So many times I’ve had clients come in saying “I have this *insert event here* coming up and I want to look great for it!” I love this for a few reasons - a. There is a specific goal b. There is a specific timeline - and more often than not, this goal fits the rest of the SMART outline. But, occasionally, there’s an instance of an unrealistic goal, i.e. trying to lose a significant amount of weight in a short amount of time. This begs the question: how soon should one begin working with a trainer before a big event?
Personally, I believe it’s never too soon to begin working with a professional. Not only will your program be designed around the big goal, but you’ll have chances to crush smaller ones along the way. You get to leave the logistical stuff for someone else to figure [that is why you hired a professional in the first place]. All you really have to do is show up - both physically and mentally.
There’s always a handful of people who ‘like to do things on your own,’ and some of them get things done - but for those of you who might be able to relate to that statement, I’d like to kindly ask - how that’s working for you? Here are some trouble spots that the go it alone folks might run into:
Not knowing exactly what your goal is. Hiring a coach allows both parties to know what the end goal is, why, and the plan to get there. Be specific with what you want - don’t just say ‘oh I want to be more toned’ because what does that actually mean to you. I can guarantee five different answers from five different people - so really know what you want.
Misjudging your level of commitment. Setting appointments with a trainer ensures that you show up, for your workouts - and for yourself [emergencies aside, of course]. Our goal is to help you succeed, and we need to know how much work you are realistically able to commit to. Without someone holding you accountable, it’s easier to find excuses and let those four well intentioned workouts slip by the wayside. If you’re the person who says ‘oh I’m willing to give whatever it takes’ but can only put in 30 minutes of effort a week, just own that up front so we can adjust your schedule accordingly.
Underestimating time and overestimating results. Maybe this is the first time you’ve set a deadline for a fitness related goal. Awesome! A professional can help you map out a plan specific to your timeline. Don’t expect miracles. Just like those tabloid magazines that promise away 20 pounds in 3 days, wellness professionals cannot snap their fingers and provide you with a new body tomorrow because we're just giving you the tools, but you're the one doing the hard stuff.
So, how soon should you find a personal trainer before a big event? There isn’t necessarily a magic number because every person’s body is unique, but with twelve weeks of a new routine you and those around you will be able to see some physical changes. Of course, you may notice some changes right away [i.e. better sleep, more energy, less brain fog, etc.], but the physical changes will take a bit more time. For those of you specifically looking to lose fat, the amount of time it takes to lose it can be equated to the amount of time it took to gain it. With hard work and healthy eating, this could realistically look like no more than one to two pounds a week [according to most experts a 1% decrease in the course of a month is safe and doable]. So naturally, your ‘lose-ability’ will depend on how much you have to start, if you have more excess weight to begin with, it will be easier to lose more in the beginning. Things don’t happen overnight, lasting changes cannot be made immediately - it takes time to lose fat, it takes time to gain muscle, and it takes time to strengthen your performance.
If you have an event coming up, or a general goal in mind, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org to get in touch for a consultation to get you on the path you wish to be on. If you have access to fitness professionals at your gym or elsewhere, reach out and see if they can meet with you to chat about your goals. *PSA - please remember, your fitness professional friends are still that, professionals, and their time and energy should be compensated just as you would compensate a lawyer, doctor, etc. for their advice*