Below are a few tell tale signs of a great personal trainer. At CN Fitness we aim to deliver on all of these points for all of our clients.
Personal training is a significant investment and the best trainers don’t come cheap, so it’s important you get the most out of the investment you make.
1: A great personal trainer should offer full support and advice between sessions and not just say hello and good bye at the gym door. Personal training is about so much more than just teaching you how to exercise properly. Its about helping you make positive lifestyle changes that are going to lead to long term sustainable results. When working with a personal trainer, full email support between sessions for any questions you have, structured exercise programmes for when training on your own, nutrition advice, planning and recipe ideas should all be part of the package. If your trainer just beasts you for an hour in the gym and leaves you to your own devices until your next session, this is a bad sign.
2: A great personal trainer should be focus on you, the client, throughout the session. Few things in the world make my blood boil more than seeing a personal trainer with a client, who is paying them good money, texting on their phone or scrolling through Facebook in the middle of a session. This is never acceptable.
Imagine if you went to see your GP about something and they got their phone out and started texting or scrolling through Facebook while you were sitting there, of course this would be completely unacceptable, the same is true for personal training. If there is an emergency, the trainer should apologise and excuse themselves from the session while they deal with it, apart from that, it just should not happen.
Phones can and should be used for taking videos to give the client visual feedback or checking the clients programme online or something of that nature and iPads are a great tool to take session notes on. These are acceptable uses of technology during sessions, but texting and Facebook are not!
3: A great personal trainer should have an infections energy and enthusiasm that makes you believe in your self and want to work hard. Personal training, especially if the trainer is busy, is hard work. It often involves early mornings, late nights and split shifts. Despite this, your trainer should always be high in energy and enthusiastic about training you. Their energy should be infectious and make you believe in yourself throughout and beyond the time you are working with them. Im not talking about putting on a fake smile and throwing high fives all over the place, I’m talking about a genuine enthusiasm to help you reach your goals. This genuine excitement about helping your reach your goals cant be faked and it will be obvious if they have it or not. If your trainer is constantly leaning against a piece of equipment with their hands in their pockets looking around at other people or themself in the mirror, look for another trainer.
4: A great personal trainer should have a proven track record of getting results. A trainer should be able to demonstrate the results that they have achieved with previous clients through testimonials and before and after pictures. There is more to personal training than before and after pictures as not every client has visual changes as their priority. However they are a good indication that your trainer knows how to help people look and feel better which is what a huge percentage of personal training clients are after
5: A great personal trainer should know more about you than you know about them. A personal trainers job is to get to know you as a client and gain an understanding of what is going to work for you and / or what you are struggling with, how your week has been etc. If they spend most of the time between sets in a session talking about themselves, how their training is going, how much they can lift, what they were up to at the weekend etc, this is a bad sign. Of course getting to know each other and building rapport is important, but the focus should be on you the client, unfortunately its pretty common for trainers to be self obsessed and just talk about themselves all the time.
6: A great personal trainer should always have a clear plan in place. At the start of a Personal training package and at the start of every session your trainer should be able to tell you what the plan is. What you are going to be working on for the next 2,4,8 weeks etc and what todays session is going to consist of. What exercises you are going to work on, weights, rest periods etc. Its all to common for trainers just to wing their sessions and make it up as they go along, for clients that are paying £30,£40,£50 per session this is unacceptable. Your trainer should be able to show you a written plan for the workout at the start of the session. Of course session can change on the spot based upon how you are getting on and available equipment etc but that is different. There should always be a clear structured plan in place.
7: A great personal trainer should keep accurate records of your sessions and progress. If they aren’t taking notes and keeping record of what you are doing in the gym, some fitness / performance measurements and how your body composition is changing, its very difficult for them to know if what they are doing with you is actually working and its likely they are just making things up at the start of each session. It comes down to planning as said in the previous point, keeping records and measuring progress is essential to effective programme design and helps massively with your progress moving forward.
8: A great personal trainer should be continuously educating themselves and improving. Even after ten years in the industry and spending a five figure some on continued education courses I’m still learning every day and know I have so much more to learn. If your personal trainer has been in the industry for a while and only has one Level 3 personal training qualification, its questionable how serious they are about being the best they possible can be for their clients. The barrier to entry into the personal training industry is extremely low, any one reading this can be a fully qualified personal trainer within 6 weeks by taking an intensive course where you are guaranteed to pass as long as you pay for the course, yes you read that right, 6 weeks. Qualifications aren’t everything and some people with one one or two qualifications may be great trainers and some people with lots of qualifications may be useless, but in general being highly qualified is a good sign that your trainer takes their job seriously.