What Makes A Good Personal Trainer?
There are many styles of training when working with fitness professionals. How can you be sure you are working with a quality trainer? Here are three boxes to check to feel confident with your trainer of choice.
How do you know if you’re getting a quality trainer? First and foremost, what is their education? To be clear, this doesn’t mean they have to possess a degree or a certification, but how well can they draw distinctions between different styles of training? How well can they break down the nutrition overview for people? If you ask them to describe in detail a few main systems of the body (ex: muscular, cardiovascular or respiratory) are you impressed by their response? Or does it seem pretty vague?
Ask them questions like this:
- How does muscle form in the body?
- How do I know how much cardio to do and when is too much?
- How do nutrients get transferred from food to my body?
- How do you decide what workout program is good for me?
Tell them about your goals, and what you’ve tried to do to get there. See what they offer up to help! Beware if they offer up advice that is a very easily recognizable misconception in fitness:
- “You need to not eat carbs”
- “You need to do more cardio”
- “You need to not eat fats”
- “You are eating too late at night”
- “You’re missing certain supplements that you NEED to take” (lol)
Then, you can proceed to ask them what they have studied to learn what they know!
Good answer: ”books, courses, videos, schooling, mentor-ship, and trial and error.”
Bad answer: “Just learned by doing it.” This is not a good idea because it’s not enough to just be in shape, but to know what other bodies respond to and how to train them to get great results too! Just because you fixed your car doesn’t mean you can fix mine.
They Live It – Looks Aren’t Everything
I have heard sooo many times that you should make sure your trainer is in shape in order to hire them. That’s cool, but in shape compared to what? Do they have to have great abs and killer back muscles to be a good trainer? Some of the best trainers in the world are not the fittest or strongest, they are just brainiacs with a little muffin top. Plus – how could you tell someone’s story just by looks. People are all at different places in their adoption of a healthy lifestyle, and often when that adoption comes later in life, someone’s body may not be a picture perfect magazine cover, but they have developed a LIFESTYLE of fitness, one that if you hang out with them long enough – you’ll develop too!
So, no, I don’t think you HAVE to have abs to know how to get them and help someone else get them, so it’s not the first impression I go for, but here’s what I want to know and will question:
Why Did You Choose A Career of Training Others?
This question gives you (the client) a chance to listen to someone’s passion to teach and help others develop their fitness lifestyle. This is the question you want know when you are linking up with a trainer for a long period of time; are they REALLY into YOUR progress, or just into themselves?
Beware: some people have gotten in shape as young folks and just like having “trainer” in their bio on Instagram. Beware of fit people who still don’t give a sh*t about your progress – there are too many to count. Find someone eager to share their story of fitness and teach others this way too. That’s who you want to link with!
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“I Don’t Know”
If your trainer is knowledgeable, eager to HELP, and admits that they don’t know the answers to a few of your questions, or don’t understand the topic well BUT WILL FIND OUT…that’s a great trainer. This helps you see that they are indeed a real person, and value honesty. That is someone you can ask questions to, trust answers, and grow together.
*I listed this last because it’s a perk but least important when compared to the other two. You want someone to know what they need to know to advise you, keep you safe, and give you results. You don’t want someone giving you a bad workout and pushing you with bad form just because they’re honest that they don’t know if the form is correct – haha!
Don’t be afraid to put the pressure on, ask questions, look at previous clients, etc. Do what you need to do to verify your time and money are going to a professional who can make the MOST out of your time together.