Hiring a personal trainer is a great way to achieve your fitness goals. However, there are a few ways to ensure that you are getting the most out of your personal training sessions.
Sean Toy is an ISSA certified personal trainer from Boston, Massachusetts. He holds an ISSA Elite Certification including Certified Personal Training/Corrective Exercise as well as a Sports Nutrition Certification. He provides his top four tips for getting the most from your personal trainer.
Find the Right Trainer
According to Sean Toy, in order to get the most from your personal trainer you first need to shop around and find one that’s right for you. These days, there are many different ways to find personal trainers. Sure, you can certainly check out your local gym. But you can even search online or on social media to find out about new trainers in your area. Your gym or local fitness club may also have specific recommendations based on your fitness level and goals.
When you set up a meeting with a personal trainer, start by asking them about their credentials. You want to ensure that your personal trainer is actually certified and has the education required to come up with a safe and effective program for you. For example, as mentioned above, Sean Toy holds an ISSA Elite Certification, including a Personal Training/Corrective Exercise certification, and a Sports Nutrition certification. You want to find a trainer that has this education, so you can be confident that they know what they’re doing. Once you have confirmed their education, it’s important to explain your fitness goals to them in order to see if their experience and certifications are in line with your goals.
Examples of other important questions you can ask include, “What results have you achieved with your other clients?”, “What experience do you have working with people like me?”, and “How would you describe your personal training style?” Overall, treat it like an interview. After all, a personal trainer is someone you will likely see several days a week, so you want to make sure that they are the right fit for you.
Have Clear Goals in Mind
People that get the most out of their personal trainers are those who have clear goals in mind. It’s alright if you don’t know exactly what your goals are during the first session, but ideally, you’ll want to identify them and share them with your trainer as soon into your training as possible. That’s because your personal trainer will tailor your fitness regimen to your goals, so the more specific you can be, the more they can help you. You can even ask your trainer to assist you in identifying your goals by doing a few assessment drills.
Sean Toy says that it’s a good idea to have a general idea of your fitness by measuring your flexibility, strength, balance, and posture. Depending on your preference, you may also measure cardio fitness, body weight, or body fat percentage. With this information, both you and your trainer will have an easier time figuring out which areas might need some improvement. Finally, it’s important to remember that goals change. A few months or even weeks into your training, you likely won’t have the same goals that you had at the beginning. That’s perfectly normal and in fact, personal trainers are experts at adapting their programs along the way.
Develop a Rapport
Communication is key in all relationships and that includes the trainer-client relationship. According to Sean Toy, too often clients are hesitant to really engage with their personal trainer and say what’s on their mind. This ultimately hurts both parties. In order to get the most out of your personal trainer, you have to develop a strong rapport or working relationship with them.
To figure out if you think you work well together, consider whether you understand what the personal trainer is telling you during your sessions and if you like the way they communicate instructions to you. In addition, try and get a feeling for whether your trainer has picked up on your body language to understand when you need to be pushed and when you’ve had enough.
Overall, you also want to consider how you feel coming out of each session. Are you motivated and inspired or down and negative? Sometimes a particular trainer’s training style just won’t be for you, but most of the time, there’s nothing a little bit of communication can’t solve. Don’t be afraid to tell your trainer exactly what you need from them, especially at the beginning. If you don’t understand something or feel they’re pushing you too far, speak up. Hopefully, the more you get to know your trainer, the more comfortable you will be around them and the more they will understand exactly what you need to stay motivated.
Respect Your Trainer
One final piece of advice? Respect your trainer, shares Sean Toy. This means respecting their time and their methods. It might seem tedious to take 30 or 60 second breaks between sets, but there is a reason behind these breaks, especially when doing high intensity cardio training. If you follow the trainer’s exact plan, including how long your breaks last and when to take them, you’re far more likely to see better results.
Lastly, don’t lie to your trainer. Saying you worked out more than you did or you ate better than you did might make you feel better in the moment, but it can directly affect your program and the results you see. Being honest with your trainer is the best way for them to create a program that works for you. It will also allow both of you to be realistic about the results, says Sean Toy.
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