Thanks to social media, the fitness industry has been watered down by online trainers with the only credential are the six pack abs and inspirational quotes under their photoshopped selfies. Listen, I get it. You see someone online who walks the walk, looks awesome in pictures and has a collection of magazine covers. You have #bodygoals and they’ve become your #fitpso so it would make sense that they could help you get you into the best shape of your life, right? WRONG! Not all trainer are created equal and here are 5 things you should consider when hiring one.
First and foremost, anyone who has invested years of formal education in this field knows their shit more often than not. That is not to say they are the masters of the fitness industry but they’ve spent 4+ years learning about the body and someone who understands the science of the body will usually have a healthier approach to your plan. Believe it or not, fitness isn’t just about weights, dates and protein shakes. Now, just because someone doesn’t have a degree in this field but has a personal trainer certification it doesn’t mean they are any less qualified to help. Certifications can provide the foundational principles of training and a shorter version of the science behind the plan. Just like a trainer, not all certifications are created equally so do your research. You will find some trainers out there who have a whole bunch of letters after their name which are acronyms for other specializations out there. There are some douche noodles out there that try to appear impressive by accumulating the letters of the alphabet which is really annoying for those who truly invest in their education to be the best trainer for their clients. I am not telling you to write someone off based on their credentials, but don’t be easily impressed by letters. I use to know this “personal trainer” who was a “Nurse” and a “Naturopathic Doctor” who was literally “prescribing” herbal supplements and diets for treatment yet nobody took the 5 minutes to look him up on the certifying boards to realized this mofo was a fraud. People, be smart and do your research.
Overall everyone has some kind of health condition or physical limitation. It’s not that uncommon to work with someone with high blood pressure, diabetes, or a past injury that limits their range of motion and flares up time to time. As a trainer, it is our responsibility to educate ourselves with these special populations and work within our scope to assist in reaching your goals. However, if you have a special condition that severely affects your lifestyle, please be opened and as detailed as possible. A fantastic trainer will know when to refer you to someone else who is better equipped to work with you. You want to work with someone who understands your condition and isn’t going to hurt you. Never be afraid to ask as many questions you need to make sure you are in the right hands. And never, I repeat, never be afraid to ask for testimonials! This is your body and you are trusting them to take care of it so make sure you are comfortable!
Training is not black or white. Sure there is science that backs up the foundation of program design, but every trainer has their own specialty and philosophy to their approach. Take the time to interview your trainers and how they approach their client’s fitness goals. How many days do they expect you to work out? What do you eat? Do they discuss your internal health and encourage you to get your blood work done to make sure you are all good on the inside? Do they mention how hormones and stress and can play a toll on your results? Do they just hit you with the hard work out or do they evaluate your current state and create a plan just for you? You may not know exactly what you are looking for if this is your first time looking, but ask all the “dumb” questions that you can think of to learn about them and what they expect from you.
If you are anything like me then during desperate times you’ll say yes to almost anyone. You’ll ignore your gut instinct that is telling you this guy is the biggest creep but you’ll work with him anyway. You don’t need to a hire a trainer to be your best friend, but you need to trust them and it’s important you feel that they can relate to you in some way. They don’t need to be a mom of three who has struggled with their weight for their entire life and finally got it together. They could be a man with a drill sergeant approach that reminds you how much you prefer structure. They may have all the credentials and say all the perfect things with the proof to back it up, but you could be missing that last “oomph” to make you feel comfortable. Go with that. The last thing you need is to be fighting your trainer on your program because you don’t trust them. Nobody wins that way.
This should go without saying but a reputation is everything to a trainer because word of mouth is their best source of new business. You can google, you can read their bios and research their credentials but ASK AROUND! Find out what kind of trainers and business owners they are. Let’s be honest, trainers have this “sleazy” salesman reputation which is really annoying when you are a trainer. Of course, we need to sell to make a living but we truly want to help. It’s dipshits that will literally steal your money that ruin it for the rest of us. When you are at the gym, take a look around and observe the trainers. Who do you always see? What do their clients look like? How is their form and are they making progress? Ask the front desk people about the trainers. Ask some of the gym members, your friends, coworkers, anyone that could give you some feedback on what they know and who they know. You may get very little information OR you may find out that one trainer at the gym has a reputation of double charging their clients.
Finding the right trainer is like finding the right therapist. It takes time to find the right match to get you to your goals and you may go through a string of bad trainers to find the good one. Hopefully, these 5 tips can’t help you filter through the shitty ones and find the perfect one for you. Remember, not all trainers are created equally and YOUR health is in their hands. Do you research, ask your questions and don’t be afraid to ask for a complimentary session to “try them out”.