Does your personal trainer give a damn?
The most important quality in any personal trainer is that they genuinely care about you, your results and your overall wellbeing. You may not be in a position to properly assess your trainer’s knowledge, experience or expertise, but you should be able to tell if they care. Here are the signs to look out for:
Are You Making Progress?
Are you making exactly the type of progress you expected and hoped for when you first signed up? If not, what is your trainer doing about it? Are they on your case to help you become more compliant? Are they trying different approaches? Are they helping you establish more realistic expectations?
One of the most important things every personal trainer should do prior to every single session is ask themselves “what is the most beneficial thing I can do right now to help my client achieve their goals? It might be simply to take you through the workout. It might be to re-establish your goals and why you want them. It might be to tell you off or give you some encouragement, using either the carrot or the stick to motivate you and keep you on track. It might be to spend much of the session educating you. You will be able to recognise if your trainer asks themselves this question based on their behaviour.
The more data we have the better we are able to keep you on track, keep you motivated, and make appropriate and well calculated decisions regarding your programme design. This will include:
Your food diary
Sleep quality and duration
Training programme records
Possibly even sending you for blood tests if appropriate Subjective information such as energy, hunger, digestive health etc.
Does your trainer contact you outside of the workouts themselves to keep you motivated, give you advice or encouragement, ask you for information such as your food diary, what you are planning for your food prep etc?
Is Your Personal Trainer Attentive and Focused For the Entire Session?
This is one of the biggest give aways of a trainer who cares vs one who doesn’t. Very, very few clients have perfect technique, focus and intensity on every rep of every set. Most clients need 100% vigilance, constant coaching cues and/or encouragement throughout every set, otherwise they will lose their technique, allow their mind to drift, back off the intensity or take short cuts.
Many people don’t realise how tiring personal training is when done properly. I liken it to motorway driving, where you cannot allow your concentration to wander for a split second, otherwise your client is going to get something wrong or drift off course in some way. It takes effort to keep your clients on track and making progress. Does your trainer care enough to put in this effort?
The majority of personal training clients are going to find creative ways to avoid hard work, and avoid having to change their lifestyle including:
Extending rest periods. Asking “relevant” questions to distract you, meandering slowly between exercises, towelling their face, taking a drink of water right at the end of the rest period, etc we’ve seen it all.
Sneakily reducing intensity mid set: shortening the range of motion, losing tempo, not squeezing in the way they are told to, faking muscular failure.
Coming up with reasons (excuses) why they simply couldn’t avoid… finishing a bottle of wine, eating two desserts, skipping meals all day etc.
One of the jobs of your trainer is to get you into an optimal state to have a great workout. Usually this means energetic, enthusiastic and motivated. The primary, and most effective way to lead somebody’s state is to get yourself into that state. Does your trainer do this? Are they energetic, upbeat and enthusiastic? Or are they tired, bored and lack lustre? Once again personal training is tiring and takes a lot of effort. Does your trainer care enough to put this effort in consistently?
Does Your Trainer Ask Relevant and Investigative Questions?
If your trainer genuinely cares they will think about how to get you better results both during and outside of your sessions. They will want more information to help you do this and will ask you relevant questions to help them formulate new approaches.
Is Your Personal Trainer Punctual and Prepared For Every Session?
As an absolute bare minimum your trainer should have prepared your session in advance and show up on time. Consistent failure to do this shows that your trainer either doesn’t care, or has lost all faith in you as a client.
Personal training is not cheap, and if you are paying good money then you deserve the best service.