Sunday, November 10, 2013

Expectations For Your Personal Trainer

I was speaking with another trainer this evening, and we both agreed that there isn't really a "standard" for personal trainers. There are hundreds of different certifications, and unfortunately a lot of them aren't accredited. Basically, anybody can become a personal trainer within a weekend. Nobody seems to really know what to "expect" from a trainer either, other than teach them how to exercise and get "toned". So what characteristics should we really expect from a great trainer?

1. Being genuinely supportive throughout your fitness journey.
This should be a no-brainer, but unfortunately trainers have gained this mentality that they need to be some tough hard ass in order to get their client results. Bret Contreras wrote a great post (and amusing video) about how to not be a good personal trainer. His main point? A crappy trainer will berate you, criticize you, and make you feel inferior. This may be a motivational tactic to help you work harder, but it destroys the relationship between trainer and client. A good trainer should be willing to work through your limitations, weaknesses or doubts without making you feel like you aren't good enough. You are good enough, and that's why you hired a trainer in the first place, right?
2. Educate you.
A good trainer will sincerely hope that you stick to some sort of fitness regime for life. So if and when you move on, you should feel as capable as possible on your own. You should know gym etiquette, how to perform the basic movements (squat, deadlift, press, etc. or proper modifications of such), what different equipment is in the gym and how it's used, what exercises work what muscles, how to avoid injury, or even advice on diet, cardio, or stress management techniques. If you're not learning anything new with your training experience, either ask more questions or consider switching to a trainer who is willing to educate you throughout your journey.

3. Help create changes in your daily life outside the gym.
Personal trainers should do more than just prescribe a few random exercises and send you home. A good trainer will ensure that they're doing their best to make life-changing improvements in your daily life. Lets be honest, most people will hire a trainer to look better, feel more confident, or to achieve a healthy and sustainable weight. These are all life-changing events! So the trainer's job is not to "give a client exercises", it's ultimately to change the way that person looks, feels, and performs in daily life. A trainer should understand that their responsibility runs deeper than just counting reps at the leg press, and should make sure they're doing everything capable to make sure their client achieves their true potential in and out of the gym.

4. Instill confidence in their client.
I got this last idea from Jon Goodman, who made a good point that you should be able to trust your trainer's abilities, knowledge, and dedication. Many trainers will try to make themselves look better by using fancy terminology or asking you to do complex exercises because "we need to work the quadratus lomborum efficiently in the saggital plane while simultaneously stimulating your vestibular system to increase core stability and... give you that six pack you've always wanted!" Often times, less is more, and a trainer who is honest in his/her abilities ("I'm not sure the answer to your question, but I will definitely do some research and get back to you by our next session") will naturally foster a trusting relationship between trainer and client.
Even if your trainer looks like Brad Pitt, make sure he's still an exceptional trainer!

No comments:

Post a Comment