Investing in the right trainer for you
These days we are all watching the pennies, saving for houses, paying for kids to go to child care or school (or you’re in the same phase as me focusing on saving the pennies for your own future) or planning that wedding or next overseas holiday.
But all these things are pointless if you don’t have your health.
So how much do you value your health? What are you prepared to sacrifice to live a healthier and longer life?
I hear so many people whine at the cost of personal trainers and their “high” rates. But would you go to the cheaper hairdresser to save a buck, or pay a bit more knowing that you are going to a hairdresser that is going to make you look fabulous, preserve your locks and perhaps even get a cheeky champers or cookie on arrival?
In the end you get what you pay for.
One thing that used to personally upset me (only because I care so darn much about others!) is when people literally came to my gym office crying to me to help them feel better about themselves and lose weight, but they didn’t want to pay my fee (which was VERY reasonable at the time given the self education and extra support I chose to provide to my clients) and then I would see them on Facebook spending more than my weekly fee on boozy nights out, takeaway food porn and buying workout clothes that would never see a drop of sweat!
If you want to buy a house you need to sacrifice things to save the deposit. If you want a confident, healthy, sexy, happy body then you need to invest in it. Plain as day.
What’s the average price
In the fitness industry there is no standard fee you can expect to pay so to help you narrow it down I would suggest that you look at the value and the results the trainer can provide you and then decide if you are willing to do the action required for that trainer to be able to help you to achieve your goals. You can have the best trainer in the world (and good on you if you do) but without your action and accountability, the trainer alone cannot help you achieve your goals. At the end of the day it is up to you to take action.
So when sifting through the millions of trainers out there, here are some questions you might like to consider.
What are their formal qualifications?
Trainers need to have completed Cert III for group training and Cert IV for personal training. Note that there are a number of “old school” trainers who have been around since the days that Arnie first set food in a gym and whilst they may not have the “formal” qualifications (because they weren’t required back when they started) they most probably know a heck of a lot more than some 20 year old who has just done Cert IV, so weigh up what it is you are looking for . (as long as they have insurance I say go for it)
What other specialities have they educated themselves on?
You’ll know a trainer who is serious about being a standout in the industry by the level of investment they have made in their self-education. Have they learnt from the best in the world about a particular training style? Have they branched out and undertaken nutrition studies? Are they specialised in psychology and mindset? There are so many extra things that people study these days so have a look at how it relates to you and your goals.
Do they specialise in your goal?
This is really important because so many people go for a trainer based on price but that trainer may not have a foggy idea about how to help you achieve your goal. You may be aiming to run your first marathon but would someone who trains women for bikini competitions necessarily know about long distance running? It’s not to say they don’t know, lots of trainers have interests outside of their niche, but it’s best to ask first.
Are they like you and do they understand your challenges?
It’s all great to get the cheapest trainer on the block but if you are a corporate woman, who is losing confidence because of weight issues, super stressed, eating take away and binge drinking to escape the week (all the things I was like) then I suspect that the 20 year old guy straight out of high school and into a 6 week fitness course and charging the cheapest rate just to get a client, may not understand what it is like to be you. Find someone who has been you, who understands what life is really like when you’re living on 2 meals a day and a 3pm chocolate and coke to get through the day, they’ll know what it takes mentally, physically and emotionally to achieve your goals. And they are more likely to know you better than you know you.
Do they personalise?
A question to ask any potential trainer is “will my program be tailored to me and my goals or do you provide the same program to all your clients?” On the lower end of the scale you could expect that your program might be just the same as every other client on their books (not in all cases, but more often than not). Paying at the other end of the scale for a trainer and you can most certainly expect a personalised, continually reviewed and adapted training program. If not, I’d suggest you look for a new trainer.
Is your progress monitored?
A higher end trainer cares about their profile and reputation in the industry so you can expect they will be with you every step of the way, monitoring your progress, tweaking your program and nutritional guidance to ensure you achieve your results. Achieving your results means you add to their “brag book” and quite possibly you brag to your friends and family and in turn one of them signs up with the trainer too. As humans we love having a referral network – think about the last time you saw a movie or went to a restaurant on a friend’s recommendation.
Will they provide support outside of your sessions?
One thing that helped me decide on the trainers I have worked with over the years was whether I could contact them outside of my training sessions to ask questions. When you are new to a training program or style you might have a few random questions like:
Can I add spices to my vegetables to give them taste?
What is a Garhammer Curl?
Is it ok to need to use the disabled handrail to get up the stairs 2 days after leg day?
All valid questions. Understand that your trainer won’t be at your beck and call 24/7, they do have other clients they work with and they DO need their own private time, but most are happy to get back to you sometime within 24-48 hour timeframe.
In this digital age, more trainers are using group forums such as Facebook to answer common questions. You won’t believe how many times a day I used to get asked the same questions – and as a trainer that is so exciting when your clients are seeking to learn more, but it can become a bit of a broken record after a while so it’s easier to post it in a forum, especially for those clients who might have been too shy to ask (it’s easier to talk about poo and periods online!).
Do you agree with their methods?
There are a million ways to get fit and healthy these days – some tried and tested and some a little more unconventional. If a trainer believes in the 5:2 method but you don’t agree with it then ask questions to understand (rather than just attack a particular method that you have no knowledge about) and if you still don’t agree with it – find a new trainer. The last thing you want to be doing it arguing with a trainer because you think you know better. Save them the time and save yourself the air.
I have a friend who is a vegetarian and has been for most of her life but she teamed up with a trainer who only believed in meat as a protein source. As you can imagine he would tell her until he was blue in the face that she just had to eat meat to lose weight but it didn’t align with her beliefs, nor was she willing to convert so their relationship was destined to fail from the start.
Male or Female?
This is a very personal preference. I have trained with both and I am impartial. I worked with female trainers on specific goals although worked with males when I wanted to step my training up, get into a different style of training and needed a big reality kick. At the end of the day choose a trainer based on important things like do they get you, do they understand your challenges, do they have the skills rather than if they should be in Manpower.
Do they offer a free training session?
If you are after a top shelf trainer then they most probably won’t offer this to you because they have other people who are serious to get started with them so they are going to put their time into them (and they often have a waitlist to train with them). I do recommend having a chat over the phone or via email with your potential top shelf trainer just to ensure you are on the right path and you have the same standards and expectations. Given all the research I recommend doing before deciding, this phone call or email will just be to seal the deal for you. Don’t go to them with BS questions that you can find out about them via their social media or website – wasting a trainers time is a surefire way of them declining you as a client (yep, they have just as much to say no to working with you as you do to working with them).
Finding the right trainer is like finding a long term lover – they need to match your values, have your best interests at heart and you need to respect and like each other. Seeing your trainer each week is an exciting thing – they are helping you become the best you there is (it might seem like they love to see you in pain but rest assured their trainer is putting them through the same pain each week or day to achieve their goals so respect the role they play in your journey).
So take some time to get clear on your goals, decide on the right trainer and get started.