5 key elements to look for when choosing a Personal Trainer
Best thing you can do to really fulfill that new year resolution, is to get a Personal Trainer.
From studies it has been shown that those people who work together with a Personal Trainer achieve better results faster than those who do not cooperate with a personal trainer, in addition those who use the assistant of a Personal trainer tend to continue to be active for years to come.
Here are what I believe to be the important points to look for when choosing a Personal Trainer.
Prior to even stepping into the gym and starting to push, pull, carry or lift, a professional trainer should get to know you and your personal profile. Knowing who you are is vital for the trainer to write an individualize personal exercise routine for you.
Topics like: Medical history, Prior injuries, defining your goals/ desires and previous training history and more should be noted by the trainer.
This information helps the trainer design a specific and effective training program, all of this is done in the consultation meeting, which also serve as a meeting for each side to get to know each other and decide on if and how to train.
In this meeting you get to know the trainer as well, and feel if he or she is the person you want to spend your time and money on, take care if the trainer listens to what you have to say, cares about you and your goals and consider the dynamic nature of life.
Different trainers do it differently, can be shorter or longer, include more or less information, but this phase should be done with EVERYONE in order to design a specific and personal training program with minimal risk and maximum benefit.
Measurements and Initial Assessment
In order to assess current fitness level and to monitor progress the trainer should be taking some kind of measurements in the beginning of the training process, this can be done by using the scales, a measuring tape, taking photos to compare after some time or any other method that allows to monitor your starting point and to check progress.
Also, some type of assessment for your fitness level should be done, can be a series of exercise or tests the trainer is familiar that will help him subjective assess your current fitness level or any type of accepted physical tests to evaluate specific fitness ability.
* It should be noted that for the most of the devices out there that measure body composition (Fat%, Muscle %, Water, Metabolic age…) are NOT reliable and should not be used as the main measurement device or base your decision and attitude based on the results they give.
We should inspire to get to the point a client will no longer need the trainer services, a point where he or she have the motivation and drive to train on their own with any assistant from me, that is what I believe should be every trainer goal.
Not only that, a trainer should EMPOWER the client by sharing information on how to proceed in their training on their own, how to modify it when needed (to a degree), and to be promoted to continue training as part of their lifestyle habits.
One way of doing so, is working with a trainer 1 – 2 times a week, and asking the client to come on their own 1-2 extra times, from the first week of training I promote this idea, hoping it will become part of their agenda in life.
The personal trainer scope of practice
Being a Personal Trainer is a career, one that involve many hours of both practice and working with people, but also learning and improving, there is ALWAYS a room to grow and learn and further his education. It is an exciting job that requires us to always be alert.
Thus, the trainer should focus on training, he or she should not pretend to be any other professional (unless certify to do so). It is very often I see trainers prescribing diet plans to their clients with NO official background or needed education in Nutrition.
What if the client is pre-diabetic? or prescribing too low-calorie menus for young women that causes them to have problems with their menstrual cycle. Nutrition should be tread like a prescribed drug with HUGE conseqcuenses on a person’s health and well being and should ONLY be prescribed by those who are qualify to do so.
A Personal Trainer IS a Personal Trainer.
A Personal Trainer IS NOT a Dietitian.
A Personal Trainer IS NOT a Physiotherapist.
A Personal Trainer IS NOT a Doctor.
Pain is something Personal Trainers encounter a lot and it is very tempting to try and “guess” what is the source and problem, but unless you have the tools to diagnose and treat patients, do not attempt to tell a client what is the cause of the pain or why he or she has it. If there is a doubt, then refer to a Physiotherapist.
Another common example are “Postural problems”, that many trainers “Diagnose” and “Treat”. There are rarely any “Postural Problems” that really require intervention, trainers do not have the need to start diagnosing and treating, they should train.
Promoting Life style changes for life
Working out is more than just lifting weight and counting repetitions, it is a lifestyle change that should involve nutrition, stress relief, improve sleep, improve cognitive function and promote many other positive changes.
The trainer should aim to promote a healthy life style, when training can be the trigger but not the sole participant.
It should be viewed as an integral part of your life, step by step it can become like that and you will see why it is called: “The wonder drug”.
Remember that life is more like a Marathon, than a Sprint, so take your time and always have fun!