Joining a gym with no prior experience but not hiring a trainer is the dumbest thing you can do. That is right next door to buying a car then driving it before you’ve attended driver’s education.
No, your buddy who’s in pretty good shape should not be your trainer.
People are apparently in good shape for many reasons, including genetics, pharmacological overrides, and dietary behavior.
This does not mean they understand the intricacies of the lumbo-pelvic-hip complex, or how to make that fancy term have any meaning to you. (If you spend your day sitting it’s gonna be really important to you.)
If you’re really impressed by acronyms, then look for a trainer with tons of these crammed onto his business card.
Alternatively, ask your prospective trainer about his most relevant certification. Ask him what he takes most from that cert. Ask him to write down the name, then research it online.
What are people saying about that cert? Does it match what your prospective fitness guide was talking about or are people talking about what a garbage certification it is?
In larger gyms, you should haven’t a problem with this. They usually vet certification programs, only allowing certain certifications to stand as qualifiers.
Still, do your homework. If you are training for strength but connect with a trainer who specializes in functional training, you may get frustrated in the long run. You may not, but talk to your trainer about these types of disparities.
Clarity of communication is easy to cite as on of the biggest opportunities in any relationship, but the brass tacks of how communication breaks down between two individuals is a kaleidoscope of variables.
The basic rules always apply. You need to feel heard and understood. Your trainer needs to message you proactively, as you’ve dictated, but beyond those basics, it’s a relationship-by-relationship experience. When it works, it’s nearly magic.
Some things to look out for: During your first session, you should walk away with a good sense of your prospective trainer’s communication style. If you aren’t crystal clear on how you will connect, how often, and what’s expected of you, then beware.
There should never be a question for you about next steps. When you walk out of the gym, you should know your homework, you should know when you will connect again, and you should feel cared for.
Consideration goes beyond confirming appointments, it means considering client needs at all times.
It’s not about picking up your weights for you, although that would be lovely. If your goal requires you to burn as many calories as possible, then you may need to do that work yourself.
If you are the sort of person who likes your weights picked up for you, then look for a trainer who will clean up after you. In any case, these details should be agreed upon early in the training.
Your trainer should immediately be attempting to assess your needs. While he may get it wrong, he should always consider your unique needs then accommodate them.
Personal training is never cheap. Expect five-star courtesy every time because you’re paying for it.
Consistency is the core of trust. If you don’t get a sense of consistency, then take note. Consider your prospective trainer’s message. Does he practice what he teaches?
Nobody is perfect, please. Your trainer doesn’t have to be Mr. Olympia, but he should at least maintain some level of fitness. If he can cite no reference for personal fitness, like cardiorespiratory endurance, strength or athleticism, then your spidey-senses should be blaring.
In the long run, you will have a hard time with coaching given by a trainer you don’t respect. Get away as quickly as possible.
Not only does he have self-confidence; does he have your confidence? Do you trust him? Trust is built on consistent behavior. A trainer with lackluster integrity is not only hard to listen to, he may neglect you to the point that you injure yourself.
It’s true, even with the best trainers, injuries can happen. They shouldn’t be due to negligence on the part the trainer.
Cockiness is no substitute for confidence. An arrogant trainer is a definite red flag. Avoid. Avoid. Avoid. Cocky trainers believe that nobody can do what they do. They have no humility.
A confident trainer is comfortable in his skin but knows that he is only as valuable as he makes himself every day. He works overtime to prove that value.
He’s not threatened by other trainers who could replace him. In fact, he welcomes the competitiveness. It makes him work harder.
Plan to make notes when you vet trainers. In fact, plan to take notes once you pick a trainer.
Be a good client. Don’t be the passive client who expects his trainer to write down everything. He should, but you should take notes too. You will learn faster this way.