Finding a personal trainer is like trying to find your soulmate on Match.com or OkCupid. You want to find someone who will push you to be the best version of yourself and makes you feel comfortable enough to expose your biggest flaws, and like dating, it usually takes several tries before you find your perfect match.
Here are some overlooked factors to help you find your fitness soulmate.
Location, Location, Location.
How many relationships have ended because one person didn’t want to schlep from Manhattan to Brooklyn or from the East Village to the Upper East Side? Trainers are no different — getting fit requires commitment. Find someone who is convenient to your home or work so you have one less excuse to blow them off.
The Gift of Gab.
You finally make the decision to invest in your health and buy a 20-pack of sessions with a trainer. You meet for your first workout and immediatley you realize you…kind of hate this person. The person who won’t stop talking about their cats. And cats. And Miley Rae Cyrus. Awkward. Yes, it’s personal training and building a relationship is key, but first and foremost it’s a profession. If you’re just talking about your weekend while you’re squatting for a third of your session, then you’ve just paid for someone to faintly disapprove of your taste in films. Keep the conversations to a minimum when in the middle of performing exercises, if neither of you is focused on the work at hand, odds are you’re not working hard enough and the results you’re seeking aren’t going to happen.
People often hire trainers as motivation to push themselves harder than they would on their own, but a good trainer ALWAYS puts your safety and well-being first, using gradual progressions–not working you so hard you throw up and pass out. A great trainer will listen, hear you, and be able to accommodate any modifications.
They never correct your technique. Good form is important in every exercise you do–it prevents you from getting injured, lets you move more efficiently and ensures you get results rather than a rotator-cuff surgery. Consider: does my trainer give me useful feedback? I.e.”Abs in, eyes forward” as you lift?
‘Any A-Hole Phenomenon’
any arsehole can make you tired and sore (do 50 burpees!), but not too many of them can make you better.
Whether you’re aiming to lose body fat or build strength, a proper program should also include structural work (to correct the horrible desk bound hump you’ve been cultivating for a decade) and some recovery days. If every workout leaves you in pieces, barely able to sit on the toilet the next day, than at least ask what the point of it all is.
Practice What You Preach
Hiring a trainer solely because they have a six-pack, and a tribal tattoo on their upper arm is a terrible idea. The personal training industry is teeming with fresh-faced twenty somethings, gorgeous thirty somethings and beautiful forty somethings. However, appearing to be in shape does not make someone a great trainer. On the flip-side, some of the best trainers around are people who’ve overcome bad genes and worse athleticism via hard work and attention to detail, and they might be carrying around a bit of extra chub alongside all their hard-earned knowledge. But the fact remains: you wouldn’t hire a financial planner who declared bankruptcy.
These are deal breakers–without them your relationship and fitness goals are likely doomed to fail.