How to Find a Good Personal Trainer (5 Mistakes to Avoid) | Nerd Fitness


Earlier than you fork out some money for a private coach, learn this information!

It’ll enable you spot the distinction between a unhealthy private coach and an AMAZING coach. 

And belief us, having the precise coach could make ALL the distinction on the planet.

There’s nothing worse than spending 6+ months in a health club (and hundreds of {dollars}) with a coach, solely to step on the dimensions and understand that you simply haven’t made any progress.

It’s…

someone singing "The Worst"

I’ve labored with good trainers and unhealthy trainers over the previous 16 years, have labored with the identical on-line private coach since 2014, and we’ve got a crew of 15 private trainers on Staff Nerd Health.

Lengthy story quick, we all know our stuff, and we’ll give it to you straight.

Whether or not or not you need to try our 1-on-1 On-line Coaching Program, this information goes that will help you with all the small print.

On this information we’ll cowl the great, the unhealthy, and the ugly in the case of private trainers – each in-person and on-line:

What do you want from a private coach

As Coach Matt explains within the video above, the primary query you might want to ask when hiring a private coach: do they match up together with your targets?

And yep, which means we’re going to have to choose some targets within the first place!

So begin by choosing your targets after which decide if the coach you’re paired up with is the precise match for you. Like courting, you may meet someone who’s wonderful however not best for you.

A gif of Chandler saying "kill me"

If someone is a aggressive marathon runner, they may not be an incredible powerlifting coach, and vice versa.

So, begin together with your targets for locating a private coach:

  1. Are you attempting to lose 300 kilos? 20 pounds? Get to 10% body fat?
  2. Are you trying to get stronger or hold your first handstand?
  3. Do you want to become a competitive powerlifter?
  4. Are you looking to run your first 5k?
  5. Do you just want to get in shape, feel better, and enjoy exercise?

These goals will largely determine the type of trainer you’re looking for.

MISTAKE #1: Not making sure your trainer has expertise in the area you want to train in.

Expertise in one area does not necessarily make them a good fit in another!

After that, you’ll want to think about what you NEED from your personal trainer:

  1. Are you looking for a powerlifting coach to show you the basics (squat, deadlift, bench) so your form is right? Just a few sessions up front and a few later down the line to confirm you’re on the right path might suffice.
  2. Are you new to working out or looking to kick start your first 2 months of training with 2 sessions per week to keep you disciplined?
  3. What type of person are you? Do you need more hands-on guidance throughout your workouts, or more space to take ownership and thrive on your own? Do you need somebody who will cheer you on or do you need tough love from somebody to call you on your bullshit?

Once you set proper expectations with what you want and how long you need a trainer for, then you can pick out one that hopefully will work for you.

How to find a good personal trainer

A personal trainer stretching out a client.

Once you find a trainer you are considering working with, the next step should always be an in-depth conversation.

MISTAKE #2: Blindly accepting what your trainer tells you without making sure you fit together! 

They SHOULD be listening to you completely and hear your full story.

They SHOULD ask about any past issues with injuries or experience with exercise. If you’re injured or have any deficiencies, they should know this so they can create a great program for you.

They SHOULD ask you about your nutrition. If they don’t ask about your nutrition, you’re going to be wasting your time.

They SHOULD practice what they preach. They don’t have to be an Olympian, but should have a healthy lifestyle.

They SHOULD tell you about their expertise and how they can help you. They should be able to share past successes of clients with you or point to their credentials and history of success.

They SHOULD set proper expectations. You won’t get ripped in a month, but they can let you know it could take many months to get in shape or build the right kind of habits.

That’s what to look for. These are the things we specifically focus on with our 1-on-1 online coaching program. We love helping people in a way that fits their lifestyle, at a pace that they feel great about, while actually having fun.

What are the Signs of a bad personal trainer?

Our Lego friend is terrified of bad personal trainers.

Beware the “entertainment exercise” trainers with a routine that isn’t catered to your goals.

MISTAKE #3: Thinking a workout is more effective because it’s confusing.

Many trainers just try to confuse you with needlessly complex movements, and put all their clients through roughly the same cookie-cutter plan.

Why? because they know it makes them look knowledgeable without actually needing to do something effectively:

“Now balance on this bosu ball while doing these dumbbell squat lunge curls and standing on one foot with your tongue out! Muscle confusion!

I hope you saved some energy for the row machine.”

Make sure the training from your PT matches your goals!

Tough workouts are great, but remember that while it’s easy to get someone tired (“go do 100 burpees!”), it’s harder to help someone slowly improve and build momentum.

Sure, it might elevate your heart rate and tire you out, but if it’s not building towards your goals in a way that you couldn’t do at home, what are you paying for?

They might also have just obtained a basic certification and stopped their education there, relying on ‘conventional wisdom’ rather than doing the research and building the experience.

If your trainer says any of the following phrases, run for the high hills:

I have overheard all of these sound bites from real trainers in real gyms, and it made me weep like the Native American in the 1970s pollution ad:

Your trainer should be results-focused, not focused on scheduling you a new session and keeping you around.

I often see clients working with trainers for months and months and that client never looks any different.

The trainer is just interested in cashing another check.

Remember, your personal trainer works for YOU: Don’t let them build a program that doesn’t actually fit your needs!.

Do they adjust your workout to take care of any pre-existing injuries you may have, or do they just give you a cookie cutter workout?

Are they encouraging or helping you succeed in the way you want to be encouraged, or are they scrolling through Instagram models on their phones while you’re doing your sets?

Are they putting in the time so they can see you get results, or are they putting in the time so they can check the box and collect your money?

You’re paying money for this person’s expertise and attention – it’s not too much to ask to find somebody who takes those things seriously.

Getting in shape requires you to go when you don't feel like going

What certifications should a personal trainer have?

A personal trainer high-fiving a client.

There are a wide variety of personal trainer certifications and other “credibility indicators.”

The more traditional path – a degree in exercise science or kinesiology may mean the trainer in question is knowledgeable about the human body.

However, that doesn’t speak to any experience they may or may not have coaching in real-world circumstances.

6 of the most popular personal trainer certifications are:

  1. NSCA: National Strength and Conditioning Association
  2. ACSM: American College of Sports Medicine
  3. NASM: National Academy of Sports Medicine
  4. ACE: American Council on Exercise
  5. NPTI: National Personal Training Institute
  6. CrossFit

T-Nation provides a rundown of the professionals and cons from a coach’s perspective that we really feel can also be helpful perception from a consumer’s perspective. Make sure you test them out if you wish to be taught extra about what’s behind your coach’s certification.

CrossFit certifications are accomplished in a single weekend. Whereas a CrossFit certification doesn’t make a coach unhealthy (there are a lot of wonderful CrossFit coaches on the market!), it doesn’t assure excellence both.

Listed below are our ideas on CrossFit.

A certification from NPTI – the Nationwide Private Coaching Institute – is a credential gained from going to a full college on private coaching (fairly than attending a category or taking a take a look at).

Whereas no certification can absolutely promise excellence, we consider trainers with NPTI certifications are price your consideration.

CAVEAT TO ALL OF THIS: Loads of trainers who’ve NO certification are unbelievable, and loads of different trainers have essentially the most elite certifications and are horrible trainers.

MISTAKE #4: Blindly accepting a coach’s credentials or discounting a coach with out sure credentials.

Certifications is usually a place to begin, nevertheless it shouldn’t be the figuring out issue.

Probably the most essential issues to search for in your coach isn’t a credential or certification in any respect, however actual expertise and an enthusiasm for serving to you attain your targets.

For instance:

Trying to powerlift or get into Olympic lifting? Search for somebody who has efficiently competed of their fields, or somebody who really coaches athletes who do compete!

Have to lose a whole lot of weight? Ask a coach to share with you success tales from people who find themselves such as you.

In our view, discovering a coach with confirmed expertise and a monitor document of performing or teaching (or each) within the space of your targets is essentially the most helpful step you may take to make sure high quality.

The credential is barely a place to begin.

Trainers aren’t low cost, however the advantages will be priceless.

Keep in mind, you aren’t paying merely for his or her time with you. You’re paying for the years and years they’ve spent studying, coaching, and training.

It’s the years behind the certification that makes their time so helpful, so anticipate the price of a coach to be considerably greater than the price of a fundamental membership at your health club.

How a lot does a private coach price? Are Private Trainers Value it?

This Lego wants to know how much personal training costs.

The price of a private coach can range dramatically relying on:

However you need specifics.

The typical North American coach expenses $55 for an hour session.[1]

That’s an “common” so let’s break it down somewhat.

Listed below are the costs for working with a coach in varied capacities at my generic industrial health club within the NYC space (positively on the costlier finish):

  • 4 periods per 30 days: $95 per session = $380/month
  • 8 periods per 30 days: $85 per session = $680/month
  • 12 periods per 30 days: $79 per session = $948/month

This is what one can expect to pay for personal training near NYC.

Is that this pricing roughly than you anticipated?

Right here is how a lot a private coach prices at:

  1. International Gyms: Most huge field gyms provide private coaching:
    • LA Health: you may anticipate to pay about $60 per session.
    • 24-Hour Health: it’ll be about $80 per session.
    • Anytime Health: as little as $35 a session.
  2. Luxurious Gyms: In the event you go to a extra upscale health club like Equinox, anticipate to pay “luxurious” costs of $110+ an hour.
  3. In-Dwelling Private Coaching. In the event you don’t need to head to the health club, you may even have a private coach come to your property. The fee on this may very well be in every single place, however a tough common could be about $65 for an hour session.

Completely different trainers may have completely different {qualifications} and experience, resulting in vastly completely different coaching experiences.

This may be actually essential.

MISTAKE #5: Pondering “costlier” robotically means “higher outcomes.” 

Price will not be the precise metric. VALUE is the precise metric!

Relying in your targets and the outcomes you’re after:

  • $30 per session is perhaps overpaying for a crap coach who provides you a generic exercise and doesn’t care about you. 
  • $100 per session is perhaps a STEAL if it’s an incredible coach that will get to know your life and your character, motivates you in the best way you might want to be motivated, and helps you get previous a plateau if you stall.

That’s why remembering your “get in form” targets is essential when shopping for a private coach.

In the event you’re seeking to do 5 periods to enhance your powerlifting approach, that’s completely different than hiring a coach to be with you in individual 3x per week to get you to the health club.

HOW TO THINK ABOUT HIRING A TRAINER

You’re not simply paying for an hour of someone’s time.

You’re paying for his or her years of expertise, education, coaching, and experience.

You’re paying to outsource ALL of your health inquiries to someone who is aware of what they’re doing.

Any person who provides you the boldness you’re coaching accurately.

This Muppet knows strength training will help him gain muscle and lose weight.

So as a substitute of “I’m paying this coach for 1 hour, that is too costly,” what you’re actually paying for is confidence, momentum, and (hopefully) outcomes.

As someone who has labored with a web based coach since 2014, I’d pay any amount of cash to my coach (simply don’t inform him that) as a result of I really like getting outcomes after years of wrestle.

How does an in-person coach examine to our on-line teaching program?

Our pricing is available in at a less-expensive value than 4 periods per 30 days with a coach.

Along with constructing you a exercise program for the month, we additionally enable you together with your vitamin, mindset, and targets, and reply all of the questions you might have.

There are very actual professionals and cons to hiring an online personal trainer, so be sure you learn that subsequent part.

So a coach will be AMAZING and value each penny, IF you might have the precise one who additionally takes an lively position in your vitamin.

In any case, exercises solely make up 1-3 hours per week.

What concerning the different 165? That’s the place the progress occurs! And your coach needs to be serving to you there too!

SHOULD I HIRE AN ONLINE PERSONAL TRAINER? WHAT ARE THE PROS AND CONS OF AN ONLINE PERSONAL TRAINER?

This Lego athlete is ready for his personal training.

Warning: I’m going to be barely biased on this space, however I’ll share the trustworthy professionals and cons of on-line coaching:

As I’ve talked about, I’ve been working with an online trainer since 2014, and it’s allowed me to prove an internet troll wrong and then lose 22 pounds in 6 months while getting super strong!

Here are the Pros of Online Personal Training:

#1) Freedom to fit your schedule. With an online personal coach, you can train when and where you want to fit your schedule – your coach builds the workout program for you ahead of time, so you can fit it in at your convenience.

Compare this to a traditional coach, and you’re at the mercy of their busy schedule. If they only have time Friday morning at 8am, and you’re not a morning person, conflict ensues.

#2) Persistent worldwide accountability. I’m borrowing this phrase from a NF Coaching Client, Jeff (his success story is great). No matter where in the globe you are, your online trainer comes with you.

Which means the accountability never stops. If you travel for work, your coach can plan for that and build you a special travel routine. Getting relocated for work? No problem – your coach will still be there.

#3) Nutritional guidance. With most traditional personal trainers, you engage with them only during your scheduled visits: they help you work out and that’s about it.

With an online personal trainer, you’re connected whenever you have access to the internet. And I would imagine that MOST online coaching programs, work with you on the most important part of the equation: eating healthier!

AKA everything that happens in the 23 hours outside of the gym.

#4) More cost-effective. Most in-person personal trainers are expensive, especially if you work out with them two or three times a week.

That’s because if your trainer is working with you, they can’t work with anybody else at the same time.

When you work with an online coach, because you aren’t training with them 1-on-1 in the gym, they can provide more cost-effective guidance.

When you factor in their availability via chat and their help on habits and your nutrition, you’re looking at a life-changing experience if you find a coach that fits your personality.

#5) It might be the only option. With so many gyms closing because of the pandemic, you might not even have much of a choice here. Here’s our guide to staying in shape (while staying inside) if you need to train from home. 

When comparing online coaches versus regular coaches, I’m going to share the cons as if you have the option between a GREAT online coach and a GREAT in-person coach.

Neither of those is guaranteed.

Here are the cons of an online coach when compared against a real-life equivalent:

#1) Your coach can’t do the work for you. There’s nothing stopping you from skipping a workout and lying to your online coach that you did it. Nobody wins in this scenario, but I can totally see it happening.

So yeah, an online coach can’t pick up the weight for you, and they can’t yell at you to put down the donut. You have to do the work!

#2) No real-time feedback and instant form check. If you’re learning how to powerlift, or you’re going for a particular heavy lift, having a coach right there is HUGE.

They can tell you to move your squat slightly wider. They can guide you through the movement and consistently remind you – even when tired – to keep great form.

Although we do form-check videos, where we have coaches and clients send clips back and forth to each other, it’s not the same as having somebody critique you in real-time.

If you’re looking to nail a particularly challenging lift, or learn a dangerous gymnastics move, working with a trained professional in person is invaluable.

#3) The value of sunk cost. If you pay for a month of online coaching, there’s nothing inherently motivating you to go to the gym when it’s cold and you’re tired – your coach can’t yell at you, and you’re not letting anybody down in the moment when you don’t make it.

Compare this to working with a real coach in person.

You paid $100 for a session, and if you don’t show up, that money is *POOF* gone. So you tell yourself, “I already paid for this, and my coach is gonna be mad, I should probably go.”

And then you go. And you’re so glad that you did.

Wayne stoked he made it to the gym today to meet his personal trainer!

Although your online coach can notice that you haven’t signed in on your app, and they can ask what’s going on, this is after the fact compared to an in-person coach getting stood up.

There’s a lot to consider when debating in-person training vs. an online personal trainer.

I wouldn’t say one format is clearly better than or superior to another. It really depends on what you’re after and the circumstances of your situation.

MY PERSONAL EXPERIENCE: I’ve been working with an online trainer since 2014, and it’s truly been life-changing for me.

I had some goals that had evaded me despite a DECADE of effort, and it took a great coach to coax out the right strategy. It’s how I say (jokingly) that I went from Steve Rogers to Captain America.

And it was my coach’s programming that got me a 420-pound deadlift at a bodyweight of 172 pounds:

Rebel Leader Steve showing how to do a 420 lb deadlift at the gym.

I’m not gonna set any powerlifting records, but I’m healthier, happier, and stronger each and every month, and I’m damn proud of that.  

For somebody that can’t afford a top-of-the-line professional coach for each session, having an online coach to build your programming and guide your food choices is a verrrrry close second.

How to hire a personal trainer

It's now time to buy stuff!

HERE’S MY ADVICE: Give your new personal trainer 5 sessions before making a decision that things aren’t working out (sessions are often sold at a discount in a package).

The first session is often exploratory, explanatory, and introductory, and the trainer needs to test your limits and movements to build upon that.

This isn’t a “get fit quick” strategy, but rather one that could take months and months for you to find the right person to aid you on your journey.

Don’t expect miracles in a day!

A few words of wisdom if you do hire a trainer:

DO NOT USE YOUR TRAINER AS AN EXCUSE: Too many people will hire up a trainer and give no effort in the gym or the kitchen.

Then, when they fail to see results they can turn to their friends and say “man, my trainer is terrible, THAT’S why I’m not losing weight/getting stronger/etc.”

This happens so much more often than you’d think. A trainer is a guide, like Morpheus.

Morpheus is kind of like a personal trainer, he'll show you the way but you have to do the work.

You have to take the pill and walk through the door yourself.

MAKE CRITICISM CONSTRUCTIVE CRITICISM: Often when the trainer asks them to do something (walk every day, throw away junk food, eat a vegetable), the client/trainee comes back with 1,001 reasons why they can’t do that.

No compromise or discussion of possible solutions. This stinks.

Instead of saying “no,” offer an alternative solution and negotiate a plan: “I don’t really like broccoli, do you have a way to make vegetables taste better?”

In other words, don’t look for problems, look for solutions.

IF YOU ENJOY WORKING WITH YOUR TRAINER: Let them know and continue working with them.

The more information you can give them on your progress, the easier it will be for them to alter your program as you go on.

IF YOU DON’T ENJOY WORKING WITH YOUR TRAINER: That’s okay too. Not all relationships end in marriages.

Some first dates suck, and some trainers aren’t what you need.

I think you can be honest with them and let them know that it’s not a good fit and you will not be continuing to work with them.

Good trainers at this point will ask what they could have done better.

Trainers who are simply after your money may guilt trip you or beg you to stick around. Try somebody new and keep the search going.

REMEMBER: this is a lifelong quest, and you’re on the hunt for a great guide to help you on your journey.

They won’t do the work for you, and they can’t work miracles.

Have proper expectations, do what you’re told, and this could be the best investment you’ll make in your entire life!

Trainers in the Rebellion, what did I miss?

Those who have had experience working with Trainers, any wisdom to share from your experience?

One final note: Going to a gym is intimidating, especially if you’re starting out.

If you are in a location where there aren’t any great trainers, you don’t have access to a gym, or you’re just not ready to work with somebody in person, consider checking out our Online Coaching Program!

Schedule a free call to learn more by clicking on the image below:

Nerd Fitness Coaching Ad

If you have questions about what you need to look for when it comes to training with a coach in person, or even questions about working with an online trainer, leave them in the comments below so I can chime in!

-Steve

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photo: Decathlonwikimedia: high five, BicycleWikimedia: stretching, Amazing playground: bicycles and football



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