Think it’s too expensive—or just not for you? Here are a few things that might changeyour mind

By Shape Editors

Put the word "personal" in front of any service-trainer, stylist, dog groomer-and it immediately takes on an elitist (read: expensive) ring. But a personal trainer is not just for those with big bank accounts. We talked to Jason Karp, Ph.D, an exercise physiologist and author of Running for Women, for a few perfectly legit reasons anyone can hire a personal trainer-and why it actually doesn't have to break the bank.

Because Health Equals Wealth

When you're feeling healthy and physically fit, you're going to be more productive in any area of your life. Research backs this up: According to a study published in the Journal of Labor Research, people who work out regularly (three times a week) earn about 10 percent more than those who don't. Using that extra cash on a trainer (which costs, on average, about $50 to $80 per session) is definitely money well spent.

Because There Probably IS Room in Your Budget

"One of the biggest stumbling blocks I see is people saying they can't afford a trainer, but that is often a matter of perception," Karp says.

Take a minute to decide what you can afford. A daily $4 coffee drink? A new outfit every month? Poke around your budget and you'd be surprised how easily you can find the cash if you make a few simple adjustments. And besides-you'll look a lot better in the clothes you already have if you're trimmer and more toned (and those coffee drinks are loaded with fat and calories anyway).

Because You Can Split the Cost with a Friend

Personal training doesn't have to be all that personal: According to Karp, many gyms are developing partner or buddy training programs or even training sessions with groups of three and four. In fact, a recent survey from IDEA found that 70 percent of U.S. gyms offer this type of training option. You still get personalized service at a much cheaper cost. Plus, there is a ton of research showing that exercising with a friend yields faster results than training alone.

Because You Have a Drawer Full of Workout Clothes

Meaning your workout bras, tanks, and leggings haven't seen the light of day (or an ounce of your sweat) in months. Hiring a trainer when you've been off the workout wagon not only helps prevent injury but can give you a clear sense of the road ahead-and what you need to do to reach your goals.

"A good certified personal trainer understands anatomy and biomechanics and can customize a routine based on your current fitness levels," Karp says. On your own, it can be nearly impossible to know where to start, and what may have worked for you in the past may not apply anymore.

Because You Lost the Last

5 Pounds-and You Need a

New Goal

Trainers themselves are often former (or current) athletes and know a thing or 20 about achieving more nuanced or competitive fitness goals. Want to run a marathon, do a triathlon, or just sculpt a six-pack? A trainer who specializes in competitions, or who trains body builders, will know all sorts of tricks and tips specific to your goal.

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