Summer is upon us and if you were one of the few who stayed active throughout winter then you are noticing more and more faces in the gym, and if you are me, you aren’t here for it.
A personal trainer can be a great asset but a bad one can do more harm than good.
If you're going to invest time, money, and trust in a person to guide you in the right direction, then you need to make the right choice. Hitting up the nearest pretty boy or girl may not turn out so great if you find out their brains are all in their biceps! So, here are a few ways you can be proactive about finding the right personal trainer for your lifestyle, body type and goals.
Please bare in mind that you don’t have to train under people who believe that health and fitness can only look a certain way.
Through my time in this industry I’ve found that most people who approach a trainer, inquire apologetically, sometimes feeling inadequate about their current health status. I want to remind you that reaching out to make a change is a powerful move. Celebrate the fact that you are ready to kick start a new way of living and actively take steps towards becoming the best version of you.
The trainer-client relationship is an intimate one, so finding the right fit is essential for success, it’s okay to vet your trainer and ask them some tough questions.
Here are a few things you can look out for when seeking a trainer:
1. They don’t push for restrictive eating.
I personally don’t believe in counting calories (I love food too much), but there are trainer and clients out there who are in search of a journey that encourages counting macros and such. For me it ultimately boils down to the clients goals, but I prefer to measure a client's performance and growth without a scale in the room. I encourage my clients to focus more on how they feel and use their improved overall strength and performance as markers of success.
2. They have experience working with clients of different sizes
Trainers who have experience backing them up are the best to work with, those who have been exposed to all types of sizes are the creme de la creme. Experienced trainers have worked with different sizes so therefore have the know how to write a program for all types of clients. For example, a size-friendly trainer won’t ask a heavy beginner client to perform burpees because they understand that someone with that weight in their mid-front will find it difficult to maneuver. They also pick up on this right away inside of mid-workout and their experience will allow them to make the necessary modifications so that their client will always feel like every workout is a success.
3. They listen to your goals & keep them at the center of your journey
Imagine walking into a grocery store and you ask the staff to show you where the peanut butter is and they take you to the frozen foods section, I mean! Not the best example but you get the point. I personally think I useless personal trainer is one that does not listen to your goals and work with your abilities, so If you have a trainer who decides your goals for you, it’s time to let him or her go.. We all know what happens when we assume.
4. They respect your barriers
Look for a trainer who will cater to your personal needs, how you learn and adapt. Some people want to be pushed to their limits by a drill sergeant type, while others work better with positive reinforcement and gentle encouragement. Your trainer should fit your personality and motivation style.
This is someone who you will be spending a lot of time with, so comfort and ease of communication are essential. Don’t be afraid to ask direct questions about their coaching style and nudge them if they aren’t doing it for you.
5. They pick up on unspoken cues
I believe picking up on vibes and social cues is a paramount skill, as a trainer we are schooled in the rating of perceived exertion which essentially a rating system from 1 - 10, measuring/ rating whatever the trainer would like to know from the client eg. how much does that hurt.
However, there are more cues beyond that, I find that when a client gets really quiet it's often a sign that they are at or close to their limit and that this is a good time for a check-in. I keep my eye on their facial expressions and take note of any facial colouring, sweating and breathing. A woke trainer will understand their client's abilities and not try to project their personal fitness levels, abilities onto their client.
6. They are body positive
Motivation must never come from shame, pain or strain. Our bodies are amazing and the idea that you need to be ‘ready’ because swimsuit season is upon us is a very cruel way to motivate. As a trainer I aim to elevate and celebrate who my clients are and the body they live in while they work towards becoming the best version of themselves.