Should Your Trainer Go Kick Rocks?

(From archived blog, circa 2014.)

Hey FitGang!

The question I pose to you today: does your trainer add tremendous value to your life? I have compiled a list of bullet points to help you determine if your trainer is worth their salt. 

By the same token, if you are considering hiring a personal trainer, I strongly advise you to address these points during your initial meeting. If their answers check out, you can rest assured you have found a winner :) 

What to look for when picking out a trainer:
1) PASSIONAre they passionate? Do they want with every fiber of their being to get you the results you are after? Do they believe in the power of good health, of proper nutrition and consistent exercise, and will they not rest until you are looking and feeling they way you should be? 

2) FRUIT ON THE TREESure they talk they talk, but do they also walk the walk? Does this trainer look the want you want to look? 
Okay, I'm just going to say it: is your trainer fat? Because an out-of-shape trainer can be the biggest buzzkill on the planet. Youwouldn't go to a broke person to get financial advice would you? So become an excellent fruit-checker. It doesn't matter how knowledgable that trainer seems to be, if that knowledge has never been applied than they A) do not believe in their own product, and B) have never transformed their knowledge into real-life wisdom taken from first-hand experience.
On that same note, not only should one of your prerequisites be that your trainer is lean and fit, but also that they have proof that they have helped other clients achieve the same results. Ask to see their before & after gallery. EVERY great trainer who takes their job seriously has one, and most passionless, goof-off trainers do not. 

3) CAN THEY BACK IT UP No, we are not concerned if your trainer can twerk like Miley, (although if twerking gets them out of breath then we have our answer folks!) Seriously though, if they are running you through a super-tough Tabata circuit, be sure that they can complete this circuit too. 
How do we make sure of this? Ask them in your intitial consult about their greatest physical achievements. What athletic feats are they most proud of? Also, what have they competed in this past year? Are they staying razor sharp? 
Bottom line: Just make sure they can hang. 

4) DO THEY HAVE A BIG MOUTHTrainers are trusted with alot of confidential information pertaining to their clients. You want to make sure they take this very seriously. How is their bedside manner? They can be loud and energetic and boisterous (we usually tend to be) but trainers also need to know when to button their mouths and be respectful. Make sure they have a decent level of self-awareness, act appropriately, and put your privacy and comfort level as first priority. 

5) CONFIDENCEAhh. Can you agree with me that there are few things worse than a meathead trainer with an overinflated ego? Like nails on a chalkboard, am I right? I should know, 8 years ago that was me. (Insert ashamed-face emoji) But I will say this, confidence in the right amount, is one of the most important traits a trainer can possess. And true confidence in this profession can only come from 2 things: 
- the ability to be transparent with your clients because you are walking the walk day in and day out, 
- and having a track record of success with former trainees
So aside from their lient gallery, ask them: what do they believe their biggest strengths are? What about their weaknesses? The greatest trainers know exactly what their greatest physical weakness is, and they are not afraid to share. This is because there is innate understanding that we are not superheroes, we are far from perfect just like everybody else, and that everything useful lies in the process. 

6) ARE THEY A DATA COLLECTORIs your trainer focused on results? If so, they will require both quantitative (visual, photos) and qualitative (girth measurements, scale numbers, body fat %'s) data from you on a very regular basis.  Your bi-weekly weigh-in's should be like clockwork. Otherwise, how will you and your trainer be able to know if the right changes are being made to your body composition, and if the methods being employed in your fitness regimen are actually working? Trust me, the mirror does not tell the whole story. The way your clothes fit definitely does not tell the whole story. However with measuring tape and a camera, the truth always comes out. 
Let's say your goals are not aesthetic in nature, but strictly performance-based. This is no exception to the Data Collector rule. Your trainer should be logging in every PR, every stop time, every 1 Rep and CO2 max, etc. 
Either way, this is a non-negotiable for an elite trainer. So ask them during your consult what methods they employ to track progress, as well as the frequency.

7) ARE THEY HUNGRY?Is your trainer constantly seeking new knowledge? Every fitness trend, every stupid gimmick, every new fad diet that jumps on the scene, are they all over it? You want to work with someone who is obsessed with what they do. (And that doesn't just apply to personal trainers by the way.) You do not someone who is looking to merely clock in and clock out. You want to train with someone who, if you have a unique question or challenge, will go home that night and spend time reseaching the solution. They are curious, they are hungry, and they have a real, insatiable desire to help people. 

BONUS: BAD GENETICSThis one is not mandatory!
Have you ever seen someone who can eat 2 big macs and then go knock out a heavy workout right after, their six-pack never once disappearing from plain sight? This person may have been blessed with phenomenal genetics. It is a bonus if you find a trainer who actually knows what it is like to be in a not-so-blessed body, has learned and experimented and applied proper exercise technique and nutrition, and therefore has been able to transform themselves into quite the physical specimen. That person has been through what you may be going through, and can help you get to your goals with ease because they have first-hand experience on their side. 

Okay I hope that helps! Wishing you a fantastic Monday here to kick-start the week, and I look forward to hearing from yousoon! Let me know if there is anything else I can help with or any other topics you would like to read about! :)