As a trainer, I’m very critical towards other trainers and expect the same from them. Everyone can always continue to learn and should take steps towards continuing their education and skills, no matter how long they have been a trainer.
Now how do you choose a trainer? I’d like to share some things I find important to ensure that you select the right trainer who can help you reach your goals. First, you have to figure out what you’re looking for in a trainer:
– Is there a certain style, workout program you want to pursue or a specific piece of equipment you want to focus on and is the trainer competent in teaching it?
– Are you looking for someone to give you tough love or to hold your hand?
– How much time and money do you want to spend on a trainer and does his/her availability and price fit into your plan? Many people can afford a trainer on a regular basis if the trainer proves to offer a big return in experience, knowledge and results!
– Important: are you ready for this?
Next, once you know what you’re looking for, it’s time to learn more about your trainer:
– Does he/she have certifications and if so, are they valid and significant? Personal trainer certification companies just pop up every other day. Many require some reading and an online open book test. This doesn’t make a trainer. Intense classes, exams, hands on training and a whole lot of time makes a good trainer (and even so, there are some incredibly smart trainers out there who still don’t get results because of other factors).
– Is he/she in shape? I know this is discriminating but would you hire a dermatologist with bad skin or a child psychologist with badly behaved kids? I doubt it. It’s the same with trainers. If they take their job seriously and love what they do, they’ll do it for themselves. I know of many trainers and coaches (both fitness and martial arts) who have all these goals and years later, haven’t accomplished any of them. Not a good sign.
– Does the trainer have people skills? He/she doesn’t need to be the most social person in the world but they need to be able to push you, motivate you and help you when you need it.
– Are they experienced in many different workout methods, equipment and programs? Variation is huge in fitness training, both for your physical results and to prevent mental fatigue. The trainer needs to be able to switch things up and keep it fun by adding variety.
– Is the trainer open minded and critical at the same time? Being open minded is an important thing in training (and everything else). New equipment or methods may come out and it’s great to take advantage of that. A good trainer will take great things from different sources and put them together for a superior training experience. At the same time, being critical is vital because there are a lot of useless things in the fitness world. It is a multi billion dollar industry so many people out there promise you everything but give nothing but false statements.
– Does the trainer do any kind of assessments? These are great to check on your progress but also keep you motivated.
– Does the trainer offer packages, multi clients sessions etc. These might save you some money!
– As with some chiropractors (from my experience), a trainer who pushes you to buy their supplements, is a huge red flag. It’s ok if they introduce you to it or if you ask about it. However, if they keep being forceful about it, find someone else!
By Sander Vanacker for FitGuana
Sander Vanacker is a personal trainer, CEO of Bring Back Nature, Inc. and founder of FitGuana. He believes in improving health and wellness by incorporating more nature into our lives, being active and spending more time outdoors.