Imagine this--your neighbor gets hurt on your property and you find yourself being sued. Unfortunately, your homeowner's insurance doesn't cover the situation so you must now get a lawyer.
Do you just call the first google listing or do you take time to research lawyers, finding reviews, asking around about their reputation, and making sure they have the proper education and credentials? My guess is the latter.
So why should choosing a personal trainer be any different? It might not seem like a lot is at stake--but why waste your time and money and potentially risk your health?
Unfortunately, finding a qualified trainer worth your time and money can be tricky. Anyone can can start an Instagram or put on a track suit and call themselves a trainer, without any of the proper training. The worst part is that so many people trust that they are the real deal.
So how do you know if your trainer is legit? Take a look at the things you should be looking out for!
What certifcation(s) or education do they have?
The first thing that you should ask a trainer for is their credentials. You want to ensure that your trainer has the proper education needed to train you safety and effectively. The best way to do this is to just ask.
Don't feel as though you are being rude. If they are offended chances are they aren't qualified. Anytime someone asks for my background I am very open with them. Any trainer that tries to quickly change the subject should throw up a red flag. There are so many different certifications out there so look for one that is nationally accredited such as the ones offered through the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA).
Are they pre-occupied?
Just because your trainer is on his phone doesn’t necessarily mean they are scrolling through their social media. From writing workouts and taking notes to using the timer, many trainers have now ditched the pen and clip board for their phone or tablet. However, if they are answering phone calls or showing you pictures from the night before, it’s not appropriate and you should probably ask for your money back.
What do they use mirrors for?
Mirrors are in the gym for a reason, and that reason isn't for a trainer to check themselves out. A personal trainer should use mirrors to give them a different angle to check your form and then give you cues to correct it if needed. If your trainer is more interested in their own reflection than your form, you may have a problem.
Can they motivate you?
Your trainer must be able to motivate. Don‘t expect him/her to be like Tony Robbins and give you a life changing speech every workout. They should,however, be able to push you to finish out a set that you are struggling on or give you confidence when trying a new exercise. Personal trainers that can do this are definitely worth your time and money.
Are they more of a friend than a trainer
Trainers that doubt their ability to get results or know that they lack the proper qualifications will use things like becoming your "friend" as a way to make sure that you don’t find a better trainer. It's fine to be friends with them, especially if you already were prior to training with them. Just make sure the two relationships stay separate. Don't be guilted by your friendship into staying with a trainer who isn't right for you.
Are they lazy?
Has your trainer ever pulled out a deck of cards and says that each suit is a different exercise? Example: diamonds equal push ups. This is one of my biggest pet peeves because it’s the laziest thing that a trainer can do. If it seems like you trainer just threw together some exercises for you, then they probably did. Random or cookie cutter exercises only hurt you in the end.
Can they show you your workout progression?
One of the main reasons you are with a personal trainer is to see some progress. You are making an investment in which you want and need to see a return on. A trainer who is too lazy to write down/type out your workouts, or worse, thinks they don't need to, shouldn't be training anyone. And you definitely shouldn't waste your time with them.
Do they know your goals?
There are many variables that go into designing a workout program. And one of the most important things that I use in writing a workout is the goals of the client. It effects nearly every exercise I prescribe. Your trainer should always know what your goals are and should be writing your plan with them in mind.
Do they insist pain is a good thing?
Everyone has heard this saying. it’s nice and catchy but is it true? The answer is NO.
Not in the physical sense. Not only is pain not normal, but it will only set you up for injury in the future. Muscle soreness and pain are two different things and people need to understand the difference. If your personal trainer insists that you have to be in pain in order to get results, they aren't worth your time or money.
This is just one of the 10 fitness fads that you should avoid I go over in one of my previous articles.
Do they assess your progress?
Any personal trainer that is qualified will perform regular assessments. You have to know where you are to know where you are going. So an initial assessment followed by consistent progress checks should be a part of every trainer's program.
This list is intended to help you find a great trainer, and just as importantly, to help you avoid the bad ones! Don't waste your time, money, and effort on a trainer that isn't right for you. You deserve a trainer that has your best interests at heart and that will put in as much work as you do!
This list is solely based on my opinion. If you there is something else that you think should be on this list please feel free to leave a comment below!