For many, the path to fitness often starts with a consultation with a personal trainer. However, picking a fitness professional can be a tricky business. While certified personal trainers are typically well-versed in the ins and outs of proper exercise, the quality of their provided services does differ between individuals. A trainer can graduate with the highest accolades from the most prestigious sports science institute, but it counts for naught if he/she isn’t willing to put in the effort when it comes to the practice.
For those who don’t know me, my name’s Aaron Rolley and I am the founder of International Fitness Consultants (IFC), an organisation that specialises in physiotherapy and personal training. Having been a personal trainer for over 20 years, I can attest to the importance of making sure that the fitness professional in question is indeed professional. Here are some my favourite tips when it comes to making that all-important choice:
- Recommendations are the best
You need to be slightly careful here – you’re not looking for a trainer who’s only good for chat and gossip. Get your recommendation from someone who is fit, has exercise experience and has gotten good results from working with their trainer.
- Needs to look healthy
The trainer does not need to be the biggest or leanest in the gym, but they should be vibrant, full of energy, eat healthy and exercise often.
- Stickler for form
No matter how good you think your technique is, it’s not perfect and there’s always room for improvement. Your trainer should be able to deliver helpful coaching cues for every exercise without driving you crazy. Being able to deliver valid coaching ques in a non-irritating manner is a skill every good trainer should possess.
- Punctual / Not Rescheduling
For exercise to be effective it needs to be regular and often. If your trainer is the one disrupting your schedule, it’s time to find a someone more committed.
- Proficient in the style of training you want to do
Hiring a bodybuilder to help you win your next triathlon isn’t exactly the best use of your money. The trainer you pick needs to understand the programing required to achieve your goal and have experience delivering those results.
- Understand how hard to push
Making you so sore you can’t move the next day is not a skill; it’s easy and any trainer can do that. Getting you to move, feel and look better is what you should be looking for in a Personal Training session, if you’re trainer is beating you up with the belief you will get leaner and fitter he probably needs to go back to PT school.
- Experience and Credentials
I put this last as it’s not always the best predictor of whether a trainer is good or not. With that said if your trainer has a solid education in exercise physiology, biomechanics and programming, they will have the foundations of a good trainer and just need the above-mentioned traits to be a great trainer.
The most important thing for a personal trainer is to be able to adapt his/her approach to fit your needs and goals. Anyone can talk a good game, but you deserve a PT who’s able to deliver when it counts, especially since it’s your health and fitness that’s on the line. No matter how nightmarish your training regimen may seem, having the right personal trainer is the first step towards making your fitness dream come true.