Choosing a trainer can be a daunting task. What do you look for and what should you be doing to find a GOOD one? Where are the pitfalls?
1. I Specialize in Marketing Myself as a Health Expert
Today an estimated 91% of health clubs offer it, and some 6.3 million Americans are signing up for sessions. But this growth has fueled competition causing trainers to battle to stand out. The latest way: specialization. Trainers offer expertise in such areas as injury recovery, cardiac rehabilitation and diabetes. Demand has increased for trainers dealing with overweight clients especially those with diabetes according to the American Council on Exercise.
Not all so-called specialists are properly trained. You'll find certification requirements for as little as a $ 500 fee and passing an online exam. John Buse, president of medicine and science at the American Diabetes Association, says when exercise is not done properly, any vision problems and nerve damage in the feet that some diabetics developed could worsen and in extreme cases, to the point of blindness or amputation .
2. I'll Push You Till You Collapse
It is not unusual to find a trainer over-training a beginner client to prove how out of shape they are and in need of their services. It's a sly ploy to get a larger client base. Given that 37% of health club members are beginners, personal trainers are large catering to the unfit. They're reaching out to seniors as well, since clients 55 years and older institute one of the fastest-growing segments of gym members. Nonetheless, many trainers are guiding clients with a less-than-gentle hand. The majority of people that come into the club have not worked out since their high school gym class. If you feel your trainer is too tough, speak up. Remember, you're the boss.
3. Beware: Might Not Work Well With Kids
One of the largest trends in fitness today: enrolling youth athletes in a little one-on-one training. Concerned about their kids' weight and lack of physical activity, parents are turning to personal trainers at up to $ 60 / hour. Seventeen percent of personal-training clients were between the ages of six and 17 in 2006; that's a 20% increase from 1998.
This niche is growing because rough 15% of American children are overweight. But not all health clubs have trainers who work well with kids or even know how to work them out safely. Even a good trainer with the wrong attitude can turn impressionable kids off from working out.
Suggest: Be selective. Ask for a trainer with a background in teaching, coaching, or child development. If your kid is involved in a particular sport, requesting a trainer with a similar background can help develop specific muscles and prevent injuries.
4. Bring a Friend and You Pay Half Price
Fees for personal trainers can be pretty steep. Sign up for a session with a superstar trainer and it could run you $ 400 / hour. With most trainers, there's a way to save 30% to 50% if you know what to ask for. More than 70% of personal trainers offer group sessions at a discount.
Most health clubs will not typically offer the group option to you but most personal trainers will work something out if you ask. After all, it's a win-win situation. For a group of three the average fee of $ 60 per hour is reduced by half for each client, while the trainer brings in about 50% more than he typically makes in an hour. It could also mean a better workout; there's a lot to benefit from group camaraderie, as long as you do not need a trainer counting every rep you do.
5. If I Let You Use the Equipment, You'll Realize You Do not Need Me
Does your trainer steer you away from the machines, making you crunches with a medicine ball instead? Trainers are sometimes told not to spend too much time teaching clients how to use the equipment for fear that once they get comfortable, they'll want to go it alone. That's why trainers may emphasize coordination exercises and rely on smaller props like stability balls, resistance tubing or bands, and balance tools, the three types of gear most frequently used by trainers. This type of “training training” helps prep clients for popular recreational activities like tennis and skiing, as well as basic movements like bending down during household chores. But larger equipment also has its benefits; it can bring speedy results in strength-building and help keep weight off.
Ask prospective trainers how they'll help you. The best trainers serve clients by helping them become independent exercisers. It encourages trainers to prove to clients there's more to working out than using big machines, in part because of the benefits of functional training. They will offer a complete program designed with you in mind and not require you to have to see them for more details.
6. I Love to Gossip About You
Some trainers share personal info about their clients. It can be as innocent as a trainer talking to another trainer within earshot of other clients. But with more health clubs requesting medical information, which they often then make available to instructors, some clubs have had to crack down on disclosure.
7. I'm Just as Qualified as That Guy
The personal-training industry has more than 70 certifying organizations. Some programs demand a broad-based understanding of human physiology, others require much less than their candidates. Standardized testing is missing in the industry. Applicants often can take either a weekend course or an online exam before calling themselves personal trainers.
8. Being More Expensive Does not Mean a Better Workout
Personal trainers charge more depending on experience and demand. Any fees you pay them are obviously an investment in your health. A more expensive trainer will not necessarily yield better results. In the end, it's about behavioral change. Finding someone who personally motivates you and with what you click is most important and that person may not be a top-dollar seasoned veteran. If he can not motivate you based on your personality style, you're throwing money away.
To find the right trainer, ask for a trial workout session before you hire one. Do a preliminary consultation which should include no exercise. Have an in-depth conversation about your personality and goals. Evaluate a prospective trainer's ability to produce results and ask for recommendations they have had.
9. When I Make It Big, I'm Going On My Own
The personal touch evaporated will only last as long as your trainer is still working at the same facility. I have personally had three trainers in a little over a year. Reason? The first one quit to do a different profession that paid more and the second one was promoted to manager at the other facility run by his gym.
The personal-training industry has high rates of employee turnover. Beside low salaries, the flexible nature of the job contracts those who want to work part-time while following other pursuits which may eventually take them away from the profession. This can also result in what happened to me – canceled appointments due to their “other” job calling them away. It is a good idea to ask about your prospective trainer's intentions and long-term career goals, especially if you're interested in purchasing a larger package of sessions.
10. I Have No Background In Nutrition But That Will not Stop Me
Personal trainers have been pushing certain nutrition concepts for years, but now many are playing nutritionist with no background? Not only that, but if you're facing certain health issues, nutritional advice given by trainers can sometimes do more harm than good. Nutritional supplements, when mixed with medication and strenuous exercise, can result in injury or even death.
Before agreeing to alter or supplement your diet based on a trainer's recommendations, ask questions, and notify your doctor. The best personal trainers will not jeopardize your health and will be willing to communicate with your doctor to find the best exercise plan for your needs.
Choose a trainer if you need professional help or motivation or do some reading and learn what you need to learn and plan your own workout routine. There are lots of books available. If you get stuck, see a trainer for a small number of sessions and ask for a specific workout regimen that you need.