Draft Your Best Trainer – 4 Ways to Choose the Right Trainer for You
By: Estevan Lucero
Given the increased social awareness toward fitness and living an active lifestyle, fitness enthusiasts are flocking to the personal training industry en masse. With the number of coaches, trainers and gurus out there, it is starting to feel like anyone who has ever lifted a barbell at any capacity calls themselves a personal trainer. If you throw in the sheer amount of information on the Internet and YouTube (both good and bad), you might find yourself struggling to find the right person to aid you on your own fitness journey. Here are a few questions you should ask to help you sort the pretenders from people who can actually help:
- Does the trainer have objective means to evaluate clients?
Far too often clients attend their first session with a trainer and get right to work. The problem is preexisting conditions could be a huge factor that stifle any progress to begin with and you can’t really measure progress outside of the occasional “Hey Becky, these pants are feeling looser than before”. Imagine a world where a doctor arrives for surgery without any diagnostics, tools or knowledge of the patient outside of an initial consultation. This scenario could spell trouble. Training should be no different. Every client who walks in the door should be taken through an assessment to determine the client’s readiness to train, identify weaknesses and hone in on what the training needs to address first. And the assessments and evaluations should not stop there either. Your trainer should be constantly re-evaluating you on a regular basis to keep your progress on track.
- Does the trainer have a plan in place to get you to your goals?
We all know that trainer that makes up the plan the minute you show up to your session. They usually start with “Well, we’ll do about 2-3 sets on the leg press and then maybe 3 sets of hamstring curls and leg extensions, oh and what did we do last session?” This doesn’t fly. Trainers should be able to show the client where they’re going, and how they’re going to get there. They should have a program for their clients about four weeks in advance, making adjustments along the way based on performance and observation of the client.
- Does the trainer keep their clients healthy and have a proven track record?
This may be the most important item on this list. Injury should never be considered part of the process. In fact, if there were a Ten Commandments for training one would most certainly be “Thou shall do no harm”. If the trainer isn’t capable enough to keep their clients healthy, walk the other way. End of story. The whole point of going to the gym is to improve quality of life, not diminish it with injury. Also, make sure their other clients have good things to say and have seen results. Word of mouth is by far the greatest marketing tool for any trainer. If their clients have good things to say and are seeing results, you more than likely will see positive results.
- Is the trainer a bully or actually there to help?
This is something that is not considered enough. While we all need some structure, discipline and tough love in our training, there is a fine line that sometimes gets crossed unknowingly. If the trainer prides himself on his ability to beat his clients up every session, you may want to reevaluate. One of the fitness industry leaders, Mike Boyle has always said “I could take you outside and hit you with a baseball bat and you’d be really sore. Soreness is not an indication of a good workout.” It’s not about how hard you can work out one time, but rather the ability of the trainer’s client to come back consistently and overtime to produce gradual, long term results. No, throwing up does not equate to a productive workout either. In fact, it’s your body’s way of saying “stop you idiot, I’m not ready for this!”
In a perfect world, every trainer would work under ideal conditions, have the best knowledge, and make every client better. Seeing as how that’s not the reality, hopefully this list gets you pointed in the right direction. Good luck out there, may the training odds ever be in your favor!