If you’ve got yourself a shiny new gym membership card, chances are, you’re looking for a PT, or personal trainer, to help you put your best foot forward.
Personal trainers are a great investment for a myriad of reasons. They help you learn to make the most out of gym equipment, teach you how to push yourself safely, and perhaps most important of all, they get the tough going when the going gets tough.
But that won’t always be the case. The difference between a bad and a spectacular PT isn’t always obvious. Here are a few things watch out for so you can find the right coach to smash your fitness goals:
- Blind Trust in Certification
You’re trusting your personal trainer to deliver results and meet you where you are on your fitness journey. For this reason, we can get tunnel-vision and focus way too much on certifications alone. While they are an indicator of knowledge in anatomy, physiology and fitness, it doesn’t always mean that your trainer can help you get to your goals. Take a look at their track record and evaluate the impact they’ve had.
In the same vein, you shouldn’t immediately write off trainers without a certification. Who do you trust more – a PT decorated in certificates but completely lacking zero testimonials, or a PT with a proven history of fitter, happier clients? Use discretion and take your time.
- One-Size-Fits-All Approach: Your Goals Are Unique
Beware of personal trainers who adopt a generic, one-size-fits-all approach to training. Every individual has unique fitness goals, body types, and fitness levels. A cookie-cutter workout plan might not yield the desired results. Especially if you’re injury-prone, you can even hurt yourself.
Look for a trainer who understands your specific requirements and creates a personalized program that aligns with your aspirations and capabilities. On this note, don’t discount online trainers either – you’d be surprised at the meticulousness that these trainers can exhibit, despite being separated by a laptop screen.
- Lack of Expertise in the Area You’re Training For
As an extension of the previous point, be sure that your coach has the right set of experience and knowledge that aligns with your fitness goal. Are you looking to lose weight rather than build muscle? Perhaps find a balance between the two? Or potentially a focus on heavy lifting instead?
Powerlifters, track runners or HIIT coaches, there are a variety of experts out there willing to share their knowledge with you. Talk about your goals with your potential coach and see if their expertise is a good fit for you.
- Lack of Empathy and Communication: A Recipe for Failure
Effective communication and empathy are essential qualities in a personal trainer. A trainer who lacks empathy might not understand your struggles or be able to motivate you effectively. As an indicator of success, emotional intelligence has shown to be an important element of a successful PT-client relationship.
Open communication is crucial for addressing your concerns, clarifying instructions, and ensuring you’re both on the same page. Avoid trainers who don’t prioritize building a strong rapport with their clients, as a supportive relationship can significantly impact your fitness journey.
- Not Sticking to the Basics
Complex-looking workouts don’t necessarily equate to a coach who knows their stuff. Especially if you’re a beginner, the basics are often the most effective workouts to master and eventually build upon. Take proper form for compound exercises for example. These functional exercises are staples in any strength-training workout, but require ample – perhaps guided – practice to fully take advantage of. A good personal trainer will know the value of mastering the foundations.
Conclusion: Keep Your Workouts Personal
Personal training has never gone out of style, and with the flourishing of online coaches, it doesn’t seem to be slowing down anytime soon. Arguably the greatest advantage of hiring a personal trainer is the personalized approach to training and nutrition that leaves you healthier and more motivated to exercise than if you had stepped into the gym alone.
But before even deciding to hire a PT, you can take a DNA test from CircleDNA to understand the unique ins and outs of your body’s physique and response to nutrition. From optimal workout types to chef-like recommendations on meals and daily nutrition, you can understand your own fitness profile better, be it for your own self-discovery or a handy guide for your future PT.