Let’s face it, personal trainers are a dime a dozen. Spend some time in the gym and you will be faced with a realization, almost every gym rat has been, is now, or is currently in the process of becoming a personal trainer. Its a career path with little barriers to entry that can also be highly rewarding both personally and financially. Unfortunately, this ease of entry has resulted in a fitness industry which is currently flooded with personal trainers who are, to put it kindly, subpar at best.
Subpar trainers will be seen joking with coworkers, flirting with a gym member, or texting and making phone calls while they should be supervising their client. Frequently, when they are being attentive to their client, the only guidance they offer is simply counting the repetitions of a set. Although their intentions may be good, subpar trainers often ask their clients to perform exercises that are simply not appropriate for the client’s fitness goals. The result of these activities is wasted time, wasted effort, and a discouraged client.
As if that weren’t bad enough, many personal trainers are simply outright dangerous. Dangerous trainers go beyond the unprofessional or inattentive behavior of the subpar ones. They will have clients perform exercises with poor form, often at a dangerous breakneck pace. Dangerous trainers prescribe exercises that are too advanced for a client to master at their current fitness level, with the outcome being injuries to the client instead of progress.
Do not allow yourself to become a victim of this epidemic of subpar personal training! You can protect yourself by having these 5 questions answered before you consider retaining any personal trainer’s services.
Does this trainer walk the walk? As obvious as this may sound, any trainer worth their salt should be in great shape or at least appear to be fit. If a trainer can’t keep themselves on track with their own fitness regimen then it’s going to be hard for them to inspire, hold accountable, and motivate you to new levels. There may be exceptions to this, but I don’t feel this is a risk worth taking with your investment of time, money, and hard work. I have seen too many trainers, people who obviously could use a trainer themselves, that consistently fail in leading their clients to their goals. A wise man once told me, “You cannot lead someone any farther than you have been yourself.”
Is the trainer certified…with experience? Would you wager your retirement with a financial planner who has been in practice for 3 months, or your life with a brain surgeon who has been in practice for 6 months? Your health and long term fitness success are just as important should be considered with the same weight. Never work with a trainer who is not certified from a nationally recognized organization! A certified trainer will have an understanding of safe exercise protocols and should carry liability insurance in the event you get injured. There are risks associated with any exercise program, but exposing yourself to unnecessary risk as a guinea pig for a rookie trainer is never a good decision. Ask to see the trainer’s certification and then check how recently it’s dated. If it’s less than a year old be cautious. If they can’t produce a certification then you need to look for another trainer.
Does the trainer have documented success stories? The best trainers will connect with their clients, and these connections produce success. A great trainer is someone who has made an impact on their client with the result being a life transformed. If your candidate is able to produce evidence of this in the form of before and after photos of past clients, letters of recommendation, and thank you cards for a job well done, then they are looking like a winner. Be warned, if the only success photo’s the trainer has show him or herself, then this raises some doubts about their ability to lead you to your goals. A few of the worst trainers I have encountered are competitive bodybuilders whom have had very impressive pictures of themselves, but a track record of little to no success with achieving their client’s goals.
Will they provide you with a program, not just a workout? The best trainers will give you a comprehensive training program. There is a difference between a program and a workout. A workout produces sweat, but a program is a system designed to produce a specific result. When you speak with a trainer the first thing they should be asking is, “What are your goals?” In return you should receive from them an outline of the protocols you will use to reach your goals. A sound training program is all encompassing. It should consist of strength and cardiovascular training, nutrition guidelines, accountability, measurements of progress, and sets shorter term goals to keep you motivated. Run away, don’t walk, from any trainer who doesn’t ask your goals up front and then outline the system they will use to measure progression to those goals. Your chances of success are slim at best without a comprehensive program designed to lead you to your goals.
Why are they working as a personal trainer? The best trainers are motivated by a desire to make an impact in people lives. I have interviewed many trainers and the best answers to this question are statements like “Sharing the excitement of a client weighing in at a low they have not seen since college” or “I enjoy fitness myself and want to share my passion and inspire others.” With answers like these it’s obvious that the trainer wants to help others, and the answer you are looking for from a candidate should indicate that they are 100% motivated by helping you reach your goals. If you are get answers like “it pays well while I go to school”, “training is fun”, or “I like working out” then keep looking. You need a trainer who has a passion for seeing changes in you. Raw Actives best trainers will put your goals first! You do not want to hire someone who took the job because they are more concerned with their own circumstances or looking to make an easy buck.