Today we have the pleasure of having Robert Connors guest post to discuss 5 things you should consider when searching for a personal trainer. Rob runs Signum CrossFit, a personal training studio in Bel Air, MD
Ok, so you have come to a place where you want to make a change.
You have tried going to the gym by yourself but the self motivation factor wanes after a few days.
You are a busy working professional where time is your most valuable resource.
Or maybe you are a busy parent. You have spent the last few years taking care of the kids and are now finding some time for yourself again.
Trust me I get it!
In this guide we are going to give you 5 things you need to ask yourself when looking for a personal trainer in North Charleston
But searching for a personal trainer can be a daunting task because honestly, how often do you search for one?
You dont know where to start. Google will often just lead you to directories. But what are the right questions to ask, and what are some warning signs?
In this guide, I will give you 5 things to consider when looking for a personal trainer in the Park Circle & North Charleston area. (Hint #4 is the most important)!
Let’s dive in.
Question 1: Is a Personal Trainer Worth It?
I wont beat around the bush, to some a personal trainer can be expensive. After all you are receiving a custom program for you and a professional’s one-on-one attention.
Dr. Sal Arria, president of NBFE, states that personal trainers can start out as low as $25 per session to as high as several thousands over several weeks in more affluent areas around the country.
For the more price conscious shopper online personal training can be a work around. But as you move into the virtual world, you lose some of the personal attention and accountability..
We equate it to having a virtual doctor. Yes they have a wealth of knowledge but it still lacks that personal touch of being face to face.
I wouldn’t recommend it for anyone with a pre-existing injury or serious condition where scaling options will be needed in your exercise routine.
Personal trainers do all the brain work for you. They are a great source of knowledge. You don’t have to learn the human body, proper movement patterns as well as which exercises will get you to your goals.
One of the great things about a personal trainer is that they take all the guess work out of achieving your goals.
A personal trainer is able to come up with an exercise plan that takes into account your limitations and tailor movements, reps, weights & scales to match your current abilities.
A good personal trainer will give you workouts but a great one is able able to create new workouts every day with a constant variety of movements
Constant variety in your workout routine is how you get results. Doing the same thing over and over works for only a certain period until the body adapts. Sound familiar?
Question 2: Will your private trainer start the relationship off by really knowing your goals?
Goal Setting is critical!
Be on the lookout here! I have “tested out” other fitness routines in the past. The first thing many of them want to do is just show you the facility, their equipment, locker rooms etc. Then the discussion of membership and payment plans comes up.
If this happens to you, just tell them thanks and walk right out.
You are searching for a personal trainer because you have a goal in mind. You want to lose weight, gain strength, feel better in your skin again.
You are not looking for a trainer because they have a ton of equipment. In fact, like most new clients, you may not even know how to use those machines and weights.
The equivalent is walking into your doctor’s office and going straight to the operating table without her knowing your real issue/problem.
Every personal trainer should know the unique goals of ALL of their clients.
Not everyone wants to gain muscle. Not everyone wants to lose weight.
Some goals are health related.
Working professionals value their time and want an effective routine to take stress out of their daily lives.
A great personal trainer will start with an intro or consultation session.
During this intro there should be a discussion of why you are looking for a personal trainer?
Some trainers may want to move you through a movement evaluation process.
Great personal trainer in the North Charleston area will take the time to understand your why.
You also want to find a personal trainer that has dealt with clientele like you.
If you are looking for a powerlifting coach to find one that competed in the sport for some time.
If you are looking for a bodybuilding/physique oriented trainer, there are those as well.
They get it!
Question 3: Which credentials & characteristic are the most important? (Hint: it’s not what you think)
So you are looking at personal trainers in the Park Circle area.
You come across a bunch of credentials that look like alphabet soup.
NASM – National Academy of Sports Medicine
ACE – The American Council on Exercise
FM – Fitness Mentors
NSCA – National Strength and Conditioning Association
ACSM – American College of Sports Medicine
NESTA – National Exercise & Sports Trainers Association
NCCPT – National Council for Certified Personal Trainers
NCSF – National Council on Strength & Fitness
ISSA – International Sports Sciences Association
AFAA – Athletics and Fitness Association of America
NFPT – National Federation of Professional Trainers
CF-L1 – CrossFit Level 1
What the hell does all this mean and which is the best?
In my experience…..none of them.
Let me tell you a story.
When we think of authority often times we look at titles and accreditations. Often times when I see someone, in any profession, with a list of titles and accreditations after their name I know two things.
First, they studied a lot. Second, they are good at tests.
There are many people that have passed the Bar Exam. There are also a lot of not so great lawyers.
I know this because I did this. In my former life, I spent 9 years studying for some of the hardest tests in the financial industry. CFA, CPA, Series 7, 66 & 67, blah, blah blah.
Guess what people wanted to know? “Could my stock picks make them money.” That’s it. No one cared, except for myself, about the letters after my name. That’s the truth.
An no one cared because the working professional and busy parent like yourself didn’t understand them.
EMPATHY & AUTHORITY are what matter more when searching for a personal trainer.
Remember, a great private trainer is not the hero in the story. YOU ARE. Your personal trainer is merely the guide.
They need to display not only empathy but also authority. Both of which can not be taught in accreditation exams.
As consumers we like doing business with people that we know, like, and trust.
Our clients trust us because we understand them. This ties into Question 2 above.
Empathetic statements include things like “Just like you, I am frustrated by…”or “I understand how it feels to…” as well as “Nobody should have to experience…”
This needs to be genuine not just boilerplate.
Dale Carnegie said it best, “People Don’t Care How Much You Know Until They Know How Much You Care.”
Authority is vital as well and can come in many forms.
For a personal trainer authority is best displayed via their clients’ success stories.
What type of clients has a personal trainer helped before?
Did they have similar issues and goals to yours?
What was the outcome?
Remember a great personal trainer is merely a guide. You are the hero in this story.
The best personal trainers’ websites and social media are littered with stories of successful clients.
A poor one’s will be littered with selfies of themselves working out. BEWARE!
Question 4: Are they also an expert on nutrition?
For the vast majority of health & fitness goals nutrition is going to play the BIGGEST part.
In fact this is the most important factor when it comes to choosing a personal trainer, in my opinion.
Many trainers have a plethora of knowledge on proper movements but less know about proper nutrition, eating real whole foods in proper proportion.
You will be in the gym 1 hour a day but what sort of decisions are you making outside the gym?
As Greg Glassman states, “Nutrition is just as—if not more—important than movement.”
There are a lot of fad diets and ideas out there. You need to know which ones are legit and which ones are just trying to sell you snake oil in the form of supplements and shakes.
At Locomotion Fitness our personal trainers are also our nutrition coaches. This way they get a one stop shop.
Personal trainers don’t need to also be a Registered Dietician. But they should be able to partner with or refer you to one that they trust.
Many of our personal training clients saw the best results when they combined exercise with a proper nutrition plan that aligned with their goals.
Question 5: Will my personal trainer continue to revisit my goals?
Ok so you are considering an amazing personal trainer. You lost those 15 pounds and are seeing great results. What’s next?
Well goals change and you are ready to move onto bigger and better ones!
You need a trainer that can adjust the process.
At Locomtion fitness we help our clients set SMART goals.
Maybe you want to get your first pullup or run in a marathon.
The possibilities are endless. But a goal with out a plan is just a wish.
This is where formal goal setting sessions come into play.
We help our clients set SMART goals.
Specific – “I want to lose weight” is great but “I want to lose 20 pounds of fat” is better
Measurable – “I want more energy” is great. But “I want to be able to run a 5K” is better. See what I mean? Having “more energy” is something that we notice and feel but can’t quite measure tangibly. How else are you going to know if you are making progress if you and your trainer are not able to measure it?
Attainable – Is your goal attainable? Losing 20lbs is doable and our clients have done it. But losing 20 lbs in a week is not.
Realistic – Can be interchangeable with Attainable.
Time Sensitive – Setting a deadline is the best way to achieve a goal because you are working towards something. For example, Jackie had a goal of being wedding ready. There was the important date on her calendar. And guess what?!?! She did it
Because the same plan that got you here may not be the same one that will get you there!
If you are in the Park Circle/North Charleston area and still looking for a personal trainer, we would encourage you to click the button below to schedule a consultation.
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