What is the difference between good and bad? When it comes to a personal trainer usually the answer is a whole lot. Honestly anyone can study and pass a test to become a certified trainer, but that doesn’t mean they will be a good one.
A trainer should have a certain number of traits that makes them the right choice to guide you at the gym and help you reach your fitness goals. If you truly want someone that knows what they are doing then you need to ask the tough questions and assess their ability, much like you would when shopping for a car.
These are the things you should consider before deciding to pay good money for a personal trainer:
- Do they evaluate you? – If someone creates a training program for you or starts you on a generic program without actually taking the time to assess your physical capabilities and finding your weaknesses then they aren’t right for you. Ideally a trainer provides personalized service and experience that benefits you. That means understanding what you can and can’t do from flexibility and strength to cardiovascular conditioning before the program is selected.
- Evaluate their program – Does the program work for both your short term and long term goals? Does the plan address weaknesses and then have some level of consistency? Does the plan have a clear level of progression so you can improve?
- Record keeping – A good trainer should have complete files on clients. That allows them to chart what works for current clients and draw upon experience from past clients. Also it is a way to show potential clients what they have done for other people. Being a good trainer is a business, not just a side job.
- How do they look? – One benchmark people consider first is how the trainer looks. Do they have the type of body you want? While it is superficial, it is also important because that gives you an idea how they train themselves and the type of results they achieved. If you want to add lots of muscle then working with a stick-thin trainer might not be the best idea.
- What is their education? – While anyone can pass a certification test, people who are serious about being trainers usually want to learn more and will have additional layers of education and certification to make them better at their jobs. That means attending seminars, studying nutrition, and learning more than just the basics.
Remember, a trainer is someone you hire to help make your goals a reality. Often times when people join a gym they are given an offer of personal training at a discounted price and take it without truly vetting the person who they are entrusting to work with them. An inexperienced trainer or one who is simply ‘doing a job’ won’t provide anywhere near the level of expertise that a true professional trainer can provide.
That is an important distinction when you consider the money you are spending. Most people don’t have the finances available to just throw money away. If you want or need a trainer then you should expect to get something more than what you can pick out of a magazine. That means personal experience, a personalized program, and good coaching to help you meet and exceed your goals.