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As promised in Friday’s post (Turns Out It’s a Journey After All), the next three morning posts will delve into a few things I’ve learned about myself when it comes to getting in the best shape of my entire freaking life.

The first thing I’ve learned in this journey is that friends are way more important to the process than personal trainers are.

When I started this journey, I committed myself to do it with the aid of a personal trainer. I thought, if anyone can whip my butt into shape, this dude with biceps that can crush steel pipes certainly can.

My trainer was a near perfect specimen of physical health. I’m pretty sure his six-pack muscles had six-packs of their own and he benched 300 lbs. with the same effort it would take me to lift a tissue box.

Three times every week I made the long 35 minute drive to a fantastic facility to be trained by one of the best.

He. Worked. Me. Hard.

And when I say hard, the guy worked me into the ground. Literally. At the end of most of my sessions I would lie face down on the gym floor, unable to move while my facilities searched for any ounce of energy to kneel up again.

For nearly two months I trained with this personal trainer, and there was no doubt I was getting leaner and stronger after every session. But something strange happened. I began to lose motivation.

Admittedly I have never been properly trained how to use a gym before starting the training. Part of the real excitement of personal training was learning how to do all the different exercises that would build the muscle in all the different parts of my body. One reason it killed me so much was because I was working muscles that had never been worked.

But then I learned it all. Or at least enough. And the sessions started getting monotonous. I was paying all sorts of money for something I could now do for myself.

Errr… at least I could do most of it myself.

There are two things a trainer does that you or I will probably never do. First, he’ll be there to help you with that last rep of whatever you’re doing. After all, it’s that last rep that really rips your muscle for maximum growth and without someone else there, it simply doesn’t happen. And second, he pushes you to keep going in any exercise, even when you think you’re at your limit.

He’ll use fancy words like, “oh, come on. Don’t wuss out.” Or, “one more, you baby man.” And as it turns out, he’s always right. There was always a little more to give than I thought I had.

For those reasons, and the simple reason that you’ll gain lifelong valuable education for how to work out, I really recommend every person hire a personal trainer, at least for two or three months. It’s money you’ll never regret spending, and you’ll learn exactly what you’ve been doing to shoot yourself in the foot any time you’ve worked out in the past.

But then… once you’ve been thoroughly educated, and you’ve called your trainer a sailor’s word or two for the horrible things he has made you do, and you have been pushed to the point where it feels wrong not to workout…

Ditch the personal trainer and find a dedicated friend to workout with instead.

I’ve learned that friends are much more important than personal trainers if you’re in it for the long-haul.

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Dan Pearce is an American-born author, app developer, photographer, and artist. This blog, Single Dad Laughing, is what he's most known for, with more than 1.4 million daily subscribers as of 2017. Pearce writes mostly humorous and introspective works, as well as his musings which span from fatherhood, to dating, to life, to the people and dynamics of society. Single Dad Laughing is much more than a blog. It's an incredible community of people just being real and awesome together!