What to expect from a personal trainer
Hiring a personal trainer is the best way to reach your health and fitness goals. A personal trainer is a coach and a mentor – someone who is there to motivate you. A trainer should also understand exercise science and program design to help you get where you want to be. If you are considering hiring a personal trainer, here are five things you should expect.
1. Expertise – You are hiring an expert. Make sure your trainer carries a certification for personal training. A trainer is not just someone who likes to workout. Rather, a trainer is someone who commands expert knowledge in exercise technique, muscle imbalances, and program design. A trainer should always be able to answer the question, “Why?” Ask your trainer why you are doing an exercise. If your trainer says, “Because this is a good workout,” you may want to find a new trainer. A better answer would explain the movement and why it is important for you in particular.
2. Assessment – A good trainer is always assessing your form and movement. A first workout with a trainer should always include some movement assessments, like an overhead squat test. If you show up for your first session and your trainer has a workout all planned and ready to go without looking at the way you move, the workout is not optimized for your specific goals. A good assessment will give the trainer an idea of your over-active and under-active muscles and movement compensations. Gathering knowledge about the way you move is the first step in creating an individualized program design.
3. Coaching – A trainer is a coach. He or she should inspire you and help you reach goals. A trainer should push you harder than you would push yourself. A trainer should give praise and make you feel good about yourself, but a trainer should also correct form and make sure you do movements correctly and safely. A good trainer wants to see you succeed. Trainers are in the business to help change lives. If you don’t feel that when you work with your trainer, find a new one.
4. Individualized and Adaptable Program – There are some exercises that nearly everyone can benefit from, but there are also many exercises that are better for your specific goals and also exercises that you may not be ready for. Always expect your trainer to shape your workouts around your goals and current level of fitness. A good trainer should be able to adapt your workout when necessary. If you absolutely hate an exercise or it causes pain, a trainer should be able to give you an alternate form of that exercise. If you are working with a trainer for multiple sessions, you should see a progression in your workouts. A trainer should keep things fresh for you and make working out fun.
5. Personality – You can get a lot from a trainer who is an expert at assessments and program design, but you deserve more. You should connect with your trainer and develop a certain rapport. You should feel that they understand you and your goals. You deserve a trainer who listens and smiles. You need to like working out with your trainer. Just make sure when choosing your trainer that you find one with knowledge and personality to help you succeed.
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Thanks and hope to hear from you…
Thanks for connecting, Joe! I’ll check out your site!
My “free” personal training session at LA Fitness was a joke. I know they just use it to hook new people on personal training, which I definitely cannot afford at their prices, but I just hated it. They made me feel like a total loser, they definitely weren’t supportive or trying to help me , they just wanted the money and I could tell. He had some generic routine all ready to go and didn’t listen to me when i said I don’t know how to do this, etc. Anyways, it was just a pretty bad experience.
Sorry to hear about your bad experience. That is unfortunately what happens a lot in the industry. But don’t be discouraged! There are good trainers out there. Like me. Hehe.
I would like to know what you think of this….
I talked with a personal trainer and I liked him. During the initial consultation he asked what my goals and limitations were. We also discussed my previous experiences with trainers. I told him that I had joined a biggest loser contest at that gym.
We then set up a session a few days later. During that session, which was also an evaluation, he asked me what my goals and limitations were. He asked me if I had ever worked with a trainer before.
Then, after a few evaluation exercises that I hated, he put me on a treadmill and went off and talked with someone else the rest of the time.
What do I think of that? I think that is terrible. You paid your trainer to train you, not set a speed on the treadmill for you. You trainer should be with you 100% of the time when training you. The only time I leave a client is to grab them a water bottle or get them heavier weights.
The more I train and the more experience I get, I find less time for introductory movement assessments is needed. Assessment is always happening. After seeing a few reps of a couple exercises, a trainer should have a good idea of where to take you.
Unfortunately your scenario sounds like one that happens fairly frequently at big box gyms or the open-24/7 in-and-out gym chains all over your neighborhood. I’d look for a trainer who takes more ownership over what they do. Get a referral from someone, find a trainer who runs their own business.
I hope you find the help you’re looking for!
Hi Mark, thanks. I was not satisfied with the training session and have requested another trainer. I think if he has trouble remembering what we talked about, he needs to review my file before the appointment. Being asked the same questions again made me think that he was not really into helping me that much.
Good for you for getting someone else. Best of luck to you!