Wednesday, May 28, 2008

3 Tips for Picking a Personal Trainer

#1: Spy on your Future Trainer

A big mistake I see in commercial facilities is a person buying personal trainer services at the point of the membership sale. Sales reps are trained to up-sell you training services after you dump $500 on a year contract for club use. The trainer you meet with for your complimentary session is trained to sell you on his services after that one meeting. Truth is, most clients like to match up with a trainer they feel they can relate with (females with females, former athlete with males, older adult with older aged trainers, etc, etc). This is normal, but not necessarily always the case. Some females want a male trainer, and some men want a female trainer. Most clients drop their trainer after 1 month (or stop attending sessions) because the personalities don't match up. If a trainer does not like a client for whatever reason, he/she will not put alot of effort into motivating them to comply with their sessions and missed sessions will only be forfeited to the trainer's satisfaction. I know because I have done the same.
I like people that come up to me after training a client and ask me various questions. This tells me that they have done their research on my training methods through observation and are ready to undertake the responsibilities, accountability, and commitment to a plan. How do they prove it? They pay up. And they pay big bucks. Take home message: Watch all the trainers as they work with clients. Observe carefully the trainer you think you want to work with. If you think your personalities match, begin by introducing yourself and inquire about setting up a meeting for you to learn more about that trainer. If the trainer is good, you will have everything laid out in front of you.

#2: Match a Trainer with Your Fitness Level

Many people pick a personal trainer based on what he/she looks like. Does he have the year-round gold tan? Rock hard abs? Tight glutes? The truth is, your preferences for a trainer should be based on what the criteria is that specific trainer uses to train clients. For instance: does he/she train athletes? does he/she train housewives? does he/she train children? In each sample, the exercise program is different and specific to the individual’s goals and ability. There is nothing wrong with a trainer who trains a specific population, but don't assume that just because his clients are fit athletes that he/she can make you into one. If you're goal is simply fat loss, you may want to find a trainer who handles people that are overweight and designs exercise programs that accommodate those needs. Your needs will not be the same as a track & field athlete or a hockey player. Even though they have the body type you are looking for, doesn't necessarily mean the trainer got them to that point. He/she pretty much helps them stay in top condition. You, on the other hand, are still climbing the hill. Again, HOW a trainer trains is reflective on their experience, qualifications and education. A good trainer will have well-rounded qualities that sets them apart. Pick the one that will work for you.

#3: Interview One of Your Trainer's Clients

I've had his done to me plenty of times and found it rather flattering. Once you have chosen which trainer you would like to throw your mortgage or junior's college fund to, you may want to pull aside one of their current clients and begin asking questions. Ask them questions regarding the trainer's personality, approach to exercise programming, goals assessment, motivation techniques, and tolerance. Basically, you are talking about someone behind their back. Word of caution: this should be completed when you are 90% sure that is the trainer you are going to hire. Why? Because 9 times out of 10, that client will inform the trainer you are scouting them, and the trainer will hunt you down. This is good because if you are ready after completing Tip #1, then you can establish a relationship with the trainer. If you are not ready to commit, you may lose the trainer's interest in you as a prospective client and then you both lose: he loses business, and you lose motivation.


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