So I was watching The Biggest Loser last night and I laughed, was angered and finally I was left with my head shaking in disbelief. What trainer makes someone who is morbidly obese and probably hasn’t done anything in the way of exercise in years run 1 mile in order to get on “camp”? Bob and Jillian do. From what I watched at least 2 people needed to be attended to by EMT. Now, if that happened at your first meeting with your trainer would you continue with him or her? The sneak peek of upcoming episodes made me cringe. People, this is not what real world training is like. It’s good for ratings and I’m sure both of those trainers make a boat load of money. Now if you’re looking for a great trainer here’s a good place to start:
How to Evaluate Your Trainer
By: Charles DeFrancesco
When seeking a personal trainer, it is necessary for the public to educate themselves on how to interview the right person for the job. While there are many certified personal trainers out there, only a select few of them are truly competent. You should always ask and verify where their certification is from and what their credentials are. There are different types and levels of training certifications, only a handful of them are good. Most tests are multiple choice questions that are moderately difficult and some others require some essay or program design but are usually easy. What you need to look for is the continuing education courses the trainers have taken. It is the seminars and practical workshops that make a trainer better.
It is difficult for the public to decipher a good trainer from a bad one. In many cases, even the worst trainer knows more about physical fitness than the average person. Below are some fundamental questions that should be asked before making your choice. They are designed to save you from choosing a bad apple.
Questions you should ask:
- What credentials do they hold?
- Do they attend workshops and seminars? Which ones?
- How long have they been a trainer?
- How thorough was your evaluation? Did they do a medical history and test flexibility, balance, core strength, proprioception, muscle strength and endurance?
- Are they familiar with functional training (training according to daily activities or a specific goal)?
- Have they explained the importance of flexibility?
- Do they stress how important it is to properly brace the core and preserve the lumbar spine?
- Do they know what P.N.F(Proprioceptive Neuromuscular Facilitation) stretching is?
- Have they explained that function is more important than vanity?
- Can they explain what they are going to do in the routine and how it benefits you?
- Did they explain that cardio alone is an inefficient workout?
- Do they have a basic understanding of nutrition?
If you already have a trainer you can evaluate them:
- Does your trainer understand that a core routine is not a series of floor exercises?
- Do they understand current research that proves traditional sit ups, leg raises and many of the common exercises that flex the spine can actually be harmful even for healthy people?
- Are you doing more free weights and medicine balls than machines?
- Do they ever take notes?
- Are you being properly warmed up at the beginning and being stretched at the end?
- Does your trainer change the routine periodically?
- Does you trainer incorporate balance boards, swiss balls, single leg exercises and other challenged environments?
- When training the core (midsection) does your trainer explain how important it is to do dynamic multiplantar movements as well as isometric exercises and the importance of low back exercises?
- Does your trainer target weak areas?
- If you feel pain in places that you should not like your knees, low back and neck does your trainer change or modify the exercise to a pain free range?
- Do you truly understand what you are doing while you train?
- Are you really getting results?
- Do you do more back exercises than chest and abs?
- Are you setting goals?
- Are you talking about you and your needs?
- Are you getting undivided attention?
If you answered no to any of these questions, then your trainer may be lacking key knowledge that is necessary for you to reach your fitness goals. More importantly, your trainer may be doing you more harm than good. It is simple for a trainer to deceive an unsuspecting client into believing they are knowledgeable. This is due to the general public not being educated about the fitness industry and trusting a gym will provide them with a competent trainer. In most cases, gyms are not always concerned with the quality of the people they are hiring. If a gym thinks a trainer possesses strong sales skills, they will hire them as long as they have some type of certification. A qualified fitness professional will understand at the very least everything listed above. Remember when hiring a trainer to make sure they are a full time professional. Part time does not cut it when it comes to your health. Would you go to a part time Medical Doctor?
Be aware of trainers that are charging low rates
The going rate for a high level trainer in a gym like Equinox or New York Sports Club is around $85-$90/hr even their entry level trainers are $65-$70/hr in addition to membership. There are other gyms that charge way more than the rates just mentioned. In homes for a high level professional trainer are around $125 and can be more. You may be able to get a really good trainer for $90-$100 depending on travel time, trainers charging much less are either just starting out, not that good or a close friend. You get what you pay for. It is important you research the trainers’ certification and check to make sure they are currently certified by multiple accredited agencies.
It is important to understand that certifications and degrees certainly help but do not mean everything. You want to know about their clinical experience and the workshops they attend. Ask who they work with and get at least three references to call from current clients. See if they work with any local doctors, all the good trainers work with at least one doctor. A bad trainer can hurt you – do your research and make sure they are good.
Hope this was insightful and helpful. Talk to you soon.
Stay Healthy My Friends,