Thinking about Personal Training

I’m thinking – again – about going to personal training at the Y.


Not for everything, just the strength training.  I think I have a good handle on the cardio.  But the strength training is another matter.

As I’ve posted before, I have very little cartilage in my left knee.  In fact, my MRI last year said Grade 4 chondromalacia patella which is, um, not actually very good.  Basically I don’t have very much cartilage under my left kneecap and some of the area is bone on bone.  This is a problem that I’ve had for years.  I had a tibial transfer which is major knee surgery almost 20 years to help the problem.  I do think that surgery helped slow the destruction of the cartilage, but the surgery was a long time ago and the damage has progressed over time.

That is why I’ve had limitations on weight bearing exercise.  Truthfully, walking itself has not hurt my knee.  What stopped me walking was my trabecular bone injury which was a totally different issue.

But, what did hurt my knee a year or so ago, was then I tried to gently do lunges and do squats with low weight at home.  I’ve been told not to do lunges, squats, etc. that would require bending my knee more than 90 degrees.  I did physical therapy for awhile which was helpful, but I know I need to build up my lower body muscles.

Also, like everyone else, as we get older we lose muscle just as part of aging.  I want to just be overall stronger.  Given the limitations I have on lower body exercising, in particular, I think that seeing a trainer at least for awhile would be helpful.

I also see it as sort of like going to Weight Watchers for the weekly weigh in.  I hate to go to a weekly weigh in and not have a loss so when I’m tempted to overeat I often think about the fact I have to weigh in later in the week.  Same thing with training.  If I’m paying someone to train me, I don’t want to show up and say I haven’t done any exercise in between appointments.

We are already members of the Y and personal training is offered so that seems like the best option.  I’ve done training twice before in the past with one great experience and then a second, so-so, experience.

The first experience was about 16 years ago.  At the time, I had a multi-station home gym as well as an exercise bike at home.  I found a trainer who came and worked with me once a week in my home, using the home gym (I did cardio on my own).  She came once a week for an hour.  It was a great experience and I got down to 156.5 pounds (that was the second lowest weight I’ve been since my son was born in 1994.   The lowest was a couple of years earlier after I had the knee surgery when I was working really hard on physical therapy).

Oh – by the way – this morning on my home scale I weighed in at 156.8 pounds which is my lowest since, well, when I was working with that trainer way back in 1999.

Unfortunately, after I had worked with her for awhile, we moved and it was too far away for her to continue with me.  I intended to find a new trainer after moving, and didn’t.  That started the process of weight regain all over again and, yeah.

Then 2011, I decided it was time to start seeing a trainer again. I joined the Y close to where we were living then.  This was after I had gone back to WW and was losing steadily, but wanted to get myself in better shape.  I thought that seeing a trainer would help.  My husband and I did joint 1 hour sessions where the trainer would work 30 minutes with each of us.  While he was working with my husband, I would work on the exercise bike.

It was sort of OK, but I realize now I wasn’t happy with it then.  I wasn’t assertive enough in really saying so though.  On the good side of it, I did get a good workout once a week and this did help my weight loss.  On the other hand, there was a lot I didn’t like about the sessions.  Basically I wanted to do strength training 2 or 3 times a week.  I wanted to work with a trainer on one day and then work independently on the other days.  I wanted to do the same workout with the trainer that I did on the other strength training days.   I wanted this so I would know exactly what to do when by myself.  Also, I wanted to be able to log my workouts and see progress over time.

But, that didn’t happen.  Every week the trainer did something new with me (and with my husband).  One week I might do kettleballs.  Another week I might work with resistance bands.  Another week, I might use bodyweight.  Even if I did kettleballs, the exercise would change from one session to the next.  There was no way to keep a record of progress and there was no way I could replicate a workout when I was working out on my own.  So, he had me doing machines on the days I was alone and then with him I was doing totally different stuff.

I seriously didn’t like this.  I realize that machines may not be optimal, but I would have preferred to working on machines with him just to have something that I could replicate when on my own.  And, I was willing to do some freeweight stuff as well (however, due to my knee, I do better with a machine leg press than I do with squats, for example).

I mentioned this to the trainer and he just sort of ignored me and kept recommending all these constantly changing exercises which I really couldn’t replicate on my own.  Also, I like to record what I’m doing.  I like to see how I was originally lifting 10 pounds for 10 repetitions and now I’m lifting 15 pounds, and so on.  With the constantly changing program I had no idea what weight I was even using, let alone be able to keep records of progress.

Toward the end of 2011, the trainer left the Y to take another job and we were faced with having to find someone new.  But, around that time, we were moving 50 miles away so that didn’t happen.

And – now I’m back to wanting a trainer.  Even with the frustrations I had with the trainer at the Y, I did get benefit from the training.  During the time I was doing it I was very consistent with doing exercise.  And, I do want that consistency.  I am going to be very firm this time that I want to have a workout program  that I can replicate on my own.  And, it needs to be one that doesn’t change every week.  I’m not saying that exercises can’t change over time.  That is fine.  But, I want something where I can record and measure my progress.

Training is, of course, an expense and I don’t think I would pursue weekly training forever.  I’m thinking about doing it weekly for a few months, then switching to maybe once a month once I feel confident that I am doing well on my own and I just want to check in with the trainer to get tips on any changes I might need to make.  I’ve given some thought to starting out twice weekly, but I’m thinking it isn’t really necessary.  But, it is tempting just to get me starting off correctly and making sure I’m using proper form (which is so important due to my knee issue).

For awhile I was conflicted about whether to do 30 minute sessions or one hour.  Both were available.  30 minutes didn’t seem like long enough (I need a fair amount of rest between exercises at this point), but an hour seemed like too long.  However, I just saw there is a new price sheet at the Y and they don’t list 30 minute sessions at all any more, so it looks like there is only an option for an hour.


    • Kitty says

      Cost is a big part of why I’ve hesitated to get one. When I got my first trainer that was my husband’s Christmas present to me. I don’t imagine this time that I will do it every week for terribly long but hope to get a good start and then maybe have an occasional consultation. We’ll see.

    • Kitty says

      Thanks for stopping by and commenting! But, yes, those are big parts of why I want to do it at least for awhile. I’m keeping my finger’s crossed that I will have as good an experience.

  1. says

    I say go for it!!! It sounds like you really know what you want out of it and – importantly – it’s something that’s worked well for you in the past. That’s always a strong recommendation – a history of success! And with your knee, definitely the help of a pro is justified.
    Wendy recently posted…Going my own way… if I can find it.My Profile

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