There’s more to it than you think
The New Year is almost upon us, and you know what that means: New Year’s Resolutions!
And with that amply in mind, this coming year is the year you’ve decided that you’re going to stop just READING about fitness and start LIVING it. Because you have no idea where to start (and that’s okay), you’ve decided you’re going to hire a personal trainer, and that’s a great idea. Or it can be, anyway. The difference between a good personal trainer and a bad personal trainer is a gulf about as vast and cavernous as that between a Yugo and a Ferrari. Read carefully below to make sure you end up choosing the latter instead of the former. This is not an exhaustive list, but will definitely get you on the right track.
Any personal trainer worth his or her salt should…
1) Ask you about YOUR goals.
– “Let’s begin your marathon training now!”
“…but I don’t want to run a marathon, I just want to lose some fat, feel better, and be able to keep up with my kids.”
“Too damn bad! Lace up – we’re going to hit 10 miles today!”
Would you pay for this? I would hope not. Extreme as this example may be, if your trainer isn’t asking you what to accomplish, how can you expect them to get you to your goals?
2) Explain how he/she will help you reach those goals
– “Trust me” is not a good explanation on how to reach your objectives (unless you’re Indiana Jones. In which case, carry on). You don’t need a complex scientific paper to show how it will work, but he or she should at the very least be able to explain why the path they’re going to put you down is the right one for your needs.
3) Inquire about your injury history.
– I can tell you from experience, this can reveal a LOT of information on what you can speed ahead on and where you must tread very cautiously, as well as what you might NOT want to do right off the bat. I’ve turned away potential students in the past who had a long-standing issue that I simply couldn’t help them work around, and your personal trainer should be willing to do the same instead of just attempting to separate you from your money while putting your health and safety at risk.
4) Mix what you want with what you need.
– Hate flexibility work, but you’re about as limber as a 2×4? Then guess what? In addition to working toward your next PR in the overhead press/squat/pullup/whatever, you’re also going to stretch (I don’t care how dirty that word is among certain fitness circles, stretching works and is important). In all likelihood, filling gaps left by avoidance of stuff you hate but is good for you will do just as much – if not more – for your fitness goals as tweaking and moving ever forward on your pet lifts. The stuff you hate is often the stuff you need. Whine all you want, you’re gonna eat your vegetables before you get any dessert.
5) Educate you on why you are doing what you’re doing to make you a more informed consumer.
– The road to better fitness and health is a road fraught with danger and deception – namely at the hands of snake oil salesmen looking to hock the latest fad and phase at you to try to perform their favorite exercise – the purse-string pull (for reps, if possible). The answer to better fitness and health couldn’t be simpler (and it’s contained below), but there are plenty of folks out there looking to take advantage of your ignorance to woo you into buying sh*t you don’t need. The more you know and understand about why you are walking down the path your trainer has set for you, the less likely you are to be scammed by these turds.
6) Instill upon you the virtue of consistency over intensity.
– A little done often beats a lot done occasionally. Personally, I don’t care if my students don’t set records, don’t do YouTube compilation-worthy feats, and don’t make it onto the cover of a fitness magazine. I care that they get better every time they meet with me and do their homework. I care that they drop the jaws of people who haven’t seen them in a while, look/feel better, and learn the joy of movement and the art of expressing their bodies. This is done by consistency, NOT showing up once every two weeks and doing a workout that would make a Navy SEAL take notes. Show up, do work, go back to your regularly scheduled program, repeat.
Got anything you would add to the above list? Feel free to add it in the comments section below. Otherwise, get out there, look for a good personal trainer, and make 2015 the healthiest and fittest year of your life!