I was watching one of the trainers at my gym on the other day as he was training an older gentleman. He had the man do a variety of different barbell and bodyweight exercises, even triceps dips on suspended rings. I always enjoy watching this trainer work because he’s just so passionate about what he does, and you can always see that fun and enthusiasm reflected on the faces of his clients.
Since I first joined the gym, he stood out immediately as someone who lived, ate and breathed fitness. I regularly see him working out himself and also sitting down somewhere preparing his clients’ training sessions. And when he has a client, his entire focus is on them and only them from start to finish, as he guides and encourages them and makes sure their form is always perfect.
There are a few other trainers at the gym who I also consider to be very good, but probably only one other that is up to his level. Unfortunately, there are also a number there who appear quite disappointing to me. It’s not uncommon to see them yawning or looking bored during a client session, and even looking around at others in the gym while their client is training.
I always feel so sorry for clients of trainers like that, working out is always tough and getting little interest and motivation coming from your trainer certainly does nothing to help. Having a trainer should be a great experience, he or she should make you look forward to a session and feel good about it. In my opinion the role of a personal trainer goes far beyond merely being a source of knowledge for exercise and diet, and I think that too few trainers fulfill their roles completely.
When I first joined this gym last year, I was told by a young personal trainer, most likely newly-qualified, not to do heavy supersets because I would become too bulky. Bear in mind also that he had no idea what my goals and objectives were for training there, and nor did he ask. At the time I kept a straight face and just politely thanked him for his advice. Inside however, I was shaking my head at the thought of hearing probably the most common misconception about women training with weights coming from the mouth of a trainer. I have been doing heavy supersets since that time and I’m still in the process of trying to increase my size.
When I think back to that time, I realize that had I wanted to hire a personal trainer for myself back then, it would have been a complete lucky dip. I guess if I had chosen one I didn’t like I could always have changed to another, but that could lead to feelings of awkwardness since they are all there training clients every day.
But having been a regular member of the gym for some time now, on the other hand, I have gotten to know how each trainer is different, which ones are friendly and which not so much, which are passionate about their job and which aren’t, and so on.
I think a great strategy for choosing a personal trainer therefore is to exercise on your own for a while and watch the trainers in the meantime as they work with their clients, maybe a few weeks or even a month. You’ll get to know each of their personalities and have a much better idea about which one you think you’ll click with and get the best results from.
You can’t always get an accurate picture of what they’re like from their qualifications, what their specialties supposedly are, and by talking to them. By watching them you will be able to make a much better and more confident choice.
Just one thing though, don’t make the mistake of choosing one because you think they seem the softest on their clients. Ideally you want a trainer that pushes you hard but is able to make you enjoy the process, you are there for the results, after all!
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