5 Rules for Finding a QUALIFIED Personal Trainer

I am writing this not for shear amusement, but out of necessity. The personal training industry is a joke. The average personal trainer lasts maybe 4-5 years before they move on to a “real job”. The industry as it stands lacks knowledge, experience, results, and most of all passion. Thus, the need for some intervention; here are some rules to follow when choosing who you want to train with:

You have the right to choose: Don’t assume that all trainers are created equal; in fact, it’s probably best to assume that the majority of them don’t know their ass from their elbow until proven otherwise. This creates the need for you to qualify who gets to work with you. Look for certifications, experience training, and spend some time watching what kind of clients these trainers are working with. Does the trainer stand in the corner with their arms crossed yawning, or are they actively involved in their client’s workout? Go home and look up their certifications to determine whether they have a weekend certification or an actual college degree plus ancillary accreditations. Sometimes they make a difference, sometimes they don’t, but you need to make informed decisions before the rubber hits the road.

2)   Your trainers’ ass should not be bigger than your own: While I may be a tad superficial, this is a pretty valid statement. If they can’t figure out how to get lean themselves, then the odds are pretty good they will have no clue how to get you lean. Your trainer should make it a priority to keep themselves #1. They should look good, feel good, have energy and be a representation of what you desire to become. Most importantly, they should be passionate about training you. If they show up late every day, exhausted, sucking down coffee and checking their cell phone during your workout, then they don’t deserve your time or money.

3)   What are your goals and how will you achieve them: A good personal trainer will not only ask you what your goals are, but make a clear outline as to EXACTLY how you will reach those goals. It’s commonplace to see trainers doing the same workout with every single client, be they large, small, young or old. Typically their prescribed programs are just replicas of what they like to do in the gym. A good trainer will come prepared with a structured exercise program as well as nutritional guidelines. For example, you want to lose 8 lbs in 8 weeks and 3% body fat. In order to determine what steps need to be taken to achieve said goal, you will need to undergo some baseline testing to find out your current weight, body fat, physical abilities and imbalances as well as fill out some type of questionnaire that will inform the trainer of your current eating habits, health conditions and commitment level at the very least. If you show up on day one and with no assessment and no plan, then you will be much less likely to achieve those goals. As one of my mentor’s like’s to say, “If you’re not assessing, then you’re guessing.”

4)   They should get results: If you have been working with a trainer without either setting goals, or making gains towards those goals, then there is a serious problem. Assuming you are follow the trainer’s guidelines EXACTLY, and they are realistic, and not getting results, then it may be time to move on or have a serious discussion with them about how to get things moving in the right direction. You are a walking testimonial as to how good your trainer is. If you aren’t willing to do what he/she says, then you should save both of your time and effort and re-evaluate your goals and desire for success.

5)   They attend continuing education seminars: The biggest difference I see in effective vs. ineffective trainers is their desire for knowledge. It’s clear that those that attend at least 2-4 seminars per year are infinitely more successful than those that are content doing the same thing year after year. A good trainer will constantly be refining his/her practice, trying new things, and taking the necessary steps to help you achieve your goals. That means referring out to other specialists, be it a chiropractor, naturopath, nutritionist, etc…  A good trainer knows that they don’t know everything!

I know all this because I am guilty of all this. However, I make it a point to get better at what I do every day. I feel blessed to have the opportunity to help people look, feel and perform better and the day I stop caring about my client’s success, is the day I turn in my stopwatch for something else that motivates me. Personal training is not for everyone, and not every personal trainer is right for everyone. Hopefully by adhering to the rules with-in, you can better find the trainer that will be right for you. Best of luck!

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