The title of this blog post should actually be changed to “What to Expect When Hiring a Good Personal Trainer.” Unfortunately, not all personal trainers are created equal because the process of acquiring an education to become one is not standardized. Technically, anyone with a spare grand of cash and fairly decent memorization and testing abilities can become certified as a personal trainer. Unfortunately, this process doesn’t teach the majority of trainers the practical applications of training. This article will review what to expect (and demand) from a personal trainer. If you encounter any personal trainer who does not showcase all of these characteristics, I advise you to run… run FAST out the door.
1. Accountability and Support
Arguably, the most important job of the personal trainer is to provide their clients with accountability and support. A great personal trainer will keep his/her clients accountable to their goals by also being accountable on their end. This involves both parties showing up and giving effort. Personal trainers also need to support their clients by giving them the encouragement they need to keep inching towards their goals. Different clients view being supportive in different ways based on their personalities and communication styles. Personal trainers need to have the social skills to “read the room” and match or even uplift the energy that is present. Without the right amount of accountability and support, personal trainers are quite frankly just expensive repetition counters or bodybuilders who just want to make some extra cash.
2. Actionable Knowledge
Another more obvious quality that a personal trainer should possess is having extensive knowledge about biomechanics, program design, and at least a basic understanding of nutrition as these are the services their clients are paying for. The word “actionable” is also included because the PT’s knowledge should also be put to action. Personal trainers need to be able to teach the concepts of biomechanics, program design, and nutrition at its most basic level of understanding to their clients so that their clients are set up for success in the distant future. Both the PT and the client have succeeded when the client can continue the practices they learned from their trainer after their sessions with them conclude.
The last, and by no means least, characteristic a personal trainer should have is impeccable professionalism in and out of the gym. Respectable personal trainers showcase the same punctuality, communication skills, and general way of carrying themselves as any other professional (only with the added bonus of wearing comfortable clothing on the job). A personal trainer who does not carry him/herself in this manner is destined for failure. Clients deserve the respect of proper communication from their trainer (i.e. confirming a session 24 hours prior or canceling a session 48 hours prior). A very professional personal trainer would not cancel a session under any circumstances, however, emergency situations can happen on occasion. Clients pay for the time spent with their trainer so punctuality is also incredibly important from both parties. Professionalism should be a non-negotiable, “no-brainer” aspect of personal training, however, it is worrisome how often this is breached within the fitness industry. When choosing a personal trainer, ensure that professionalism is practiced from the start and maintained throughout your time spent with them.
Accountability, support, knowledge, and professionalism are the bare minimum characteristics that a personal trainer should hold. Unfortunately, the certification process does not include extensive education on these topics, otherwise the standard for becoming a PT would be increased exponentially. Although using these characteristics as criteria may limit your options when looking for a personal trainer, it will serve you well not to negotiate on them when the time comes. Having a great personal trainer can drastically change your life for the better. A great PT does not require their clients to have them around for life. A great PT does, however, teach their clients the skills they need to implement into their routine to set them up for long-term success in life.
Are you looking for personal training in the Fresno, CA area? I will be offering personal training sessions as well as high-intensity group fitness classes at Valley Fitness on Cedar and Ashlan starting January 2022. Message me via Instagram @coachtashay to get started on a training program 🙂