A big mistake many people make when finding a personal trainer is assuming ALL trainers are good at what they do. The unfortunate fact about my industry is that it’s not regulated. It wasn’t until about a decade ago that colleges began degrees for sciences related to the field. And still, you don’t need a degree to become a personal trainer. In fact, some gyms will take any online certification as a prerequisite to hire you as one. What this means is that ANYONE can become a personal trainer and therefore, may not necessarily be good at it. This is important to acknowledge, because bad trainers or trainers with little experience and/or education, can cause you more harm than good. When looking for a personal trainer, don’t be afraid to interview them! Here are some helpful tips to pick a great trainer:
Ask them about their certifications. Make sure you go online and find the top rated certification schools. I’ll make it easy for you:
These courses are rigorous! And do a great job at not only preparing trainers with the proper knowledge, the testing is mostly done in testing centers, so the chances of actually gaining the knowledge, rather than taking the test from home with an open book, is a better guarantee that the person has learned the key concepts of personal training.
Some of these courses only “touch on” nutrition, so ask the trainer if they have taken any nutrition certifications and/or what philosophy they have on diet. If they mention any of the latest fad diets or believe a lot in supplements and products, rest assured they know NOTHING about nutrition >>> read my Why Keto is a Waste of Your PRECIOUS Time blog for my thoughts on this diet craze. The reason why this is something to consider in your decision is because a healthy diet plan is important to combine with your workout routine in order to achieve the best possible results. If you work with a trainer who cannot help you with your diet, make sure you learn about nutrition on your own.
Once you are certified as a personal trainer you can now work in a gym and start training clients. But all the experience you’ve had so far came from a text book. In the beginning of a trainer’s career, there is A LOT of trial and error with the clients being the guinea pigs. I myself was a perpetrator of this—sorry to all my original clients! (insert “oops” emoji here) I’m not saying I was necessarily “bad,” it’s just that experience for this job is hands on. It’s the ONLY way to be GOOD at it. And all trainers have to start somewhere, so in the beginning, they most certainly are not “great.” I suggest considering a trainer who’s been training for at least 2 years—more is better of course— but at least 2 AND has a good following.
A good way to tell if a trainer is great is to ask them how long they’ve had clients. If a trainer is able to keep clients for years, then they’re probably doing something right. Ask them what types of clients they’ve had and see if they have a good niche. Just like doctors are educated into specializations, great trainers tend to focus on specific training techniques, i.e. weight loss, body building, training for endurance, etc. If you ask your trainer about his/her clients’ results and they mainly talk about bodybuilding and you’re looking to lose your baby weight after having given birth, it may not be a good match. Look for a trainer that services a clientele similar to YOU.
I’ve heard this all throughout my career. “Why are some trainers out of shape?” I really hate to say this, but would you listen to someone preach about health and wellness when they don’t follow their own philosophy? It just doesn’t make sense. Your trainer doesn’t have to have a perfect physique, don’t get me wrong! They just really need to have a good philosophy that they themselves abide by. Why should this be important? For one, it’s their JOB! Two, if they’re giving YOU health and fitness advice, how do you know it’s viable if they don’t follow it themselves? And three, they should be MOTIVATING. If you’re exercising and trying to eat right, but your trainer is talking about all the cheeseburgers and fries they eat, would that motivate you to eat better?
Ask about stretching! Will they stretch you after the workout? Stretching is an INTREGAL part of working out and is JUST AS IMPORTANT AS EXERCISING! If not, even more. Stretching is important for MANY reasons. Stretching keeps muscles flexible, strong, and healthy and helps increase flexibility to maintain good range of motion in the joints. Strength training puts a strain on your muscles, causes them to shorten and become tight, which puts you at risk for INJURIES like: joint pain, strains, and muscle damage. A great trainer will know that stretching is a MUST when you work out regularly. If your interviewee says they don’t ever stretch their clients or don’t believe in stretching run, RUN VERY FAR AWAY!
Although my blog topics can be very beneficial to your overall health, they are not intended for the purpose of providing medical advice. All content is for informational purposes only and is not intended to serve as a substitute for the consultation, diagnosis, and/or medical treatment of a qualified physician or healthcare provider. Every effort is made to ensure the accuracy of published information on or through my website, blog, e-mails, programs and services. However, the information may inadvertently contain inaccuracies or typographical errors. Every effort has been made to present you with the most accurate, up-to-date information, but because the nature of diet, fitness and health research is constantly evolving, we cannot be held responsible for the accuracy of our content.