In “Finding a Personal Trainer – Interviewing the Personal Trainer” we reviewed important criteria to look for when choosing the right personal trainer. But what a personal trainer knows is very different from how he/she applies that knowledge and trains with a client. The second step in identifying the right personal trainer is to evaluate their training style and the compatibility with your own needs as a long term client.
STEP TWO – The First Training Session
At this point in time we know that the personal trainer has the education and background to do a good job. What we don’t know is if his/her training style is compatible with your expectations as a personal training client. The first training session is used to interact and observe the training style of the personal trainer. If you and your trainer do not work well together, like a couple in a relationship, you will be less likely to comply to the training program and achieve the results you are looking to achieve.
Training style is how a personal trainer takes his/her library of exercise knowledge and shares that information with a client. This includes how the training sessions are conducted, information that is verbally shared, the exercises that are selected, and the resulting program developed to help you achieve your long term goals. Ask yourself the following during the first personal training session:
- Did I feel comfortable with his/her level of knowledge and expertise?
- Did he/she explain the exercises in a way that made me feel comfortable doing them?
- At any time did I feel uncomfortable or unsafe?
- Did he/she document the exercises and/or track my progress?
Communication style is how information is shared between both the personal trainer and the client. This includes the words said, the tone of voice, eye contact and physical interaction. Ask yourself the following during the first personal training session:
- Did he/she ask good questions to better understand my needs and expectations?
- Did he/she internalize the information I provided in how they chose the exercises and activities completed in the first training session?
- Was he/she fully engaged and attentive to my needs during the entire training session?
- Did I feel comfortable with him/her?
One of the main reasons we seek out a personal trainer is to help us get motivated to consistently do the work required to achieve our health and fitness goals. Every successful personal trainer-client relationship hinges on find a match where the personal trainer can effectively motivate the client. Without this, knowledge and communication capability doesn’t matter. Ask yourself the following during the first personal training session:
- Does he/she understand what motivates me (when it comes to exercise)?
- Will he/she change their motivation style if I express my concerns?
- Can I envision myself working with him/her consistently for 12 weeks or longer?
Schedule and Availability
Now that you’ve successfully identified a personal trainer that meets your expectations … availability in his/her schedule that coincides with what will work for you. The journey that you have ahead is going to require a consistent commitment by both yourself and your training to ensure success.
- Identify a consistent date/time that you would like to schedule your weekly training sessions.
- Identify an alternate date/time.
- Check with him/her that these dates/times can be accommodated in their schedule.
Doing the research and qualifying a personal trainer may be a little bit more work than you expected but these steps will help you to make the most of your investment. The more effort you put into qualifying your personal trainer the more likely you will consistently adhere to a program and successfully reach your health and fitness goal.