I chose to write about this based on a Facebook post I read. A woman stated that she wanted to start lifting weights and asked where she should train. I read the responses and felt like there was no effective direction in helping this young woman. I can imagine the process to be a little overwhelming with all the choices.
Below are five tips to think about when the finding the right personal trainer for you.
# 1. Know Your Goal.
Knowing your goal will simplify your search for a trainer. I have been training people for the last eleven years and part of my training system is to have an initial consultation. In this consultation, one of my questions and the most important question is “what is your goal.” To my surprise, many of the times the person has no idea. They know something has to change and will look anywhere for answers. Other times, I get answers like these:
“I want to lose weight”
“I want to get stronger”
“I want to make my basketball team”
Don’t get me wrong, these are all good answers but very general. Be specific with your goals. How much weight do you want to lose? Did you actually mean you wanted to lose fat? Why do you want to become stronger? Knowing answers to questions like these can help narrow you search for a trainer.
#2. Do Your Homework and Check Your Trainer’s Resume & Credentials.
I think this is the most overlooked piece. Ask your trainer who he or she has trained. Are they certified under a reputable source? These are not your online certifications either! Does he or she attend seminars regularly? When was the last time they did any continuing education? Did they get their exercises and programs off of YouTube or some website? You would be surprised what you find!!
#3. Make Sure Your Trainer Does Not Follow a Cookie Cutter Approach.
The cookie cutter approach to training is what bothers me the most. This is the approach where everyone in the gym is doing the same thing. There is no progressions/regressions or periodization to anything. Meaning everyone is doing the same the exercise despite their current fitness levels. The trainer or coach, in most cases, throws something together in the last minute and has everyone do the same thing. This is how injuries happen. A good trainer or coach should know when and how to progress or regress an exercise.
Below is an example of what a single leg deadlift progression would look like starting from the easiest variation and progressing to more difficult.
Another cookie cutter approach is the trainer that trains the way they do. That means if I were a Zumba instructor (I’m not), everyone would be doing Zumba regardless of the goal. Another example would be a trainer that would just use kettlebells (and I’m a kettlebell instructor). Your trainer should put his own personal training programs aside and develop a plan that would most benefit you.
#4. Does Your Trainer’s Facility Have the Necessary Equipment for You to Succeed?
This often gets overlooked. If your goal was sports specific training and you were at a gym with all machines and Bosu balls, how would you train effectively? How could you train kettlebells properly when the heaviest bell is 8kgs? I remember meeting a lady wanting to train for a powerlifting competition and she trained somewhere that didn’t have barbells? Make sure that the facility that you choose is best suited for your goals.
#5. Just Remember, You Get What You Pay For.
I don’t go to a fast food joint and expect a 5 star meal. If you’re paying peanuts for your training, expect tips 2, 3, and 4 to be in violation. Think about it, why would somebody charge basically nothing for their services? Don’t let the answer of “we’re trying to help more people by charging less” fool you. If finances are an issue, talk to your trainer and develop a plan to make it happen.
I hope this will help you in your quest to find a good trainer or coach in your area. Remember these five tips and your search will be a little less stressful.
#1. Know Your Goal
#2. Do Your Homework and Check Your Trainer’s Resume & Credentials
#3. Make Sure Your Trainer Does Not Follow a Cookie Cutter Approach
#4. Does Your Trainer’s Facility Have the Necessary Equipment for You to Succeed
#5. Just Remember, You Get What You Pay For
Ryan Zuver is the head trainer for Method Strength & Performance. He has eleven years of experience training athletes of all ages as well as fat loss clients. He holds certifications as Performance Enhancement Specialist and Corrective Exercise Specialist under the National Academy of Sports Medicine and a Level 2 Kettlebell Instructor under Strong First. He is also certified in the Functional Movement Screen. You can contact him via email below or call him at 717-634-4355 with any questions.