Seven Things Your Personal Trainer Might Not Tell You
Getting in shape takes time, it's confusing and there's a lot of misleading information floating around. That's where people like me come in. As a personal trainer, it's my job to find out what my clients want, build programs and help them achieve their goals. But just writing a check to a trainer isn't going to solve all your problems. Here are seven things trainers really should tell you, but most won't.
The stars and celebrities I train should not impress you. You're probably not going to be featured as a lead in a Hollywood movie, so that superhero workout isn't going to be appropriate for YOU. You should look for people who have achieved similar goals to yours, and seek out the trainers they use. Referrals from neighbors and friends are more important than the celebrity status of a trainer.
You don't need to spend an hour with a trainer to get an hour-long workout. When I started this career nearly 20 years ago, trainers typically booked every client in one-hour sessions. A trainer was present at every stage of your workout to make sure you knew what to do and record it all. Turns out, that isn't as necessary as everyone thought.
With smart phone apps, a good trainer can show you how to spend the first 15 minutes foam rolling and warming up, on your own. Then they'll be there to push you through an intense 30 minute workout, and finally let you finish with cardio and stretching on your own. Only after you've maxed out what you can accomplish with a trainer in 30 minutes, should you consider moving to 45 minute or one-hour sessions.
You've got to be responsible for what you eat. We can tell if you binge on junk food or overindulge. Your body will give you away every time. You don't have to be accountable to me, but you should at least be honest with yourself. Start tracking everything you eat and drink, in a journal or smart phone app like MyFitnessPal. A weeks worth of bad food choices can't be undone in a one-hour workout.
Your first couple of sessions aren't going to involve a lot of exercise. Any trainer that's competent will spend your first meeting asking you lots of questions. They've got to figure out what your goals and needs are. At some point they will also do an evaluation of your physical capabilities. If your trainer tries to throw you right into a routine, without doing either of those things, you should stop using them immediately.
Don't come to your session sick, hungry or on four hours of sleep. Sick people spread germs, and I don't want to get what you have. Hungry and tired people won't have the energy to be effective, and I want your workouts to generate results.
You should look for another trainer if yours is trying to sell you supplements, vitamins or other products. In a typical gym, up to 30% of the revenue comes from those drinks, bars and stuff they sell in the pro shop. Trainers often get a percentage of what they sell, so they push things you may not need. Question any recommendation that a trainer gets commission on. You're paying for a professionally designed and guided workout, not a walking commercial trying to extract more money from you.
Check out how much experience your trainer has, because it matters. Trainers typically work under one of two systems. Either they're an independent contractor, or they work on a team as an employee.
If they're an independent contractor they have to handle everything themselves and they may lack the helpful oversight of someone more knowledgeable. Look for at least two years experience from an independent contractor.
If they work on a team, generally someone more experienced will be overseeing the programs they build and their co-workers will be helping in the gym. Six months to a year of experience for someone working in a team environment is often enough to be confident in a good workout.
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CAUTION: Check with your doctor before
beginning any diet or exercise program.