How to Find a Good Personal Trainer1 September, 2012
I have been working in the boxing and strength and conditioning business for over 20 years now, and during this time I have always done further personal development in my field, as this keeps me up to date with all the new scientific information about anatomy and physiology, and new discoveries of tried and tested developments to give you greater strength, fitness, power and speed.
So, it always upsets me when I go on courses to be greeted by people who call themselves ‘personal trainers’ or ‘strength and conditioning’ coaches when they have only ever done a weekend course or a week course to get a qualification that allows them to train people. Also, I have recently seen how a lot of new AND OLD trainers train clients, and it just scares me, the lack of knowledge or misused knowledge or absence of experience is dangerous, I know personal trainers have to start somewhere and being confident of what you are delivering is paramount, but there comes a stage when they should stop shouting from the top of the tree about how good they are and maybe just admit that they need to do some further education. This has all led me to write this as it is cringe worthy and worrying about the injuries that these ‘personal trainers’ are causing their clients, I spoke to one lady after her first session with a personal trainer ever a while back, and she was scared shit-less and never wants to have a personal trainer again, and that was only because she chose the wrong trainer for her, had she chosen someone who would have catered for her needs and personality then she would have still been training with them, so please chose carefully before you chose who you train with, these are my tips:
1. CHECK A TRAINERS EDUCATION AND EXPERIENCE: The gym should have a list of education that the trainers have, but don’t be afraid to ask a trainer for their background in the industry and qualifications they hold (you should check that the actual qualifications are from a good source too) and make sure they can cater for your needs by explaining your goals and then asking questions about what they can do for you.
2. WATCH A TRAINER AT WORK: Not staring of course, but when you are in the gym, work on a machine close to the trainer at work, so you can see first hand how the trainer works and interacts with clients, make sure you watch them with a few different clients, as I train and communicate with everyone differently, depending on the person, their needs and their personality, some people like been shouted at and some people don’t, so try to get a larger view of their variations.
3. CHECK OUT THEIR CLIENTS: Don’t just look at one or two clients, but get a general idea of their client base, even talk to a client in the changing rooms to get their feedback.
4. NEVER BE PRESSURISED BY TRAINERS IN THE GYM: A lot of trainers do a hard sales pitch in the gym and pray on people that need help, as they need to get their numbers up. Some trainers that approach you will be great and some won’t, so never say yes straight away, take their contact details and do you research on their past (see above), if you decide that you don’t want to train with them, then don’t be afraid to say no, and then look at the other trainers in the gym and chose one that you feel comfortable with. If you feel you are being pressurised by a trainer, speak to the gym manager.
5. ALWAYS SIT AND TALK TO THE TRAINER BEFORE YOU START: Get to know if you have a connection with a trainer, as an hour is a long hour if you don’t get along with them, although you are training and not there to talk, you do form a bond a relationship with your trainer, especially if you are training with them 3 times a week. So, getting along with your trainer is crucial. As don’t forget although you are there to get fit and strong, you also have to enjoy the session, as you will get better benefits and results and there is a greater chance of longevity of training. If they teach a class then try the class and see how you feel about them.
6. MAKE SURE THEY CAN CAN DEDICATE THE TIME TO WHAT YOU NEED: Check their available times and days to make sure they match with what you need.
7. DON’T BE AFRAID TO CHANGE TRAINER: Sometimes we make bad decisions, and after a few sessions realise that the trainer you have chose just doesn’t work for you, you can always speak to them and tell them that it isn’t working and that you would like to train with someone else. It’s always hard but just remember that it is your money, and personal training is expensive and you have every right to change trainer if you want to. However, make sure you have a good reason for switching “I am not losing weight, but my diet is really bad” is not the trainers fault, its yours because your lazy with your diet, and no amount of training can compensate for a bad diet. Speak to the trainer first and say “I am not getting results and why?” or ” I am not enjoying our sessions”, as they maybe able to change the way they train you to suit if you like them, if not then just change to someone else. I always ask my clients how they are feeling about the sessions and is there anything they want to do that I am not doing, but I also switch their programme regularly so that they don’t get bored, I have clients that I have trained for 7/8 years.
If any trainer say the above is not true then they have something to hide, I am very happy for anyone to do all of the above as I am confident of my competency.