On this Move It Monday Starting The Right Way, I will share my top 3 watch-outs when hiring a Personal Trainer.
Isn’t it incredible? We are already on the very first Monday of 2015 and the day is January 5th. Gyms are packed with people who decided that this is going to be the year when they get (and stay) in shape once and for all.
Many times because of the rush of getting things done and the lack of knowledge of the risks involved, one starts training on their own. My concern about it is not new and I shared it before on my blog No, I don’t write plans. And the more I learn about physiology and the dangers of improper exercising, the greater is my worry. Not to mention incompetent and/or disqualified professionals who play around with their clients’ health as if they were paying guinea pigs. No, someone who has only drank coffee during the whole day is NOT eating enough to survive, not to mention to do strength training on a daily basis!!
Still, I believe that if you want to start right, mainly if you have never practiced any sport, hiring a Personal Trainer is not luxury. You might not think this way now, but it will surely pay off, with profit, as you proceed.
When I start to put this blog together, I came across an article from Erin Stern on hiring a Personal Trainer. More recently Ben Pakulski included ‘getting a mentor or coach’ on his how to be successful list. Getting help has nothing to do with being capable or not, it is just a matter of being wise.
Different professionals will mention different reasons why you should think about hiring a Physical Coach or a Personal Trainer to guide you along the way. To me however, it goes also beyond. You decided that you want to hire someone to assist you in your journey to fit. But how do you know that this the right person for you (before you get injured or ill)?
Here is my personal list of watch-outs I have in mind when selecting a professional to work with:
Specialization or area of interest
I love lifting weights, but rarely you will find Personal Trainers (in Belgium!) who will handle their female clients anything over 4kg. Maybe these professionals have the best certificates and studies, however they are not the most adequate for someone like me to work with.
If your thing is running or even triathlon, training with a pure body builder will probably not help you much in your performance despite of all the knowledge that PT might have.
In other words, to start with, look for a trainer interested or specialized in the sport/activity you want to practice or improve.
Do what I say, but don’t do what I do
Some people get sensitive about it, but the shape of the trainer does matter to me. Can you imagine having English classes with someone who could not speak the language or had poor skills? They may know the whole grammar inside out still, they will only be able to help you that much since an important part of the knowledge they lack themselves.
Now tell me how can a Personal Trainer that does not put him/herself to hard training or who completely messes up with their intake, assist you when you struggle with making the right choices. Without the ‘been there, done that’ experience, there is no way they can understand how you feel and give you real tips to succeed.
Therefore, I do look for someone who has the physique I aim towards.
This is the most tricky one in my opinion. Unfortunately, there are still a lot of people out there who believe they will become rich and famous from the moment they start calling themselves a Personal Trainer. Some go through the work of getting at least some certification, but even these are counting down the clients they need to pay-off the fee.
On the other hand, you have those ‘good-intentioned’ who will share their ‘knowledge’ with you for free or who will ask you just a couple of bucks. About these the quote ‘you get what you pay for’ applies. It might be tempting to go for the cheaper choice, but be careful not to fall on a trap.
Contact different trainers, ask for references, check their sites and social media whenever available. It might require some research from your side, but it is worthwhile.
I hope I could help you with these tips. Please have in mind that each person is different and there is no way I can judge whoever you are training with. It is true that certified professionals are generally a good source. Still, if you are dealing with someone who is unethical, there is no diploma on the face of the Earth that will force them to show you the respect you deserve as a Customer.
On the other hand, there is a LOT OF information one can find in books or the Internet. Maybe you come across someone so passionate about training and dieting that even though they do not have any proof of studies hanging on the walls, they are highly knowledgeable about the subject. The same goes to new professionals who may not have a portfolio yet.
Above all, have in my mind that hiring a Personal Trainer is above all a professional relationship. If you are not happy with the services, feel free to express your thoughts and if after that your discontent is not clarified, do not hesitate to end the agreement and look for another coach.
Got other questions I did not cover here? Want to suggest any point I left out? Please leave me a comment. And if you know someone who is searching for a PT, make sure you share this article with them.
Wishing you a healthy and fit 2015!
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