There are endless possibilities when it comes to health and fitness. What gym will you join? What trainer will you work with? Will you take classes and book training sessions or do you have the motivation to work out on your own?
The sad reality is that there are a lot of “Certified Personal Trainers” out there that don’t have the education or skills and experience to back it up. Anyone can go online and pay to take a test and get certified. Would you trust a primary care physician that only has a high school degree and a paper that says he’s a doctor? Why would you trust a personal trainer that doesn’t have the education to understand your physical limitations and keep you injury free?
Here are some things to look for when choosing a trainer:
Before booking a session with a personal trainer, do your research. What college did they attend? Is their degree in health & fitness or a science related field? What certifications does he or she have? Three of the best accredited certifications are: National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA), National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM), and the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM).
Ok, so your trainer has a degree. Ask what kind of continuing education they received. Do they specialize in working with any specific client base? All NSCA, NASM, and ACSM certifications require continuing education to keep certifications active. The industry is always changing so it’s important for your trainer to keep up with the trends and also to constantly review the material.
It is very important that your trainer has the ability to work with a wide range of clients and can customize a workout routine based on each individual’s goals and medical history. Even if a client is feeling sluggish or sore or just having a really bad day, the trainer should be able to adapt and modify the day’s workout to leave the client feeling accomplished and energized.
Nobody wants a trainer that will take you through the same 10 exercises every single session. Everyone has different goals but it’s important to keep progressing. Find a trainer that is willing spice it up and keep challenging you.
Sometimes we joke that trainers make good therapists. Your trainer should listen to your problems and keep their own problems out of it. A personal training session should be all about the client. Communication and listening builds trust. You need to feel safe and trust your trainer.
Some people have the misconception that a personal trainer will yell and scream at you but guess what, we are not all Jillian Michaels! Not everyone responds well to her type of training and direction. Look for a trainer that will bring you up when you are down. Your trainer should radiate positivity and provide inspiration and encouragement.
What separates a good trainer from a great trainer? The ability to correct form. Personal Trainers are masters of movement. They should understand how the body is supposed to (and not supposed to) move. It is important that your trainer not only notices and pays attention to how your body is moving but also steps in and is not afraid to correct you to keep you safe and help prevent injuries.
Like Vince Lombardi said, “They call it coaching but it is teaching. You do not just tell them… you show them the reasons.” A good trainer will be a great teacher. We want you to learn the WHAT and WHY. What exercises should I be doing to reach my goals? Why am I doing these exercises? It’s not just about going through the motions but understanding what each exercise is accomplishing and how to properly perform the exercise so essentially you learn the knowledge and skills to succeed without us.