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Mike Roberts

Almost anyone can benefit from a personal trainer. Doubt it? Check out these four situations, which may hit closer to home than you expect.

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Sure, you may think you're the "go-it-alone" type when it comes to working out. Who needs a trainer, right?

Well, you may. Consider this: Are you just starting out and trying to learn the ropes? Or have you been training for months (or years) without any appreciable improvements in appearance and fitness levels? In both cases you can benefit from the expert advice a qualified trainer offers.

Read on and see whether you fall in one of the following four categories. If so, a personal trainer may be the perfect remedy.

1) Starting Out: The most obvious need for professional help is when you're learning your way around a gym. A trainer can teach you the right way to do each exercise, how to build a program, along with all the other ins and outs of getting fit.

2) Struggling With Motivation: You may know a set from a rep, and a barbell from a Swiss ball, but if you find yourself making excuses instead of progress, having an appointment to lift — and someone who pushes you mid-workout when your energy is flagging — can make a big difference. Ali had Angelo Dundee. James J. Braddock had Joe Gould. Heck, Rocky had Mick. Maybe a trainer is what you need to bring out the champion in you.

3) On a Plateau: Be honest — have you enjoyed noticeable results from your workouts lately, or has training become a routine without reward? You may be well versed in workouts, but everyone can benefit from a second opinion. A trainer can take a fresh, candid look at what you're doing, and shine a light on your blind spots. Such candor might propel you out of a deep rut and onto a new peak.

4) A Looming Goal: Whether it's your first triathlon or 10K, a wedding, or a tropical vacation, you want to be at your best. If you want to peak for an athletic event, or build a body you won't be ashamed of, a trainer can help hone your training with an end date in mind. He or she will also keep you focused when your efforts wane or you lose sight of your goal — a good trainer won't let you stray from the task at hand, something you'll be very thankful for on the big day.

Deciding you need a trainer is the first step. Step number two is choosing one wisely. Keep your mouse aimed at Gympost.com for future articles on picking the perfect trainer for you.