Working with a personal trainer can be one of the best ways to improve your health and fitness. The problem is that not all trainers offer value and finding a good one can be tricky. Smashing out a 60 minute workout that leaves you feeling broken is both ineffective and unnecessary, but all too common.
In my opinion a personal trainer should use their skills, knowledge and experience to offer you a long term approach to achieving improved health and fitness in line with your personal goals.
A good personal trainer should be able to help you to:
1. Establish realistic and achievable goals to work towards.
This is essential! Goal setting is unique and specific to every individual and must be realistic and achievable. Identifying goals that are closely linked with how you want to live your life is key.
2. Assess your current health and fitness to identify areas of weakness to focus on.
To give you an example, in my experience people often have limited range of movement in at least one area of their body and poor core stability. Without addressing these areas first you are setting yourself up for injury!
3. Create a well considered, adaptable and appropriate program.
Having a detailed and considered program that is adaptable is essential. The program should be in line with your goals and well balanced. Training sessions must be planned and appropriate in terms of exercise selection, intensity, duration and frequency. If nutrition is part of your program, and it should be, this also needs to be considered.
4. Perform exercises with perfect technique.
Bad technique is simply unacceptable! A good trainer will always ensure that good technique is in place before incorporating the exercise as part of the program. Poor technique makes the exercise ineffective and can cause injury. It is also worth considering that once a bad technique is established it can be incredibly challenging to correct. Get it right from day one and if you can’t perform the exercise with good technique then you shouldn’t be doing it!
5. Get motivated!
A personal trainer must able to motivate you and more importantly empower you to motivate yourself! The key to motivation is to identify a motivating factor that is directly linked to your personal goals. Motivation does not, in my opinion, mean screaming at you like a military general on steroids! I motivate my clients with gentle encouragement, positivity and enthusiasm.
6. Gain a deeper understanding of health and fitness principles
The ‘why’ is important! A good trainer will take the time to explain why your are doing something and what the benefits are. Knowledge is power! Gaining a deeper understanding will empower you to take responsibility for your own health and fitness. This long term approach is often overlooked!
7. Work towards health
The central focus of any program should always be good health. Without health everything else is irrelevant. The World Health Organization (WHO) defined health in its broader sense in its 1948 constitution as "a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity." Health is the foundation upon which fitness can be built.
8. Keep things interesting and enjoyable
A good trainer should always ensure that sessions are enjoyable and fun. It is important to mix it up and keep things varied with new exercises, training methods, progressions and if possible different environments. If you don’t enjoy your training sessions motivation will be an issue.
9. Make significant and long lasting health and fitness improvements
The long term approach is the only approach. Health and fitness is not achieved overnight and consistency over time is key. Yes you can achieve a lot in 12 weeks but if you want to maintain improvements then a long term lifestyle approach must be adopted.
10. Keep you accountable!
A good trainer will keep you accountable and that will help you to stay on target to achieve your goals. Your trainer must not be afraid to have an honest conversation with you and that might mean telling you what you don’t want to hear. Trainers like teachers have heard a million excuses but if you feel accountable to your trainer, and more importantly yourself it will help you to stay on track.
If you are considering working with a personal trainer then I hope that this post will help you to understand what you should expect for your trainer. There are obviously many other aspects that define a good trainer but, in my opinion these are some of the absolute essentials.
James @ Natural Form