Is a personal trainer worth it? My experience at NYSC.

Back in the day when you joined a gym, they'd throw in a few personal training sessions with your new membership. It was supposed to wet your appetite for personal training and help you ease into your new gym-life.

Every trainer I got was just going through the motions, fully knowing I'd disappear on him or her once my free sessions were up. It was quite the self-fulfilling prophecy. I disappeared. But who wants to invest in personal training when your trainer doesn't give a damn? And can you blame them for not caring when they know new members are taking them for joyride?

The world of fitness has changed a lot since those days, and so have gym-goers. People are investing more of their paycheck in health & wellness, and seem to be more committed to their workouts than ever. A few years ago The New York Times reported that some women were studio-hopping, taking more than 1 class a day to get their fix. Wow! Now that's a passion for fitness! It's the kind of enthusiasm that reinvigorates the industry and makes personalized fitness relevant again. Is it healthy to work out 3x a day? Maybe not, but the fact that people want to work out more than they used to has gyms everywhere stepping up their game with better and more challenging unparalleled personal training.

What I'm getting at is gone are the days of just going through the motions. Now, more than ever, trainers know that you want to see results and you're willing to stick with them if the workout is good.


That's Anwar Hefeez, my certified trainer for the day at New York Sports Club in Manhattan. I was slightly hesitant about our session because I've become quite the group fitness junkie over the years. I love the energy of a full class and the control of adjusting my intensity without being singled out. I knew I'd be in for hard workout with Anwar ESPECIALLY when I saw what she had set up for me!

Are you kidding me?  There's no way I can lift that, I blurted out loud. I'm used to smaller weights and kettlebells! But Anwar just smiled and said, try it.

So I did. And she was right! I could totally lift that S.O.B. I'm just not used to working out with equipment so large or what I think of in my head as "masculine".

Anwar assures me that deadlifts with this kind of weight are superb for women looking to work on their booty and the back of their legs. All she had to say was "booty" for me to be all in. That is like my #1 priority in life. I kid you not. My goal is to reclaim the ass of my 20's and Anwar had just put me on the path. So, of course I begged her to show me more that would repair this malleable region.

With Anwar closely watching my form, I did side lunges and front/back lunges off a riser. The riser makes these moves a million times harder. I always thought I was a pro at lunges but realized I had only mastered basic 1-dimensional lunging.. This was a new world and level of difficulty. I both loved and hated Anwar for that.

During our session, I tried to distract Anwar with talk about Beyonce's superbowl halftime performance, but she was on to me. I think the only rest I got was watching her demo the next move. In this case, frogger plank hops. Almost everything she showed me was something I hadn't done before. It was refreshing. This was by far the best personal training session of my life.

We even played on the "ladder" marked on the floor. It's good for cardio drills to get your heart rate up. I've pretty much done every cardio drill in the book...but Anwar incorporated some mental work to throw me off a bit. When you have to think about your footwork and arms independently, a repetitive motion becomes a lot more complex as you're speeding through it.

I made Anwar demo the drills for me a few times (so I could take a breather). She was awesome, and unlike personal trainers I've had in the past, was not just going through the motions. She wanted me to understand each movement and get me out of my fitness comfort zone. I work out every day but sometimes I cop out when I don't want to push harder, and I use the fact that I exercise daily as an internal excuse to do that. I don't realize that I'm actually strong enough to go further or harder, and that's exactly what I learned from working with Anwar. I experienced a new spectrum of exercises and completed more reps than when I work out alone.

To answer the looming question of this blog post, YES, a personal trainer is worth it if you can afford it. You don't need one every time you hit the gym but it's nice to have one to introduce you to new routines, show you what you're capable of, and instill the confidence you need to repeat it on your own. I recommend personal training 1/week or at least 1/two weeks. Great trainers hang out at great gyms like New York Sports Club. This is a gym where fitness is considered a major player in bringing balance and wellness to your life. The equiptment is incredibly well maintained, the gym floors and studios are clean and organized, and the trainers who work there practice what they preach.

Try New York Sports Club out for yourself. Here's a complimentary 1 day pass to work out at any NYSC location in the city. What's better than that? How about a free personal training session? Get your free personal training session RIGHT HERE! Experience what I did and see if personal training suits your routine.

If you're more of group fitness junkie, check out the NYSC class schedule here. Take advantage of these freebies. You won't find many other studios or gyms in New York doing the same. At most you'll get a discount on your first class. But that's what makes this unpretentious New York gym (since 1974) a classic. It's not about the's about getting to work.

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Town Sports International. The opinions and text are all mine. Comments submitted may be displayed on other websites owned by the sponsoring brand.



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