It is fast approaching the warmer months and you already have on your mind fitting into your summer clothes and for a lot of people dreading the fact that you did not mean to add those extra pounds during the winter. The coats come off and are replaced by lighter more revealing outfits as well as those lovely days at the beach.
It may be time for you to look at hiring a personal trainer at your local gym or area, but what makes a good personal trainer and separates them from the others? If you are going to spend between $80 and $120 dollars for a session, you want to know your hard-earned money is being well spent.
They have set plans and targets for you to reach
Good personal trainers will want to evaluate you from the start and discuss what you are looking to achieve. This is a very important first step to them being able to understand your current condition, exercise routine, any existing health requirements to be aware of. This is the time to goal set for both of you so that the trainer can map out a plan that they can go through with you. Good plans will see short term, medium term and longer terms goals and targets. It may be a new dress, an event, a sporting event or general fitness gains that you are looking for however there must be a target so that you can both gauge progress and celebrate successes along the way.
Training Programs should be ever evolving and provide constant feedback
You should never find yourself doing the same exercises after four weeks into a program. Your body requires change in the way it is targeting muscles, different angles, different weight applied, the use of free weights and machine weights. If you are to progress, your body needs to be challenged and after four weeks’ time it should be time for a revised program that the trainer explains the “why’s” and the “how’s” for the new sessions. This is paramount to see progression within your training regime and for your body to continue to evolve.
Warming up and warming down are just as important as the workout
Your trainer should ensure that you understand why you need to warm up and to cool down afterwards. A small amount of cardio such as some medium paced walking on the treadmill followed by some dynamic stretching to ensure that your body and muscles are ready to engage in the rigors of the session are extremely important. Starting to lift weights while the body is cold and not warmed out is asking for injury to occur and should not be done. Conversely it is just as important to cool down after a session with some slower walking or cycle as well as some static stretching. This will ensure that your body will not be as sore the next day and also to let your body return the muscles back to their natural state to work on the gains from the session.
You are paying for their time and attention
Watch the best personal trainers at the gym and their phone is nowhere near them during a session. Way too many trainers at gyms I have seen all over the world are busy texting or pointing out things to clients that they see on things such as Facebook during your PAID time. Is this really what the client came to do at the gym during their session? You have paid for attention to detail, attention to what you are doing and to ensure that you are being provided with a service you expect. One of my major rules is no phones allowed during sessions. There may be an emergency that requires your phone with you during a session, however if not then it is to be left in your bag. The trainer should be demanding the same work ethos as you do to make sure you are maximizing your workout and the details within it.
The trainer should be training / instructing you constantly during sessions
The trainer should be constantly evaluating and correcting any form related issues during each set and each exercise. They should not be allowing poor form or technique as you want to see progress in the gym. Way too many times a lot of trainers seem more like a social butterfly than a professional trainer. Of course there will be some conversation while you are moving between exercises and setting the next one up, however when it is back to doing sets and reps it should be game on. The other very important thing a training must be doing is evaluating your rest periods between sets so that you are continually reaching greater fatigue as each set begins and maximizing possible gains. The trainer should have eyes on the clock after each set and instruct you the you have 1 min for example before you start the next set and count down for you “30 seconds, 15 seconds, set up and let’s start.”
Good trainers get feedback from you during sessions and ensure you are hydrating
Training a client is not a “one way” street. Good trainers should be engaging with you in between sets and getting feedback from you. They may be simple questions but they are important. Things such as “do you understand the exercise?” “How are you feeling during the set?” They should also discuss any technique change required and why briefly before getting you into the next set. After the session, you can have the time while you are stretching for them to provide greater detail of what needed to be fixed during the session and why so that you know for next time. They should also continually ensure that you are hydrating and make sure that you have a water bottle with you.
In the end when you are leaving the gym session you should have a feeling of satisfaction that you worked hard, have a sense of achievement and that your trainer has provided you with their undivided attention. Having a good trainer will provide you with a sense of trust that you are in good hands and that the person training you genuinely wants to see you achieve your goals. Trainers should know when to push you, when to understand that you may be a little off and form a good working relationship with you.
Value for time and money is something we are all looking for. You have taken the very important step to start investing in the most important thing which is you and your health and wellbeing. Make sure that you are investing in someone that holds this just as importantly as you do.