heart rate monitorGone are the days of a good old-fashioned workout. Now we have ‘apps’ to count calories, steps, and even to motivate us by charging us a fee if we skip a workout. We have access to videos both free and paid to workout in our living rooms. So who needs a trainer? Who needs a group class? Who even needs to leave the house anymore? You do!  I am not saying to avoid these advances, just use them wisely.

It used to be if you wanted to learn from a pro you had to fork over tons of money and go to them. Now they can come to you, right into your living room at a fraction of the in person cost. But what is the cost to you, the consumer or ‘trainee’? Working out alone can be very isolating and ultimately lead to abandoning the practice all together. Now I am not talking about running or cycling or other forms of exercise normally done alone, but I am speaking of what used to be group or trainer/client activities, like Pilates, Yoga, Circuit and weight training. Having someone train you one-one not only helps prevent injury, but it helps to motivate and keep you accountable. Group classes also provide moral and social support in addition to having a trained professional in the room with you to help guide you and protect you from injury. In a group class, everyone is there because they want to be and you are all in it together. If you tend to take the same classes repeatedly you may make some great friends who have the same or similar fitness goals. You are more likely to stay on track if you have that positive feedback and encouragement, not only from the instructor, but also from the rest of the class. If you have a personal trainer, over time that person learns your quirks and what works for you to get the best results.  That’s something you can’t get from a video or an app on your phone.

I recently wrote about a shirt that will give you a small shock if you are not in alignment.  While this is a little futuristic and over the top (no pun intended), it’s probably just a matter of time before our workout gear starts talking back to us.

While all of these gadgets are fun to play around with and can certainly help you in reaching your fitness goals and they are a wonderful addition but there is nothing that can replace the human contact and camaraderie that you get with one on one or group instruction. I for one will never give up my trainer or going to class. I look forward to it actually, because it makes me accountable.

Financially, classes or a trainer may not be in your budget. Your schedule may not allow it either. But if you do your research in your community you can certainly find something. Even here in Los Angeles, there are ‘community’ classes in Yoga or Pilates that are as little as $8.  Discount sites like Lifebooker, Living Social and Groupon offer great deals on group classes as well. If you can work out at odd hours, there are probably some gyms and studios that offer ‘happy hour’ discounted rates during non-peak times. So if you look, you can find something. So get off your living room floor or off your phone and get out there already!– Jessica Kuiken

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