Choosing the Right Personal Trainer

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Just when I think I’ve seen it all, with a 12-year history in the health and fitness industry, I see a mind-boggling situation that absolutely shocks me…


Like most full-time personal trainers, I have multiple memberships throughout my city, which allow me to sneak in a 90-minute workout wherever I may be. This morning, while getting in my usual cardio at one of San Diego’s finest muscle head gyms, I had the opportunity to watch one of San Diego’s most popular and expensive personal trainers on the job. He was with a rather unusually obese woman who obviously needs to lose a lot of weight, and I mean a lot! As I secretly watched, while huffing and puffing on the stair stepper, I could only think of how I would design his client’s weight loss program. How I would love to make her sweat and how many calories I could make her burn!

Looking down from my step master throne, I watched Coach Dave’s every move and heard his every word. First, the traditional stretch for 10 minutes. Okay, looks fine to me, and it seems that Dave is enjoying bragging about how many Strawberry Marguerites he had yesterday. Before you know it, the two get lost in a quagmire of conversation and their 10-minute stretch turns into a 30-minute stretch! Finally Coach Dave glances down at his watch, realizing that time is flying at the speed of light, and he barks out his first order- 6 chicken plucking pushups. The client complies while Dave intercepts an incoming phone call from what appears to be a potential client. Soon minute 45 arrives and Dave is still on the phone. It appears that the client is happy that she lost Dave’s attention and performs another 6 chicken plucking pushups on her own. Dave soon hangs up his cell phone without apologies and now instructs his client to stretch out her back using the old Cat Cow exercise- arching and lowering her lumbar and thoracic spine. Before I could catch my breath, Dave’s client’s workout session was over. They bid each other farewell- for it was time for Dave to move on to the next unsuspecting client.

What can we learn from this? Number one, that Dave’s client will never reach her goals if she continues to train with Dave in this fashion. Number two, Dave just earned the easiest $85 in personal trainer history. Three, Dave is probably at the end of his personal trainer rope, burnt out and probably lacking interest in his clients’ success. And last but not least, this client should be more careful in choosing her trainer, or maybe, this is what she truly wants!

It seems to me that many clients believe that exercise should be about extended breaks, long winded conversation and shoulder massages between sets. I have met many Dave’s and am always surprised to see that client’s cant see the forest for the green, that they are disillusioned about the responsibilities of the personal trainer that they invest in.

So what are the responsibilities of your personal trainer? For starters, a trainer must be responsible for bringing you results. I believe in putting myself on the line when it comes to performance, to satisfying people, and yes, to bringing about the results individuals seek. My intention is not to represent myself as the model of excellence in trainers, but rather to illustrate how most trainers have given up their power to satisfy! No two trainers are created equal, and certifications and college degrees mean nothing if the trainer lacks enthusiasm, education and drive to help their clients succeed.

Your personal trainer should also keep you properly informed. When someone fails to reach a fitness or weight loss goal, it always boils down to one reason and one reason only: they are misled. They have some bad information or false beliefs circulating around their head. Misinformation mixed with an incompetent trainer can destroy a client’s chance for success! The trainer you choose should be the world’s greatest fitness educator and look the part.

In addition, your trainer must be 100% committed to you, or you will run astray in your fitness attempts and never succeed. Commitment from your trainer begins with him showing up on time for your appointments, staying focused on you instead of the hard body woman in skimpy fitness attire, pushing you beyond your normal physical thresholds in a safe and effective way, and lastly, keeping you motivated with positive feedback.

A few words regarding trainer certifications: the trainer you choose should have a certification that is nationally recognized by the National Commission for Certifying Agencies. Here are, in my opinion, the big four:

1. NSCA – National Strength and Conditioning Association
2. ACSM – American College of Sports Medicine
3. CIAR – Cooper Institute of Aerobic Research
4. NASM – National Academy of Sports Medicine

So, to summarize, choosing the right personal trainer would include looking at their certifications and experience, drive and commitment, and knowledge and ability to deliver results. Anyone can tell you what you want to hear, but a true professional will be dedicated to educating and instructing you to reach your fitness goals!

For more information: http://www.somagenesis.com
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