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What do you want in a trainer?

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Hi there,
I am really considering getting my personal training certification. However, I am not a size zero, and I'm not perfect. I am a size four, and have some stomach fat. However, I am muscular in my legs and I look healthy and fit. I essentially want to help women feel more confident in themselves at the gym. I don't want to be incredibly thin or ripped. Is it bad to pursue this dream or will people expect a ripped trainer?

Replies

  • Sheseeksstrength
    Sheseeksstrength Posts: 138 Member
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    BUMP*
  • ManiacalLaugh
    ManiacalLaugh Posts: 1,048 Member
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    I don't look at their weight, provided they're not significantly obese. Even my current trainer has confided that she is trying to lose 10 that she's gained from having a bad year and not practicing what she preaches. (That moment of honesty was pretty cool to hear)

    What I do look for, and I'm going to be quite honest here, is qualifications. My last two trainers have both had masters degrees in sports medicine, are dieticians, and have been working in the field for a while. One of these got her start working as an intern in a physical therapist's office with sports injuries. There, she learned proper form and techniques for how the body works and why we need form and control to avoid injury.

    Is requiring a degree fair to you? Not sure, it is a tough standard as many people can't get degrees on a whim. But here's the thing - I have repeatedly injured myself with trainers who didn't know what they were doing, who took some internet-based class for a week or two and then printed out their certification at home. Really, after what I've been through and how much money I've tossed at "certified" trainers, I'm a little cynical of anyone who doesn't have at least a BS relating to the field.

    So - before you worry about how you look, worry about how you're going to back up your claim that you know what you're doing. You're going to be working with a lot of people who are embarrassed to be there, desperate, and will be seeking your help because they're likely confused regarding what they're supposed to be doing. Please PLEASE get all the education you possibly can on the subject.
  • Sheseeksstrength
    Sheseeksstrength Posts: 138 Member
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    Great advice, thank you for sharing!
  • I_Will_End_You
    I_Will_End_You Posts: 4,397 Member
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    I agree with the poster above. Also, I would ditch a trainer in a heartbeat if they started spewing broscience BS about nutrition. Know your stuff, not what fitness magazines and blogs say.
  • ndj1979
    ndj1979 Posts: 29,136 Member
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    I agree with the poster above. Also, I would ditch a trainer in a heartbeat if they started spewing broscience BS about nutrition. Know your stuff, not what fitness magazines and blogs say.

    this ..

    and know proper form on all compound movements and don't steer people away from them and towards machines or 5# dumbbells...
  • Rheameg
    Rheameg Posts: 71 Member
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    I look for someone with a nice friendly demeanor, seems knowledgeable, doesn't seem to judge, etc. If you are fit I will listen. You don't have to look super thin.
  • acorsaut89
    acorsaut89 Posts: 1,147 Member
    edited July 2015
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    Hi there,
    I am really considering getting my personal training certification. However, I am not a size zero, and I'm not perfect. I am a size four, and have some stomach fat. However, I am muscular in my legs and I look healthy and fit. I essentially want to help women feel more confident in themselves at the gym. I don't want to be incredibly thin or ripped. Is it bad to pursue this dream or will people expect a ripped trainer?

    But are you going to train because it's what you really want to do, and be passionate about? You focus a lot on how you look in your post - and while beginners or those who don't know what it takes may say hey, she looks fit I'll go to her because she looks like I want to look and she can make me look like that, if you don't know how to get your clients from where they are to where they want to be then you won't have clients for very long. People don't necessarily want trainers who are "jacked" but they definitely don't want someone who just looks good in her lulus and kind of looks like she's fit, they are going to want someone who knows her stuff, who knows how to work people to the best of their ability, to prevent injury, to design programs that fit their lifestyle, etc.

    My trainer runs her own (small) gym with personal training and boot camp like classes. She doesn't look like a fitness model, at all, but what she can offer me has nothing to do with how she looks. She knows a lot about human kinetics and how the body moves - she knows how to train me for what I want. She is realistic and honest about results and she pushes you beyond your limits every single time. I don't go to her because she looks good in some lulus or because she "looks" fit - she's over 6'0 tall and is like an amazonian woman (actually, same way I'm built lol) and she's just plain awesome. I trust her - she isn't going to make me do something that will seriously hurt me - although it hurts at the time lol - and she is going to push me to where I won't push myself.

    I wouldn't spend my money on someone who looks good - I would want to see their qualifications and what they can offer me. And if what they're trying to offer me is something I read somewhere in a magazine article once, word for word or it changes every week with the latest trend then it's not for me. There will be newbies who don't know a lot about it, and may take what someone is saying just because how they say it sounds good - and this can lead to a lot of misinformation and misplaced trust. My trainer does offer new advice or opinions sometimes but she's pretty awesome about saying hey, I just read about it not sure of the benefits/impacts but might be something to consider. She isn't saying things like if you really want those results, drink this shake twice a day blah blah.

    You need to prove what you can offer to people, how you will help them because like someone said people will be desperate or may not even know anything about working out. Just having a PT "Certificate" wouldn't mean anything to me, and I probably wouldn't train with you.
  • JONZ64
    JONZ64 Posts: 1,280 Member
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    The FIRST thing I want them to ask is "What if any medical limitations do you have and have you exercised before? What are your goals?" I was going to get a trainer and when I started interviewing them (and some were offended that I was interviewing them and asking questions) they all jumped right in with what they were going to do for me without asking. One said "I require squats, heavy squats from all my people" Which is great but I have 6 plates and 24 screws in my spine and if I do squats I could be crippled. Someone who will listen first, be honest about what they can do for you, but most of all be safe
  • RAinWA
    RAinWA Posts: 1,980 Member
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    Qualifications first. The first trainer I interviewed handed me a Xerox sheet and said he starts everyone off with those exercises. The second one spent the whole time telling me how he'd revamp my diet (via expensive supplements that he would sell me).

    The third one (who is 20 pounds overweight and working on it) got history from me, understood my physical limitations and was awesome. He also picked up that I had a serious physical issue and basically fired me until I got my doctor's okay to return (which will be after surgery). I am really happy I went with the trainer who had the most experience and education.
  • jemhh
    jemhh Posts: 14,261 Member
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    I'm more interested in their qualifications and knowledge--do they know how to do what it is I want to learn and how to teach me how to do it. Are they both reasonable and non-limiting in their expecations, etc. I will admit that I probably wouldn't be thrilled with somebody totally out of shape but I'm certainly not looking for somebody who is super tiny or ripped. That wouldn't even cross my brain but TBH when somebody who is size 4 comes off as...hesitant?...about not being size 0 it does make me scratch my head.
  • Sued0nim
    Sued0nim Posts: 17,456 Member
    edited July 2015
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    My trainer is

    Knowledgeable
    Personal
    Pushy without being pushy
    Fit
    Funny
    Grown-up
    A parent
    Interested in people
    Not a pushover

    It is a personal relationship, so I expect someone I can get on with, who knows his stuff (my PT is a man), who understands good form and correct mine, who constantly evolves my training so I always feel not quite fit enough and who I can have a laugh with

  • atypicalsmith
    atypicalsmith Posts: 2,742 Member
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    I had a personal trainer for a few weeks at the Y and she was phenomenal. She had an inherent knowledge of how far to push and when to slow down. She remembered my stats from session to session - yes, maybe she read over them, but she could say, "Remember when you couldn't even do four lunges without holding onto the walls?" and make me laugh. I wish I had the money to do it again! As soon as the Y has another special, I'm latching onto her!
  • zyxst
    zyxst Posts: 9,145 Member
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    Don't lie to me about how many reps/laps I have left.