So it’s the time of year when lots of people decide to start exercising and eating better. Everyone who makes this decision has their own ideas about achieving this goal. Some people feel that they are strong willed, and knowledgeable enough to go at it alone. Some people feel they need help and enlist a partner in their new fitness goals, and some people feel they need the help of fitness professionals (personal trainers). Whatever category you fall into, the important part is to make this commitment, set achievable goals, and follow through.
I want to talk about personal trainers a little. When you make the decision to hire a trainer you may be tempted to hire someone based on appearance. Just because someone is lean and muscular does not mean they have the ability to safely and effectively help another individual reach their fitness goals. On the other side of the coin, just because someone carries a little extra body fat that does not disqualify them of being able to safely and effectively help another individual reach all of their personal goals.
When you decide to hire a trainer the first thing you should do is make sure that he/she is certified by a reputable organization, and insured. Just certification alone doesn’t make someone a good trainer, I know some certified trainers who scare the hell out of me. Get some references, fitness related employers, past and current clients, and just watch them train someone, that’s where you will get the best indication of if this is someone you can work with.
This morning while at the gym working out I noticed 2 trainers working with clients. The first was a male trainer working with a teen boy. Now if you are working with a new client you need to teach them, a lot, what the exercise is, what it’s for, and how to do it safely. In order to do this effectively, first tell the client what they are doing and why, next demonstrate the correct form, than you have the client do the exercise and provide cues for proper technique. If a client is having trouble performing the exercise correctly you can again demonstrate the move, but most importantly work with the client on body mechanics and cues, that is the only way they will learn how to perform the move. The trainer I was watching this morning did a demo (full set) then had his client do a set (without correcting form) then demonstrated the exercise again (his 2nd set). I think you get my point. This guy was more into getting his own workout than he was into teaching and making sure this kid was exercising safely.
The second trainer was a woman and she was training another woman. Now I drink a lot of coffee, but, when I’m working with a client that person is my main focus. The way I see it, part of being a trainer in addition to being a teacher, and a coach, and a cheer leader, you are also a spotter; if you have a cup of coffee in your hand while your client is performing an exercise there is no way possible you are spotting them, sip the coffee (if you must) during a rest period.
Now for the most part this woman’s client was doing the exercises as she was taught, however this trainer was not teaching her safe form, also the proper way to pick up and put down exercise equipment is extremely important.
If you are training someone and talking to them as they perform an exercise you should be standing in that persons direct line of site. This woman was talking a lot and standing of to the side of her client, so as the client was doing a 2 arm kettle bell swing her head was turned to the left so she could see her trainer. Yeah and the only thing you should be talking about is the movement being performed.
The bottom line is this. Make the commitment, do your due diligence, and do not under any circumstances hire the 2 trainers I mentioned above.