Personal trainers are often best when a gym program alone isn't working for you, they can provide the motivation, spark and variety that a program alone is less likely to do. Having said that, many gymnasiums have staff who can conduct an appraisal and write a program for you for a casual payment i.e. no need to be a member. That will cost you a one-off fee for the two appointments (or one appointment depending on the facility) but is clearly less than the ongoing fees for PT.
Elements that you need to include for an effective program are many, but you could distill it down to the following elements, in no particular order:
the specifics will depend on what sort of ‘fitness’ you are after - stronger? lighter? leaner? runner? hiking trip? getting married?
You'd need to consider:
*phases of training
*safe movement patterns
and many other things.
If you are determined to avoid PT, I still suggest a few dollars spent on professional advice will be a lot cheaper and more effective than (a) becoming injured through doing it wrong and (b) stagnating and not achieving your goals from making it up yourself. Gym Instructors and PTers are certified/accredited for a reason - they can provide effective advice.
Good luck, whichever way you choose to go.
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