If you are ready to start a workout routine and don’t really know where to start or what to do, a personal trainer is a great way to go. Or if you have already done everything you possibly could on your own and you’ve reached that dreaded plateau, a personal trainer might be the solution to your problem. A personal trainer can be very useful in helping you reach goals that you thought might be out of your grasp. How do you go about picking one that’s best for you?
First thing’s first: Make sure they are certified by a nationally recognized organization. Anyone who can pick things up and put them down can claim to be a personal trainer, but people who carry the certification have most likely been trained and tested to make sure they know how the body works and how exercise can affect you, individually. Personally, I chose the Cooper’s Institute as the place to get my training and certification. This place is the gold standard in certification and the test I had to take to get my title proves it. Hardest. Test. Ever. You’ll also want to make sure they are CPR Certified.
See if they have any extra certifications or training, especially if you have very specific goals in mind. If you want to be a body builder, you will want to go to a trainer who has been trained specifically for that type of workout, and you will probably want them to have experience in that field. I have been trained in boot camps, therefore, anyone who comes to my boot camp can feel assured that I know exactly what I’m doing.
See if you can meet with them before your first day of exercise to see if you are compatible personality-wise. If you are someone who doesn’t do well under stress, you may not want a Jillian Michaels type trainer barking orders at you. You also will want to discuss your goals with them, and if they ever say (without a specific reason like injury), “You will never be able to do that,” WALK AWAY. You want someone who is right there with you, encouraging you to meet your goals.
As far as finding one, most gyms offer the service of a personal trainer. A lot of gyms even give you one free session with a trainer. Take them up on their offer! Check it out. If you don’t like it, you didn’t pay any extra. If you don’t really mesh well with that particular trainer, ask him/her if they can recommend anyone else. They may know of someone who freelances (like me), and isn’t associated with a gym. Network: ask your friends, put out a facebook question, ask your co-workers if they know of a good trainer. Then, meet up with that trainer and do the above step.
During the session, if you get that far, you’ll want to make sure your trainer is focused on you. He/She should not be on their phone, talking to other people, doing their own workout, etc. You have paid them for one hour (or more) and deserve their undivided attention. You’ll also want to make sure your trainer has made a progressive workout for you, and hasn’t started you on something that’s way too hard or way too easy. If you’re sore for days after every single workout, its probably a bit too hard for you. Now, you’ll need to expect soreness, especially on the first day, but if its painful, or happens every single time for long periods of time, you need to discuss it with your trainer. If they are unwilling to change the workout, change trainers. Your trainer should always be looking out for your safety during a session. He/She should be talking to you about alignment, and giving you safety cues so you don’t hurt yourself.
A trainer, in my opinion, should NEVER try to sell you supplements. Always consult your doctor before you take any form of supplement or vitamin or anything. Unless your trainer is also a registered dietitian or nutritionist, then you may be able to trust their judgement. Also, your trainer should educate you on healthy eating habits, but, again, if they are not a nutritionist or dietitian, they should not be making detailed meal plan for you.
Remember, a personal trainer is just that, personal. Hopefully these tips can help you make that big decision of picking someone who will be helping you on your journey to health.
Stay sweaty, my friends!
Shout out to Hayley for the idea for this blog!