Choosing A Personal Trainer
As Greg Plitt said “most of these personal trainers look like they need a fuckin’ personal trainer!” having been around to my fair share of gyms I don’t disagree. The majority of personal trainers you see on the floor in commercial gyms fit into one of two categories:
- They’re in the industry to socialize, they’re happy for you half ass your set while they gossip to you about their weekend
- They’ve had their soul sucked out of them and are alive but not living, running you through a generic workout without picking up on any imperfections in form of providing any motivation for you to push through that temporary discomfort as you begin to struggle through your sets
Not every personal trainer is like this though; there are trainers out there with immense knowledge, drive and work ethic to better the lives of their clients. If you’re set on getting a personal trainer consider the following six factors to ensure you’re getting the real deal:
Do they practise what they preach?
When you’re hiring a personal trainer you should have a goal in mind, you’re going to the gym with a purpose. This could be to increase your endurance for a triathlon or it could be to pack on 30lbs of lean muscle mass and compete in a bodybuilding competition…
If your potential personal trainer is telling you they’re able to help you gain those 35lbs of lean muscle mass have they gained 35lbs of lean muscle mass themselves? If not I wouldn’t give it a second more thought, how can they sell a service or product they haven’t proven possible themselves yet?
Their body is their resume – would you hire them?
Different careers, jobs and professions have different points of entry. Here in Australia any fool can gain their personal training qualifications in just over a month (the more you pay the quicker you get it!) unlike a career as a doctor or a surgeon where every qualified individual has gone through years upon years of study, tests, assessments and work placements the barrier of entry into the personal training industry could not be lower, like I said – anyone can do it.
After speaking to the owner of my gym it became apparent to me that every single resume getting handed in for a vacant personal trainer position almost looked identical! When the interviews come around is when the go-getters get separated from the no-getters. First impressions count not count more here – the condition of your potential personal trainer’s physique is their resume. There is absolutely no acceptable reason to be out of shape if you’re a personal trainer.
If your potential personal trainer has the physique you’re aiming for then I’d consider hiring them, if they look like they need a personal trainer themselves there is no amount of qualifications or excuses that can redeem from this.
Do they keep an eye on the clock?
A terrible personal trainer will keep an eye on the clock, counting down every remaining minute of your workout because they can’t wait to get out of the gym for the day and tick off your weekly session. They can’t wait to see you the following week and do the exact same thing (after collecting your hard earned cash of course and ticking the box).
A good personal trainer will wear a watch and will ONLY keep an eye on their watch to time the rest intervals between your sets and exercises. Every serious personal trainer I have seen wears a watch.
Have any of their clients achieved what you’re setting out to do?
Social proof is the ultimate builder of credibility. A personal trainer can talk about their results or speculate about the results they can get you but what is their past performance like?
Have they helped current or previous clients achieve their goals?
Do they log your workouts and keep you accountable?
The average personal trainer will run you through a workout routine, take your money and pencil you in their diary for your next workout routine.
A good personal trainer will go above and beyond to record your workouts in a log book, excel spreadsheet or training application. As progressive overload is the key to muscle growth unless your personal trainer is keeping tabs on your reps, sets and weight lifted how are they going to know whether progressive overload is being applied and your progressing? They’re not.
Are they a trainer or a socializer?
Are they focused on pushing you through your workout and getting you results or are they more concerned about merely passing the time by talking, taking inconsistence breaks and gaps between exercises and sets?
The primary goal of your personal trainer is to TRAIN you and kick your ass in order to help you reach your goals, if you wanted someone to spend 45 minutes or an hour with you and not do much you may as well be checking yourself in to day care.