Anyone can become a personal trainer, it is true, but not anyone can become a good trainer, let a lone a great trainer.
Yes, many of us took the same exam, we might have studied from the same text books, maybe even worked at the same gyms, but we are not all equal. The biggest thing that separates a great trainer from a mediocre trainer is passion. If you are passionate about fitness, passionate about your clients, enthusiastic about your own workouts, you will find a way to get results for yourself and your clients. You will take hours of continuing education courses, you will experiment with new workouts, seek out great music, test out the newest fitness gadgets, and try everything out on yourself first. But you must be passionate about personal training in order to push yourself to do this for the sake of your clients. It takes hours of behind-the-scenes work and preparation for me to plan for a client’s weekly workouts, and I am hopeful that it shows, but I also know I have so much more to learn.
You are entitled to a trainer that works hard for you. Two years ago I wrote a similar blog post entitled: “What to Look for in a Personal Trainer” – it is well worth a read if you are in the market for one, but this article has a different purpose. One of my clients that moved to Texas last year informed me that she had been with a trainer that she was in the process of leaving, and I thought, “good for you,” because too many people become complacent. You deserve a trainer that pushes you, challenges you and most of all supports you. I know far too many people who have stayed with the same trainer for years, getting nowhere, but are too afraid to walk away because they don’t want to hurt their trainer’s feelings. Would you go to the same mechanic over and over if they couldn’t fix your car? Would you go to the same hairstylist if they were never able to cut your hair? I hope not.
Personal trainers are in a position of authority with their clients, but that authority is just part of the contrived relationship, a facade to bring about a mood of obedience. This obedience helps us to get you motivated, to force you to do things you wouldn’t ordinarily attempt on your own. It keeps you from arguing during a workout, or complaining too much, but this “authority” is meant to help you, not to make you feel inferior. You should feel that you can talk to your trainer, let them know what is and isn’t working for you, you should never be afraid to speak openly and honestly with them.
So how do you know if your trainer is great? Are you getting results? Do you feel challenged? Do you feel supported? Do they constantly give you new goals to work towards? Can you laugh at your failures with them? Take a good look at your relationship with your trainer, it is not going to be perfect because nothing is perfect, but it needs to be good. If it isn’t good, start doing some research because this world is completely over-saturated with trainers and there is no excuse not to work with the best.
Elizabeth Simonton is a longtime Malibu resident and certified personal trainer. To learn more, visit malibuhealthandfitness.com.