When it comes to fitness and accomplishing your goals how in the world do you know where to start? In a market that is flooded with the latest and greatest fad diets, quick fixes, and late night infomercials promising lasting results, it’s hard to sort through the seemingly endless list of possibilities. We are constantly bombarded with pictures of flawless physiques and promises of how to accomplish them in the shortest amount of time possible.
I don’t want to burst anyone’s bubble, but here goes. When it comes to investing in your future health and accomplishing lasting results there are no quick fixes. There are no magic pills and there are no programs that will get you the results that you want in 5 minutes a day or less like the commercials claim. If you are lost in your fitness journey or if you don’t know where to start, then getting yourself a personal trainer can be one of the greatest investments you can make in your future health. Unfortunately, just like everything else in the fitness world, getting the right personal trainer can be as confusing as sorting through the endless parade of empty promises.
So how do you know that your personal trainer is the best? How do you know that they have your best interest at heart and that you are their number one priority? If you are looking for a personal trainer, or maybe you have tried a few before without getting anywhere, try running through this check list. If they pass the test, they are a keeper. If not, stop wasting your time and money and find one who passes all 10 bullet points.
1. Your Personal Trainer has a degree in the field and a prestigious national certification.
Make sure your personal trainer has a degree in exercise and sport science, kinesiology, or athletic training. They should also hold a national certification through a prestigious affiliation such as The National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA), National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM), or the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM).
2. Your Personal Trainer never take their eyes off of you and coaches from all angles.
The human body is a complex system of levers and movement planes that demand attention from your personal trainer at all angles. They should constantly be circling and giving constant coaching cues and feedback during your session. If they hang out in one place or don’t look up from their iPhone it’s a sign you need to move on.
3. Your Personal Trainer asks for constant feedback and always follow up.
If a personal trainer asks a lot of questions that’s always a positive sign. Getting feedback on how you felt after your last workout or on how you are feeling about your program is a tell tale sign that he/she has invested themselves in your regimen and truly care about your well-being and progress.
4. Your Personal Trainer makes themselves available outside of your training sessions.
A great sign that your personal trainer truly cares is that they make themselves available to you outside of your normal training session hours. They should always be there to answer any questions you may have outside of the gym at any time.
5. Your Personal Trainer is always taking notes and constantly programming towards your goal.
Journaling, note taking, and programming tweaks are always a great sign that your trainer is taking a genuine interest in progressing you towards your goal. If he/she can’t look back on what you did last week, last month, or last year how can you expect them to keep you moving forward? Programming is largely a numbers game that is constantly evolving as progress is made throughout your training journey.
6. Your Personal Trainer starts every program with a thorough evaluation.
One things that always sets personal trainers apart is their process that they go through when they get a new client. Every great personal trainer will always take their new comer though a thorough evaluation and health history before starting any exercise program. They should be able to identify past injuries, movement dysfunctions, postural imbalances, and contraindicated movements, and also tell you how you can work on those weaknesses while working towards your ultimate goal.
7. Your Personal Trainer is constantly educating you.
He/she should always give reasoning behind why they are choosing a certain protocol or exercise regimen. They should be teaching you how to use your body properly and instilling tools that will lead to life long change not only inside the gym, but outside the gym.
8. Your Personal Trainer makes your safety and long term health a priority.
No matter your current fitness level, every personal trainer should start with foundational work. This means stabilizing the body and addressing weak points and imbalances before progressing into complex movements that may put you at risk. They should always provide a safe environment and never make you feel unsafe or uncomfortable during any part of your training session.
9. Your Personal Trainer is constantly progressing you towards your end goal.
Every single workout should bring you closer to your end goal. Short term goals should always be put in place to make sure constant progression is made and programming should always be addressed and revisited throughout the course of any fitness program.
10. Your Personal Trainer practices what they preach.
This one speaks for itself. After all, you wouldn’t go to a dentist with wooden teeth would you?
If you don’t think you are ultimately working towards your goal, start questioning why. If you haven’t found a good fit with a personal trainer don’t be afraid to shop around until you find one who hits all 10 of these bullet points. It’s your time, money, and ultimately your goals that can go to waste otherwise.
Josh Soper is a personal trainer in Cornelius, NC. He is also Co-Owner of Lake Norman Fitness Specialists which provides personal training sessions to clients throughout Lake Norman including Huntersville, Cornelius and Davidson. In addition to personal training, Josh teaches small group exercises classes.