First things first: There are quite a few “Certification” organizations. A few fancy letters after someone’s name doesn’t necessarily make them an expert. Those letters don’t mean squat if it’s from some diploma mill-type organization that exists just to take your money after a mindless 50 question multiple choice quiz so that C.P.T. (Certified Personal Trainer) can be slapped after your name. Research the organization and its criteria on the Web.
Athletes needing specific training, folks trying to transform their physiques and lives, and people just starting out or trying to overcome a plateau are just some of a trainer’s clients. Some are more comfortable in group sessions while others prefer the individual attention from private lessons.
My advice regarding trainers:
1.) Pick a facility that is compatible travel and time-wise to you and your schedule. If not, you’ve already got two built-in excuses.
2.) Make sure it’s the right fit for your goals, personality, and attitude. Hardcore animals won’t fit in “Barry’s Chrome Emporium & Boutique” any more than Susie Homemaker will in “Frank’s Freak Pit”.
3.) When considering a Personal Trainer,
- Find several who specialize in the area of your goals. Then watch them in action. Or in some cases, inaction. Talk to their clients and get their feedback both positive and negative.
LOOK FOR THEIR RESULTS.
- Personality compatibility is huge. If you are not meshing, there will be conflict and resistance. Don’t like shouting and high intensity? Then don’t sign with a trainer who gets results by yelling and pushing people past what they thought were their limits with brutal work-outs. Just like someone who is a hardcore power lifter won’t drop into a Zumba class run by “Miss Peppy of 2010”.
- Short Term Contract are best in the beginning. If things don’t work out your not stuck paying for a long term mistake.
- Keep it PROFESSIONAL. It is a business. You are paying for their expertise in accomplishing your goals. They are not your therapist, venting board, co-worker, mommy, daddy, etc. and neither are you theirs. Don’t waste time on personal issues. Speaking of which, extra-curricular “training” is one of the oldest tricks of uncouth trainers. Don’t fall for it and just be another notch in their lifting belt.
- Be leery of being trained by a family member or a friend. Your relationship will be tested by this dynamic. I’ve trained a lot of people in the past and the only three non-successes were my wife, son, and best friend. My friend was very impatient and easily led by whatever fad happened to be out there. Wanting to change programs every week and a half, he was frustrated that he didn’t shoot from his 5’7” 145 lb frame to The Hulk in a month. My son never listened (!), although I set his friend up on the same program and he went from a decent athlete to full scholarship and team Captain at a Nationally rank sports team. My wife couldn’t (or wouldn’t) do certain exercises and getting her to take one vitamin was a lesson in drama. Today, her nickname is “The Machine” at the gym as she does hardcore workouts and she also personally supports a local supplement company with her business. This isn’t uncommon as I spoke with a Nationally known bodybuilder who is “The Trainer of Trainers” and he has to have someone else train his wife! Yet this same bodybuilder consulted with my son, telling him the EXACT same things I’ve been saying to him for years, and it was like it was the first time he had heard it. Go figure.
- If something doesn’t seem right–YOU DON’T HAVE TO DO IT! If you are feeling uncomfortable or uneasy in any way regarding the exercise, how your body is reacting or simply how your trainer is communicating with you, speak up. One other important note; Although we are not looking to be trained by Mr. or Mrs. Universe, if our trainer comes out with a big gut or resembles Pee Wee Herman or generally doesn’t look in shape themselves…RUN!