Did you know that a whopping 80% of people who work out with a trainer have better results faster than those who go it alone?? Personal training provides a lot of benefits including: custom tailored resistance/cardio programs, correction on form, encouragement/motivation, the ability to push you past where you think you can go, accurate measures for success and the uncanny knack for making you hate them for it- that is, if you get a good trainer. But, how do you know if you’re picking the right one? Well, let me offer some insider tips on choosing a personal trainer.
1) It’s called “Personal” training for a reason.
Do you connect with them? Do you like their sense of humor? Do their clients say good things about them? Do you feel comfortable discussing hard issues like weight, goals, obstacles and struggles with them?
If not, find someone you connect with better. If they’re mature, they will totally understand! They want you to succeed and they know if you’re not comfortable with them, you will not succeed.
2) Do they have the knowledge base to help you? Trainers are usually paid based on the number of certifications they have. I have over ten! Look for at very least one of these:
– NASM, ISSA, ACE, AFTA, ACSM- these are nationally recognized training certificates
– College degree in some sort of movement major (ie: kinesiology, anatomy, physical science, human movement)
– CPR/AED/First Aid- a standard. If they don’t have this, run!
-Group fitness certifications. Nothing says well-rounded like a trainer who can work with groups and individuals. Group fitness offers a broad knowledge base for clients and usually promotes a more creative training style.
– Lastly, gym experience. This could mean just about anything, but ask them how long they have been doing training. Anyone less than a year you should be wary of.
3) Do they look the part?
I’m not saying critique their every muscle or roll, but your trainer should be in decent shape and should always be striving to “walk the talk”. If you trainer doesn’t look like someone who is active, ask them about it!
I know for a while when I was injured, I couldn’t work out and this very thing scared me! Talk to them about it! They will probably have a good reason (and if not, then find someone else!)
4) What training style do they use? Do they do more body weight or weights? Do they do circuit training or a sets? Do they prefer machines or free weights? Do they go to fatigue or stick to sets and reps? Asking this will not only show that you’re serious, but will give you a chance to see if they do a “one size fits all” method or are really interested in getting you results. None of my clients do the same workouts! They may do similar exercises, but it is customized to their levels and goals. If you trainer busts out some rehearsed program routine, then you know they are only interested in your $$$.
5) Your trainer should never put you through a routine without an assessment first! Make sure they put you through some sort of assessment to see what your range of motion, joint tracking, strength and balance issues are.
Some common assessment moves are : squats ( they tell us a lot!), lunges, some form of hip rotation, push ups or a alignment assessment (like with the graph looking board above).
6) Did they talk about food??
This one is big because 80% of your results are going to come from nutrition. Were you told to keep a food log? If your trainer doesn’t mention it, say see ya! They don’t have to be a dietician, but they at least need to be monitoring what you are fueling your self with!
7) Go in with an open mind. This one is on you. A lot of folks come in with pre-conceived notions and generalizations about all trainers. We’re not all screamers, ok?
Take the time to get to know all the trainers at your gym or in your area. This is the person who is going to help you change your life, so invest well.
Happy Trainer Hunting!