Do you need a personal trainer? Only if you really want to get the best gains you can in the gym. It's hard to teach yourself exercises from a book or the instructions on the machines at the gym, and the people who offer you advice may not know any more than you do about the exercises -- believe me, I've seen the "blind leading the blind" at 24 Hour Fitness enough times to know what I'm talking about. Even the paid trainers usually train people with techniques they obviously learned from a book, not personal experience.
So who am I to criticize these people? I'm glad you asked! I'm Saalim Abraham. I've been bodybuilding since the 1980s, and I've learned through experience and competitive bodybuilding what gets you results, what wastes your time, and what gets you hurt. I'm here to help you get the maximum possible gains, getting strong and cut, without getting injured. Weightlifting injuries are no joke -- especially if you're starting at an older age, or if you REALLY mess up, you can have an injury that screws you up for the rest of your life! Why risk it when you don't have to?
You also don't want to "play it safe" so much that you don't see any gains, or you get the least gain for the most effort. I see people working out too quickly with super-light weights, which is great for pumping blood, but doesn't really work the muscle properly. I see people moving incorrectly, which means they have additional muscle groups "helping" them do exercises meant to work only one or two muscle groups. That means they're not isolating the muscles, which means they're not seeing the gains they could.
The same goes for people who don't do the "negative" exercise properly -- those who drop the weights as quickly as they can after lifting them to their peak, let the cable slide back to the initial position by basically letting go instead of making the cable slide back slowly, and so on. If you don't make the weight go down slowly, you're not working all parts of the muscle, you're wasting effort, and by the way, you'll really annoy the gym staff by banging the weights and possibly damaging them, not to mention possibly damaging yourself if you lose control of a free weight or a cable that can hit, cut, or crush you.
Finally, before you choose a personal trainer, you should see if the personal trainer looks good! You know, "Physician, heal thyself" and all that.
I can give you advice on
Weight lifting for increased muscle mass
Weight lifting for better muscle tone
Weight lifting and diet for weight loss.
And much, much more!
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