Choosing a trainer is a big decision. This is someone who you’re going to see every week and share details about your body and your lifestyle for them to help you get results.
So how do you know you’re choosing the right one?
To make sure you find someone who has both the experience and genuine interest in your results, we recommend looking around and doing some research. To help you get started, here are 5 non-negotiables look out for.
1. They train the whole person and consider where you are at physically and emotionally.
Sure, you’ll get great results if you follow a strict diet and exercise program. But I too often see prescribed programs that are unsustainable.
Helping female clients get results is often more about helping them fit exercise in around kids, enjoy their time in the studio, and learning how to build a sustainable nutrition approach into their hectic lives.
Strict protocols often drive females to quit because they are unenjoyable and unrealistic, which can lead to a familiar feeling of failure and disappointment. These strategies can also be damaging if they fuel underlying eating disorders or obsession with tracking numbers.
Trainers should train the whole person, not just the body. They should care about your past experiences, your injuries, your relationship with food. They should care about your sleeping patterns and your stress levels. For example, programming a high intensity workout for a woman who is chronically stressed is only going to make matters worse.
Trainers need to care enough about their clients to know how exercise sustainably fits into their life, and not the other way around.
2. They understand the key physiological differences
Every PT should have their own training experience so that they understand the physiological demands of their programs. In addition, when working with female clients, there are some differences that need to be considered.
For example, women have monthly cycles that impact their cravings, their ability to lift heavy, and their recover time. They also have more slow-twitch fibers than men and as a result, they can usually get more reps than males at any given percentage of their 1RM.
Good trainers will know the trends but won’t stereotype and will always adjust as needed for the individual.
3. They help track and modify emotional eating issues
Most women know what to eat and what not to eat. Telling someone who wants to lose fat not to eat chocolate is not that helpful.
Trainers who are non-judgemental and help with the underlying problem will be much better at helping you gain control over your eating habits.
Trainers should also be aware of triggers. If a client has had a history of disordered eating, body image issues or is insecure about her body, girth measurements and body composition testing may do more harm than good.
4. They care about movement quality over all else
Women often seek out a personal trainer to lose weight. While fat loss relies on good nutrition, some trainers will aim to ‘beast’ you at every session with the aim to burn as many calories as possible.
I’ve heard countless stories of women with low back pain, sore shoulders, or chronic stiffness being told to ‘keep pushing’ before their underlying movement issues have been addressed.
If you are experiencing joint pain, back pain, or any other discomfort that prevents you from moving with comfort during a workout, your body will be forced to compensate and at some point, the issues will get worse.
Trainers should NEVER disregard safety in the attempt to help you burn more calories.
Be sure to find a trainer that values movement quality and has the knowledge required to adjust your program so that you still get great results, without jeopardising your body.
5. They are open minded, professional, respectful, and honest
It’s no secret that the fitness industry is full of all sorts of fads, scams and quick fixes.
Trainers who push products and believe there is only one way to get results (eg. Magic powders, health shakes or pills) are not looking after the clients, because we know that every individual responds differently to training and nutritional protocols.
Tracking macros works for some women, and not others. Training 5 times a week is possible for some women, but impossible for others. No one woman is the same. And there is no single approach that works for everyone.
Trainers should always remain open minded, listen to you, and adjust their strategy accordingly. At the same time, it’s important for a trainer to be honest and give you the relevant facts so you can have realistic expectation about reaching your goals.
Trainers would rather to tell you what you want to hear, but a professional trainer will respect the trust you have placed in them and do their best to keep you informed and educated so that you have complete transparency of their approach for you.
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*Article originally posted on https://strongwomencan.com/what-to-look-for-in-a-personal-trainer/