What do you look for in a trainer?

2»

Replies

  • surfbug808
    surfbug808 Posts: 251 Member
    Referring to my previous post, I meant less PBF Percentage of Body Fat. I'm learning that it's a different reference than body fat mass. I'm new to weight-loss so still figuring out what everything means what!
  • its_cleo
    its_cleo Posts: 544 Member
    Maybe you can ask at the gym up front what their process is and the education of their trainers. That could help to weed out pwople right away.

    One thing I did not say was my gym and trainer are very expensive. Unfortunately I found gyms like Goodlife just had bad trainers. So I really splurge on it to have someone good. Unfortunately the cost can be a barrier.
  • Cherimoose
    Cherimoose Posts: 5,210 Member
    surfbug808 wrote: »
    This trainer doesn't have any certifications, but I found out is new.

    I did warn you about those things. Gyms that select a trainer should be avoided. That's like a restaurant choosing your meal.
    surfbug808 wrote: »
    I meant less PBF Percentage of Body Fat. I'm learning that it's a different reference than body fat mass. I'm new to weight-loss so still figuring out what everything means what!

    Total weight x bodyfat % = fat weight (fat mass)
  • surfbug808
    surfbug808 Posts: 251 Member
    Cherimoose wrote: »
    surfbug808 wrote: »
    This trainer doesn't have any certifications, but I found out is new.

    I did warn you about those things. Gyms that select a trainer should be avoided. That's like a restaurant choosing your meal.

    The warning helped actually. It's the only reason I even thought to ask about certifications at all (though I asked too late AFTER getting booked and meeting the trainer the day of). I realize it seems obvious to experienced people to ask beforehand, but I'm figuring it out now. Lesson learned... Good analogy about choosing. They didn't have "menu" of trainers for me to look at... instead I talked to a manager afterwards. She suggested someone else and offered a discount. I'll keep looking.
  • surfbug808
    surfbug808 Posts: 251 Member
    its_cleo wrote: »
    Maybe you can ask at the gym up front what their process is and the education of their trainers. That could help to weed out pwople right away.

    One thing I did not say was my gym and trainer are very expensive. Unfortunately I found gyms like Goodlife just had bad trainers. So I really splurge on it to have someone good. Unfortunately the cost can be a barrier.

    Good idea on asking what the gyms minimum standards are.
    Cost is a factor, but I'm putting money aside to hire a good trainer. I find it's well worth it.
    The gym I went to yesterday is exclusive, quite nice, and expensive as a result, but I got put off by the new and inexperienced trainer. I was recommended to another one who specializes in strength training and injury rehab (something I need) so we'll see.

    There's quite a few smaller family owned specialized weight-lifting/body building gyms in my area. I'll be checking out those too.
  • surfbug808
    surfbug808 Posts: 251 Member
    Update: Worked with a more experienced trainer today (has experience in competitive lifting championships, training athletes, working in physiotherapy/rehab). A much better fit and night and day difference from the new and less experienced trainer I initially worked with a week ago. The more experienced trainer asked more focused questions, helped establish clear goals, and worked on exercises based on what my specific interests were, in conjunction with my current activities. The less experienced trainer seemed to give me more of a random or what seemed more like a general template.

    I also looked at another gym and saw a bio comparison to get a better idea of trainer standards there. The other gym seemed to have higher standards (nearly everyone had a university degree in kinesiology, physical education or something related), along with NASM, IFBB and/or something along those lines, and more years of experience. So, I'm learning a lot while shopping around. I realize that it may not be cost effective to jump from one trainer to the other, so I hope to find a right gym/trainer soon. I've booked another appointment with today's trainer for the time being and will see how it goes. I'm just happy to be strength training again and am working on getting a solid routine worked into the rest of my activities.
  • girlwithcurls2
    girlwithcurls2 Posts: 2,227 Member
    sgt1372 wrote: »
    Never used one but, if I did, I'd look for 1 that:

    1) I liked personally
    2) paid attn to MY goals, not what s/he thinks my goals should be
    3) implemented a plan to achieve MY goals, and
    4) Didn't chg too much to do it.

    This. My trainer listened to what my goals were and created a program around it. Also around my time constraints. It's been a year, and I'm still lifting (which was one of my goals).

    I had a trainer in my 20s who was a former high school football coach. He used to "yell" at me and frankly, as a 28 year old, chubby new mom, it was degrading. I finally yelled back that I wasn't one of his high school kids. Other than that, he was fantastic.

    If you go with a trainer from your gym, look around at how they train people. I went with a man because the female trainers go really easy on the women because most of them are looking for basic strength and resistance, not a progressive plan.
  • surfbug808
    surfbug808 Posts: 251 Member
    sgt1372 wrote: »
    Never used one but, if I did, I'd look for 1 that:

    1) I liked personally
    2) paid attn to MY goals, not what s/he thinks my goals should be
    3) implemented a plan to achieve MY goals, and
    4) Didn't chg too much to do it.

    This. My trainer listened to what my goals were and created a program around it. Also around my time constraints. It's been a year, and I'm still lifting (which was one of my goals).

    I had a trainer in my 20s who was a former high school football coach. He used to "yell" at me and frankly, as a 28 year old, chubby new mom, it was degrading. I finally yelled back that I wasn't one of his high school kids. Other than that, he was fantastic.

    If you go with a trainer from your gym, look around at how they train people. I went with a man because the female trainers go really easy on the women because most of them are looking for basic strength and resistance, not a progressive plan.

    I'm clear that I'm not into the "yelling" types. Having trained in sports since I was a teenager, now that you mention gender, I seem to do better with male instructors too (I'm a female). I didn't really think of much of gender in terms of trainers, and I don't know about "the female trainers go really easy on the women because most of them are looking for basic strength and resistance, not a progressive plan". The most impressive bios at the other gym were actually from the women trainers. I could be assuming things but if they are professionally body building etc. they may be able to put together a good progressive plan for me. I don't know.

    The guy I worked with yesterday was great tho, and yeah, with my schedule, already outlined a possible plan that would likely work well for me. I hate to say it and I don't know if this is just anecdotal evidence to your argument and also my experience, but if it's gender based, he was no nonsense. After the assessment, we went straight to lifting and form etc. The woman I saw earlier, had me do some kind of breathing meditation (which is fine, I've meditated for years), gentle stretching and warm-up, but none of this was what I was looking for (and I said as much) to begin my strength training. When we got to finally training in the next session, I felt like my abilities were being underestimated, because the exercises we did were not as challenging as I needed them to be... It did cross my mind that maybe I should deliberately pick a male trainer given my experiences in the past...
  • Cherimoose
    Cherimoose Posts: 5,210 Member
    surfbug808 wrote: »
    I could be assuming things but if they are professionally body building etc. they may be able to put together a good progressive plan for me

    If you want to be a bodybuilder, definitely. For general fitness, i've found that many trainers with a bodybuilding background prefer a more limited range of exercises than other trainers, who may include more diversity, like sandbags, battling ropes, kettlebells, boxing, plyometrics, etc. Obviously there are exceptions to this, but that's the trend i've noticed. Something to keep in mind, if you like a lot of diversity.

    Btw, it's not necessarily bad for a 1st session to not be super challenging, since the trainer should be assessing you and correcting form. But if an exercise is downright easy, ask to increase the resistance. :+1:
  • ku140
    ku140 Posts: 63 Member
    edited October 2019
    As a former trainer, I hope I can offer some insight as well! Full disclosure: I did not have a degree and had an ACE certification.

    I think picking a trainer is an incredibly personal experience. I worked at a large gym and conducted my own sessions (one on one and group fitness). I was a great trainer for some people based on their goals and what they needed out of a trainer. I wasn't a good fit for others based on those same reasons.

    Being a trainer at a large corporate gym was awful. It was a good place to get started, and some of my fellow trainers were excellent, but many of us were new. We didn't get paid except when actually training, so any time spent on developing a training program for our clients was off the clock (which is a lot of time when you have 20 clients a week). No dedicated areas for PT clients also meant we constantly had to change up the desired workouts. I had to have at least 8 different ideas for each muscle group all the time! Which in itself is manageable, but when you want to stick to the program you developed, it sucks. Managers pushed the "yelling" style because they thought it would draw attention to personal training in a positive way (which I refused to do). I ultimately got fired because I sat on the mat with my clients during ab work so I could observe their form better and keep them encouraged (without yelling!). Not every gym is like this, but beware. Many trainers truly do want to help you and encourage you, but often struggle with policies like these.

    I think it's important to try a few different trainers and see who you work best with. A good trainer will at least somewhat alter their training style according to what their client needs, so just observing them with other people isn't always the best bet. I had some clients LOVE tough love, some clients would hate it. IMO (probably biased) a trainer should be interested in more than your fitness goals. Not in an overly personal way, and again everyone is different (going back to a trainer should be able to read their clients and gauge what is helpful). I noticed that as I took the time to understand their eating habits, stress triggers, etc., I could really help people make a difference in their overall health. But, I also mostly worked with women who wanted to lose weight, so that could just be based on the group I worked with most!

    I also think a trainer having personal experience with your goal is helpful. It isn't a requirement, but honestly, who better to help you achieve something than a person who has gone through it themselves?

    I hope this was somewhat helpful and not just a ramble about my experience :)
  • firef1y72
    firef1y72 Posts: 1,578 Member
    Cherimoose wrote: »
    If you want to be a bodybuilder, definitely. For general fitness, i've found that many trainers with a bodybuilding background prefer a more limited range of exercises than other trainers, who may include more diversity, like sandbags, battling ropes, kettlebells, boxing, plyometrics, etc. Obviously there are exceptions to this, but that's the trend i've noticed. Something to keep in mind, if you like a lot of diversity.

    I've noticed this watching the few trainers in the gym I go to. The majority are really in to the heavy lifting and I'm sure they are fantastic for that, but they do seem to.use the same exercises week.in week.out, focusing on the lifting side for the majority of the time.

    My trainer doesn't work in the gym I go to, we train outside (in all weather) and while she does emphasize form (even when I'm lifting on my own or in someone else's class I hear her voice in my head "head up, engage shoulders, chest up, bum down, etc. Etc") no two PT sessions are ever the same (ok there are some amraps that we do every couple of months to assess my fitness level and any improvement), and she has me working on all areas of my fitness.

    She also shouts at me, a lot, but that is what works best for me. She shouts at me, I swear at her and say I cant, she gives me the look and then I discover I can

  • surfbug808
    surfbug808 Posts: 251 Member
    ku140 wrote: »
    As a former trainer, I hope I can offer some insight as well! Full disclosure: I did not have a degree and had an ACE certification.

    I think picking a trainer is an incredibly personal experience.
    I was a great trainer for some people based on their goals and what they needed out of a trainer. I wasn't a good fit for others based on those same reasons.

    Being a trainer at a large corporate gym was awful.

    Getting an inside perspective does help. I realize that if a gym doesn't treat their trainers well, it's probably going to translate in some way to the training (whether that's attitude/morale, accessibility to gym equipment, marketed approach or whatever). I agree, it's about the right chemistry and alignment too. My partner doesn't like gyms (having managed one for over a decade she got real sick of them), and hired a trainer and they worked out in the park together weekly. I've considered that as well, though right now, I think I'd like to be indoors with access to certain equipment etc. All of the feedback on this thread is very helpful!