Is your trainer fit for you?

A big decision Only the right trainer can provide you with that extra motivation

A big decision Only the right trainer can provide you with that extra motivation  

Whether you’re just starting off on your fitness journey, or entrenched in it, you may want to hire a personal trainer to coach and guide you. Many people need that extra motivation that they hope their trainer will provide. So how do you go about engaging with the right trainer and how do you decide if he is the right fit for you?

First, certification

There are several bodies that certify trainers. It could be IFAA India, (International Fitness and Aerobic Academy), ACE (American Council on Exercise), ACSM (American College of Sports Medicine), National Academy of Sports Medicine and several more. Your trainer may be a physiotherapist by qualification who has gone on to do some fitness training in a specialised field like strength training or Pilates. Many trainers who are perhaps athletes or sports people, or have been body builders are absorbed into a fitness facility and trained there to work with their clients. Look into their background when you start to work with a trainer.

Although your trainer’s skill and knowledge are very important, even more important are his or her interpersonal skills, emotional and social intelligence and ability to guide and motivate. He or she may be very qualified and knowledgeable but lacking in empathy and understanding your needs.

It is worth asking your trainer what his idea of fitness is. Is it just about looking buff or lean, or is it more holistic, combining nutrition, motivation and overall well-being? Does he ask what you’re looking for or does he tell you what you should be doing?

Here are some questions to address…

Does he understand the various aspects of fitness such as aerobic fitness, strength, flexibility, and so on and how they should be applied to you?

Does he understand the importance of diet and can he advise you on it (or refer you to a nutritionist when necessary)? Does he talk to you about your dietary habits?

Does he know enough to handle your particular body, if say, you have diabetes and are on medication? Does he ask about the medication you are taking?

If you are a senior, can he handle an older client? Has he worked with older clients before? Similarly, in the case of children, is he qualified and does he have the experience?

Does he ask you detailed questions to understand your lifestyle? For example, if your job is sedentary, if you travel a lot, if you socialise a lot, where you eat, if you have trained before, what kind of exercise you enjoy the most and so on?

Does he give you motivating tips to fill in the rest of your day (not just the hour in the gym)?

How does he motivate and challenge you? Does he use negative associations (by saying you are fat and need to lose weight) or is he positive in his approach (by saying something like losing weight will help you lead a healthier, more enjoyable life and praising you when you improve)?

Does he know just how much to push and challenge you, or does he insist on pushing you beyond your capabilities to a point of exhaustion and injury?

Does he constantly make comparisons between you and other clients, making you feel bad?

Are you motivated and inspired by him?

Does he use encouraging language and praise you often when you achieve small goals, or does he make you feel you are just not good enough?

Does he help you set realistic goals and achieve them?

Does he demonstrate exercises, explaining them to you, helping you understand why you do them and what body part they address?

Every individual is different and needs to be treated as such. The goals you set for yourself should be your goals and not your trainer’s, unless he explains to you why your goals may not work (like losing 10 kg in a month when you aren’t overweight at all, for instance).

Your trainer should be a person who can guide you towards your specific goals, educating you about your fitness routine. The goal should be to be able to exercise independently when necessary and not be dependent on a trainer to tell you exactly what to do and how to do it for the rest of your life.

It’s okay to want to be motivated or inspired, but at some point the motivation should come from within you. In time, you should be confident enough to be able to handle your own fitness routine and perhaps even inspire others.

The author is an ob-gyn; founder, Training for Life, and author of Gain to Lose, Get Size Wise, and Fit After 40

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Printable version | Aug 12, 2020 4:21:02 PM |

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