Ugh. Bad personal trainers. They’re everywhere. On t.v., in magazines, on YouTube in the gym. I hear them giving bad (sometimes dangerous) advice and I see people, all the time, heeding the advice of these misguided trainers because what most people don’t know is that not all trainers are created equal. A great personal trainer help you reach a level of fitness you didn’t even know was possible, but a bad trainer can cause you harm leaving you with injuries. Before you hire a trainer, you should talk with him or her to make sure that persona is the right trainer for you. I love seeing people succeed and I’ve seen so many people succeed with a knowledgable, motivated trainer. I want you to succeed to so I’ve put together a some guidelines to help you choose a trainer:
Ask the trainer if he use crunches. Crunches are outdated, harmful for the back, and create over-dominance of the wrong muscles putting you at higher risk for injury. A knowledgeable trainer will use newer and more effective exercises that strengthen your core.
As the saying goes, if you’re not assessing, you’re guessing. A trainer who is invested in your success will want to track your progress and make sure that the program you’re following is working for you. If your trainer can’t quantify the results, then he’s just just guessing at whether your actually getting stronger or not. Ask the trainer what method they use for assessing progress. Oh, and if the scale, BMI, or inches lost is their only method of assessment… find a different trainer.
A trainer’s first priority should be making sure the exercises are being performed correctly. If you aren’t doing the exercise correctly, you’ll actually be making parts of your body weaker, which puts you at a much higher risk for injury. A knowledgable trainer will stop you in the middle of your reps to make sure you’re moving correctly. And NOBODY moves correctly 100% of the time so you should be hearing corrections throughout your workout. You should also be hearing what you are doing right. If your trainer never corrects your movement or goes an entire set without correcting you, get a new trainer. Fast.
No pain =
No gain A great thing
No pain, no gain is a myth. The truth is pain=injury and injuries impede progress. If you have consistent pain, you’re trainer should refer you to a physical therapist or at the very least consult with a PT before working with you. Your trainer should know what exercises will help you and which will cause you further injury. If you have an injury and the trainer is asking you what exercises you are able to do, don’t hire that trainer! It’s ok if he asks you how an exercise feels, but the trainer should not be relying on you to tell him what is safe and what isn’t.
Look for a trainer that engages with his or her clients. Your trainer should be invested in your goals and progress. He or she should be focused on you and excited to see your progress. Avoid those trainers who look bored, checked out, or seem more interested in socializing than training you.
Certification & Education
The top three certifications are NSCA, ACSM, and NASM. There are too many other certifications to list, but at the very least, the certifying organization should be NCCA qualified.
If your goal is weight-loss or muscle gain, your trainer should know that nutrition plays a bigger role than exercise and sharing that information with you. Your trainer should either have a nutrition certification or refer you to a nutrition coach. And beware of trainers who try to encourage you to follow rigid diets.
A good trainer is always prepared
Your trainer should show up to every session with a written plan and he or she should be documenting your workout as you go. If they aren’t documenting your workout, they can’t be tracking your improvement. If your trainer doesn’t have a plan, your workouts will be random preventing you from achieving long-term adaptive response. What does that mean? Well, imagine you wanted to learn how to skateboard, so I took you out for an hour to skateboard. And then the next week we spent an hour playing football. And the week after that we spent an hour riding a unicycle. And then the fourth week we went back to skateboarding. How much progress would you have made with your skateboarding? Probably none at all, right? That’s exactly what happens to your muscles with random workouts. They never get a chance to progress because you’re always focusing on something different.
Hiring a personal trainer requires a financial investment and an investment of your time and I hate seeing people wasting their money on a trainer who is wasting their money. The right trainer will lead you down the road to success. The wrong trainer will waste your time, money, and put you at risk for injury. So take your time, do some research, and invest in the trainer that is right for you.