interview process, you’re not going to enjoy working out with him for the long term.

Remember, a trainer is like a teacher and you want to look for a ‘teacher’ who you can relate to. It may take you one or two tries before you find a trainer that works for you, but have patience. Once you find the person who is able to help you find your passion in your workouts you will be able to take your muscle building to new heights.