Going to a gym or your first boot camp can be intimidating. Gyms are welcoming when you sign up, but fail to continue building on that relationship once they have your money. The same can be said for many personal trainers, weight loss coaches or anyone selling you a service. I’m not saying or implying your local trainers or gyms are all just after your money. I’ve met gym owners and personal trainers that genuinely care about their client’s health, but today volume of clients is more important than the clients.
I made the intimidation factor worse, didn’t I? Don’t worry, follow this little guide and you’ll find the right personal trainer or gym. A little research and asking yourself, and your personal trainer or gym staff, will cut through the fog.
Always begin your search with Google. Google the gym, personal trainer or specific program you plan to invest your time and money in. It is an investment. You are spending money to get a better body, healthier lifestyle or just feel better about yourself. Treat it like any other investment. You wouldn’t drop $1,000 on a business venture without knowing all the details and players, would you? Make sure you are spending your time and money wisely.
While you are researching, you will find Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook and other social media accounts showing images and comments of gyms and trainers. Social media is for sharing photos or your meal, funny cat videos and marketing. Keep that marketing part in mind. Look at personal trainers and coaches that respond to clients or questions on social media or on the trainer or coach’s website. You want that engagement because it shows they care enough about their business to know clients need more than the hour they paid for today. Hopefully, they care enough about their business and clients to go the extra mile and invest their time in their clients without always needing a dollar.
The focus for the remainder of this post will be mostly on personal trainers, weight loss or other coaches. A gym is what you make of it. Some gyms will offer guidance, but most want an extra fee to assign you a personal trainer or they want to sign you up for classes. There’s nothing wrong with that- that’s how they keep membership rates low to accommodate everyone.
What do you want or need to get from your personal trainer?
Goals. Goals. Goals. I talk about goals more than anything. I want to lose weight is not a goal. I want to lose thirty pounds or I want to train for a marathon this fall are goals. Goals are specific. Goals have a start and end date, or weight in many cases. Decide what your goals are and find a personal trainer that offers programs that lend themselves to you achieving your goals.
Do you need a personal trainer to get you started or stay until the end? You can use a personal trainer to guide you on those first steps to fitness. You’ll learn a lot from a good trainer and you can learn more via Google. Keep in mind half of what you read online is not based on science so you’ll need to learn how to navigate the evil world of lose weight fast scams. But what about motivation?
As a personal trainer, I find that motivation is important. It is as important as a good exercise or nutritional plan. My job is to tell you what to do to reach your goals and give you the tools or knowledge to do it. My job is also to keep you motivated. I want to know why you didn’t make it to a class. I want to know why you are struggling with eating healthy at home. I want to know what problems stand between you and I reaching your goals together. Motivating you to push through hard times or saying no to pizza is as much my job as telling you which exercise to do today. You want a personal trainer that feels the same way.
What kind of relationship do you want with your personal trainer?
Virtual training is the least personal form of training, but it can be a big help when you don’t have time to visit a gym daily or a personal trainer. If you don’t have much time to invest, virtual training might be a good fit for you. That said, it’s your health – make time.
I try to be available as much as possible online, by phone or via my app to answer questions or support my clients in their fitness journey. A trainer should at least know you well enough to recognize you at the mall and remember your name. That may seem odd, but recognizing you outside the gym or class shows the trainer is investing their time in you. You’re not getting a cookie cutter exercise or nutrition plan; you are getting a tailored experience.
Beyond all that, a personal trainer should have a website with contact information or a contact form. They should have social media accounts for you to ask questions or offer a review. An app can be a big investment and many trainers won’t have an app, but having one is a bonus to you. These three things let you interact with your trainer anytime. They also give you a way to ask questions. Contacting your trainer for advice or help with motivation should be easy. Don’t forget trainers have lives and families outside work like anyone else when you decide you need motivation at 3 AM.
Do you like your trainer?
Does your trainer have a good personality? Are they always positive? A good sense of humor is important in every corner of life.
A personal trainer should never intimidate you or compare you to other clients. “So and so was my best client,” or, “my other clients can do it,” are things you should never hear from your trainer. I know every body and every personality is different. No two clients will have the same problems. You should be the focus of any conversation about your fitness goals. What other clients can do doesn’t matter – only what you can do. A trainer should leave you feeling motivated and energized. If you come away from a session or class feeling intimidated or negative, get a new trainer.
Is your trainer certified?
This is a gray area. There are a ton of programs online that will certify you as a personal trainer. Some are cheap and you can take the test until you pass. Some only require you pay the fee and they hand you a certification. A personal trainer is not required, in my state, to have a license or certification. So be careful when you look at this part of your trainers portfolio. You want a certified trainer, but be sure they went through a program that requires they actually learn how to train you. ISSA is a great program and it’s the one I used to get and stay certified. ACE and NASM are also good programs. Other programs are hit and miss. Once you know where your trainer got their training, Google it.
Always ask yourself what you want to get from anything you plan to invest time and money in. Expect, or demand, those you invest money with invest time. Above all else, if you don’t feel good about what you are doing, your trainer is negative or your trainer is intimidating, start shopping for a new personal trainer.