Personal Training is One of the Best Investments You Can Make in Yourself
but in such a saturated market how do you choose the right trainer?
The fitness industry is a vast and growing industry. There is more information available about fitness, weight loss, muscle gain, and health than ever before. It can be confusing to sort through the myths, gimmicks, and overnight success programs that promise an outstanding amount of success with little or no work. So what do you choose to believe? How do you know which program to choose? How do you sort through all this information on top of living your busy life? How do you get true fitness results, when there are so many conflicting ideologies out there? The answer is simple: hire a professional to help.
Personal training is one of the fastest growing professions in the last 20 years. The amount of trainers in the 80s to now has compounded every year and has lead to exponential growth in the industry. Nowadays you see a gym on nearly every street corner! With more developments around nutrition, exercise, and holistic health everyday; there are a rising number of "professionals" popping up in the marketplace. Hiring a personal trainer can be a big decision. Let's also face it, it can be a substantial investment. So how do you find the right personal trainer for you?
Take it from someone that has been in the fitness industry for nearly a decade and has hired, developed and managed over 100 personal trainers; not all personal trainers are "fit" for your business. Here are a few basics that separate the good, the bad, and the ugly in the personal training marketplace.
Education - This is the most essential criteria for hiring a personal trainer. A trainer that looks like they know what they are doing does not necessarily mean they know what they are doing. There are a lot of certifications and degrees out there so this can get confusing. You want a trainer whom has a fitness related degree (i.e. exercise physiology, kinesiology, health and exercise science) or a Nationally Accredited Certification. There are NASM (National Academy of Sports Medicine), ACE (American Counsel on Exercise), NSCA (National strength and conditioning association), NESTA (Nastional Exercise and Sports Trainers Association) to name a few. A trainer should be able to provide current proof a certification upon request. Becoming a personal trainer is not an overnight process. I have seen some of the most fit people fail personal training certifications and make terrible decisions working with people. There is no shortcut around education, if the trainer takes pride in their work they would invest in their education as this is a part of their reputation. The best trainers continue to educate themselves their entire career.
Personality - This is arguably one of the most important factors of selecting a trainer. You are going to spend a fair amount of time with your trainer. You have to get along! A good personal trainer should be relatable, should understand your interests, and should be a positive role model. Ask the trainer about their passions, hobbies, and recreation. Do you have anything in common? My favorite trainers, have been able to make me laugh while still making sure I accomplish my goals. This makes the process of fitness much easier, and much more enjoyable.
Passion - Trainers come in all shapes and sizes. If a trainer does not look the way you want to look, this should not make or break the deal. However, does the trainer truly believe in, and love fitness? Do they workout? Do they eat well? Have they ever hired a personal trainer for themselves? These are all things that you will know within the first few minutes of talking to the trainer. Does something about this trainer inspire you to be better with your fitness?
Structure - If a trainer is not taking notes and keeping documentation of your program that is a big red flag! If you walked into your doctor's office, and he asked "what kind of shot did I give you last time you were here? I don't remember. Was it a tetnis shot, hepatitis shot? Uhmm...let's just give you a few shots today and see what sticks!" I would say you should look for another doctor immediately! If your trainer asks you what you guys did last session, or how much weight you used-FIND A NEW TRAINER! It's a trainers job to have a program design and come prepared to every session. They should have a progressive plan to take you from point A to point B. They should document your exercises, the weight your using, rest your taking, challenges you had, imbalances they noticed, and so on. This note taking process allows a good fitness professional to course correct as necessary and make sure you arrive at your goal safely.
Confidence - When you share your goals with your prospective trainer, ask your trainer the following question. "Can you get me to my goal?" Your trainer should have confidence that they can help you accomplish this. Whether it be experience, passion, or knowledge that guides your trainer, they should be 100% positive that they can help you attain your desired outcome. If you sense hesitation in your trainer's answer, this may be a red flag that this is not the right trainer for you.
Lastly, a personal trainer should be sincere. The trainer should be more interested in your success than in their paycheck. The trainer should be mentally present in every session. No cell phones and no distractions. Although you may get your butt kicked, you should leave every session feeling accomplished about the work you just did, and just feel great in general.
If you do not 100% believe that the trainer you are talking to is the right trainer for you, ask them for a sample session to see how they work with you. Most trainers/gyms are willing to give you a session to ensure confidence in your investment. When I was a trainer, this was the easiest way for me to sell. If I got the opportunity to show someone what I did and how I worked, I didn't even have to persuade them or convince them to start with me. They saw the value and wanted to buy! Anybody can make someone throw up, push, or take them through the hardest workout of their life, but the right trainer will make you feel like a champion!