If only it was this easy to know if a trainer was worth your time or not…


I’ve literally seen this while visiting gyms all over the nation. Most commercial facilities will have a couple (if not more) of these so called trainers, who are more interested in technology than their clients.

I love technology (embedding for this video was removed, sorry)

Because every year thousands of people try personal training for the first time, I want to give you a short list of things to look for BEFORE you choose a trainer. If you already have a trainer who does something on this list, the ball is in your court. I’d recommend finding another trainer and following these guidelines:

1 – If they text while a client is working out – You shouldn’t be on your phone while driving and you shouldn’t text while working or training. Simply leave your phone in the car or in the locker room, your trainer should do the same. Make sure your trainer is attentive and listens to you.

2 – Form is always the most important – If you see a trainer letting their client lift with improper form, move on. You are more likely to injure yourself than actually make improvements to your overall health.

I had a hard time watching this whole video,  watching someones form should not evoke bleeding eyes and a strong gag response.

3 – One type of workout – If you see a trainer “training” everyone the exact same way there, is probably a problem. Personal training is exactly that, personal. Your program should have specific drills for you, from dynamic warm-ups to strength exercises. Unless you are in a class or boot camp your workouts should be tailored.

4 – No assessment – If your first session is a brutal workout with no assessment, you most likely did not get a personal workout. Some trainers can quickly assess while others simply don’t assess. You should always go through some kind of assessment before training. This gives the trainer a foundation for creating your program, not just your workout, your program.

5 – Programming not just workouts – If you see a trainer taking their clients through: Foam Rolling (tissue quality work), Dynamic Warm-ups and a Workout, you probably found a keeper.

6 – Certified/Educated – A national certification through NSCA, ASCM or NASM, there are other certifications but these are the big 3 that I value. A degree in Exercise Science, Kinesiology or Physiology are helpful but personally I look for a certification first. Training is a specific skill which isn’t necessarily taught in an undergraduate program.

A short rant, when I was back at the corporate setting I had the joy of watching new trainers start their fitness careers (most were very short). Each month was the same, they all thought it was their job to beat the hell out of their clients. It’s true that one thing people look for when working with a trainer is a good workout. However that is just a part of what a good trainer should be doing. As I mentioned in # 5, there are other elements that need to be added to someones program. If weight loss is your goal, nutrition should be addressed and will represent 70-80% of your success. You simply can never out-work bad nutrition. If all a trainer has to offer is a “hard” workout, you’re missing the boat with total body health the fitness. You can easily find someone to kick your a** but finding a professional that will keep you healthy and address your inefficiencies are worlds apart.

Those are my top 6 recommendations for those of you who are searching for a trainer this New Year. The list could have easily been double but 6 points are easy to remember, plus it’s the best number.