The training field has gotten a bad rap (to be fair we’ve done it to ourselves), and most individuals don’t take trainers seriously. Most people just think trainers are just glorified counters, mostly there to make sure the client is doing the minimum amount of exercise and precisely count the repetitions. Now, are there personal trainers who really have no business being a trainer? Absolutely, however, the same could be said for any craft, physician, lawyer, physical therapist, carpenter, etc… On the other side of the coin, if you do your research and find a competent trainer they can lead you on a better path to improving your lifestyle, finding the correct fitness information, and most importantly how to exercise properly.
You can usually spot a good trainer (like myself) right away from this one tip I’m about to give you. A competent trainer will give lifestyle improvements: such as drinking more water, improving sleep habits, and minimizing the consumption of highly processed foods. A competent trainer understands that the amount of time you actually spend in the gym doesn’t pale in comparison to the lifestyle habits you make throughout the rest of the week.
Another key indicator that you’re working with a competent personal trainer is he/she will tell you the truth, even if that means telling you that a fitness myth you currently believe in is false. One quick example, and in my professional opinion one of the biggest myths in the fitness industry, is that steady state cardio is the best tool to use to get rid of unwanted body fat. This is a myth, strength training is actually the best, and has been scientifically proven, to be the best tool to put on muscle and get rid of body fat. With that being said, my point is that the most competent trainers don’t sell you quick fixes, hacks, and false hope (a.k.a. MYTHS) that often plague the fitness industry. The best trainers guide you to the correct fitness information, help you to understand that fitness is a journey not a destination, that the journey is a marathon not a sprint, and getting and keeping your fitness on track is not a quick fix it’s a lifestyle.
The last, and quite possibly the most important indicator you’re working with a competent trainer is they teach you to practice the skill of exercise. Just like reading, writing, and counting are all skills, so is correct exercise technique. Exercises like squats, deadlifts, rows, and presses are all compound gross motor movements that place a high demand on your central nervous system. With that being said, these movements are huge when it comes to fat loss, injury resilience, and building strength. However, these lifts are quite complex and require consistent practice to really master the movement and significantly reduce your chances of getting hurt. A good trainer will start you practicing these movements, that way when you start adding weight to the above mentioned exercises, above all else you will be safe to do so. Because let’s face it no one is going to do any sort of activity if they’ve had a history of pain associated with that activity. A competent trainer helps you build your motor, because let’s be honest you can wax a car and give it that new car glow. However, if the motor underneath the hood doesn’t have the capacity to keep the car on the road, the glow of the car becomes irrelevant.
Finding a good personal trainer isn’t as hard as you think, so just remember this one key element. More often than not, the simpler the communication from the trainer the better. Good trainers know how to simplify the fitness journey for their clients. If you encounter a personal trainer who talks over your head to make themselves seem smart. As a fellow personal trainer, I would personally find a new trainer.