Finding a personal trainer to help you improve your health and fitness can be a tough task. What should a good personal trainer provide to you? What qualities are important to look out for in a trainer? Here's what we think...
First and foremost, it is the responsibility of any trainer to put their clients’ health first. This means a proper screening process, flagging up any potential barriers to exercise and even referring you to a doctor before beginning any kind of training program. The number one goal for any personal trainer should be to improve the health and quality of life of anyone they work with.
This can also mean not working with a potential client. If a trainer is not in a position to help someone, or lacks the relevant qualifications to do so, it’s their duty to refer you to someone who can help. Which brings us onto our next point…
Like I say, sometimes it may not be in your best interests to start a physical training program, or you may need a highly qualified and specialized practitioner to help you. The toughest thing for any trainer to do is to tell someone “I can’t help you,” but it can also be the most important thing they ever say to you.
All coaches and trainers have their specialties, training styles and specific qualifications. They also all have their limitations, or aspects of fitness and training in which they are not knowledgeable. Trainers need to be honest and open about the scope of their practice: that is, what they can and can’t do to help you.
For example, I do not practice, nor have a qualification in, CrossFit. So, if I have a prospective client requesting CrossFit training, I’m obliged to send them elsewhere. I can’t provide the service they want, and I need to let them know that.
The other place where honesty becomes important as a trainer is with regards to results. Trainers promising specific results in a limited amount of time are not being truly honest. What you need your trainer to do instead is show you how they will approach your goals, and tell you what is necessary to progress towards them.
It may sounds simple, but it’s important to for trainers to really listen to their clients, and take on board everything they have to say. Anything and everything you do with a personal trainer needs to be based on you as an individual – preferences, injuries, experience level and of course your training objectives.
So, it’s always a good think to ask “why?” Why are you doing that exercise? Why are you training ‘X’ many times per week? If what you want to achieve, and what you are actually doing with a trainer don’t line up, then it’s a conversation worth having with your trainer.
Ideally, you shouldn’t even have to ask “why?” all of the time – your trainer should be telling you, and teaching you about the exercises and style of training you are performing. When we work with clients at Core Training, we want them to learn as much as possible: not just about exercise in general, but specifically how to train themselves.
No client should end up being reliant on a personal trainer to perform exercise – they should end up understanding their body better; their physical strengths and limitations, what sort of training works best for them, and how to effectively perform any exercise they have been given. The more knowledgeable you become, the more progress you can make – we firmly believe this.
This should be the minimum anyone receives from his or her trainer. Ultimately, if your trainer is invested in you and your goals, the likelihood of you achieving them is much greater. How do you know if your trainer cares? Generally speaking, it means you know they are putting the time, energy and commitment into you as a person. Working with a personal trainer should not mean 1 hour’s work a week for them. Regular check-ins via skype, email or text message, spending time planning and periodising your training program, taking measurements and tracking your progress – these are just several ways that you can see your trainer cares about whether you progress or not. Just ask yourself – do they really want me to succeed? If the answer is yes, then the chances are, you will succeed.
If you are working with a trainer who ticks all of these boxes, then I believe you will be on the road to success.
My question for you now is – what about the other side of the relationship? What do you think are the:
“The Roles and Responsibilities of A Client”
Comment below or message us with your thoughts, and check back next week to find out what we think!