Navigating the fitness world can be exhausting, especially if you are new to it. Perhaps you want to start an exercise program and are aware that the help of a professional would be beneficial. But what you should know is that not every fitness professional is the same! Also, the experiences you’ve had in the past, whether they have been positive or negative, may not be foreshadowings of future ones. We’ll help you think of what to consider when hiring a fitness professional from now on:
1.) Education. Just because someone has a degree in exercise science, does not make them a good trainer, as they may be lacking in experience. Also, they may have received the degree well before current exercise science discoveries. An experienced trainer with a formal degree is a definite plus, but continuing education is key. Even lacking a formal degree, there are MANY ways that a trainer can educate him/herself (classes, workshops, certifications, schools, etc.). Continuous education is ESSENTIAL in this field as scientific findings are ever changing. You want a trainer who is up on the LATEST research. Ask your potential trainer what he or she is doing to continue her education.
2.) Experience. How many bodies has this person worked with? If someone says they have 10 years of experience, were ALL of those years working with people full time? Or did this person just see a few clients a month for 10 years? Or take a break from training for an 8-year job in accounting? What KIND of experience do they have? Perhaps they have only worked with athletes or a specific demographic. Ask questions pertaining to their level of experience working with people with YOUR specific goals.
3.) What they look like. This has zero to do with their ability to train. Don’t make the mistake of picking a trainer who has a body that you want. That individual may be enjoying “good” genetics and perhaps always looked like that. Maybe they have a particular diet that you would not be able to follow. Maybe they workout way more than you realistically can, given your schedule. Many people become trainers because they like to workout. Working yourself out, and having the knowledge and experience to work with another person’s body are two completely different things. A six-pack means nothing in terms of how effectively he or she can train you.
4.) Popularity. The most popular trainers are not always the best; they may just be the best at marketing themselves. A celebrity client may have been the result of a serendipitous opportunity or some other connection. This does not mean that all popular trainers are bad. Simply, popularity is no indication of greatness.
5.) Observe what they do. Does she train every client in the same way with the same exercises? Unless all of his/her clients have the same body, this should not be the case. Does he pay more attention to the mirror or to his phone than his client? Does he/she do things with a client that looks to be above that person’s skill set? Does the client seem engaged with the movements? These are things you should be thinking about.
6.) First session. EVERY trainer should have some kind of assessment or evaluation process as part of your first session. If not, there is no way that person can know whether, or not, what they are doing is safe/appropriate for you. Was your medical history inquired about or any injuries? What about your lifestyle or dietary habits? Work environment? The more questions the better. If the trainer obliterated you during a workout without first inquiring about your movement history or lifestyle you should RUN AND NEVER LOOK BACK (or walk quickly if running hurts you).
7.) Motivation. What made that person decide to be a trainer? Did they lose their job and decide to take up training because they like to workout? Or do they have a genuine passion for it? If you want to know, ask.
8.) Nutrition. Learning about the mechanics of human movement is an entire life’s work. Learning about nutrition is also an entire life’s work. It means nothing if your trainer doesn’t know about nutrition. They may just be focusing on what is more important for their career. The worst is when trainers who are not educated in nutrition give diet advice. If your trainer gives you nutrition advice, ask about his or her qualifications for giving that advice. If you want nutrition advice go to a nutritionist.
9.) Price. For the most part, you get what you pay for. There is a reason why some trainers get paid $30 a session and some $300. Remember, this is an investment in YOUR HEALTH. Your body is only worth what you think it is. If you are trying to save money in this endeavor, don’t be surprised if you get short-changed in other ways. You might be saving money now, but that future rotator cuff injury will cost you…
If you still feel unsure, or if all of this information is overwhelming, you could just, you know, hire us 😉