Key Qualities to Look for When Hiring a Personal Trainer
A good personal trainer is like….
As I sat down to write this article something interesting crossed my mind. It was this…a good personal trainer is like a good parent! The similarities between the two are incredible. In fact the only difference that stands out between the two is the fact that to be a personal trainer you require education and certification (a little experience doesn’t hurt either) but to be a parent…well you know.
How a Good Personal Trainer is Like a Good Parent
I’m sure opinions vary about what qualities make a good personal trainer (or a good parent for that matter) so I will simply start by saying that this is mine.
- A good personal trainer will motivate their clients to be the best that they can be. They will encourage them to dig deep within themselves to overcome their limitations. Together, the personal trainer and client should work to uncover the client’s potential and figure out a way to use is to achieve the client’s goals. A good trainer should encourage their clients to push a little further (when they think they can’t push anymore) and praise them for their accomplishments (no matter how small they may be.) Hmmm, sounds strangely like a quality of a good parent, doesn’t it?
- Like a good parent, a good personal trainer should be a positive role model for their clients. They should follow their own advice, modeling behaviours that they would like to see their clients pattern. For example; if a personal trainer is out of shape, obese, a smoker or unmotivated themselves- how can they expect their client to strive to be any better? It then becomes a case of “do as I say, not as I do.” Such a message does nothing to evoke change in a child… so why would it work on an adult? Trust me, it wouldn’t.
- A good personal trainer like a good parent should willingly guide their clients in the right direction. They should ask enough questions of the client as to gain knowledge of what their goals are, how they hope to attain them and how far they are willing to extend themselves to achieve them. With such a wealth of information the trainer can then assist the client by use of their own experience and knowledge to usher them in the direction of success rather than that of disappointment and failure. Sounds like a good move for a personal trainer or parent, wouldn’t you agree?
- To accept and respect a client is an important quality of a successful trainer. Like a good parent a trainer needs to be able to accept their client for who they are, not who they want them to be. Equally as important, they need to avoid the tendency to ridicule a client or make them feel less that they are for their shortcomings. They need to respect that they will have bad days and that there will be days when they don’t feel they can succeed… or even want to. Showing a client or child acceptance and respect is one of the easiest ways to in turn gain their trust and respect, a valuable trait of both a good personal trainer and parent.
- Caring for your client is just as important as careing for your child. Genuinely wanting to see them succeed, meet their goals and exceed them is crucial in the trainer-client relationship. Like a child, a client can sense if you really care about them or are just there to pass the time. They know if you are in it help them, or just for the money! Change is scary and training can be intimidating. The right trainer will have the ability to make their client feel at ease and convey a message of caring through their body language, eye contact and the words they choose to use when the client is displaying frustration. A good trainer and a good parent will stay committed, never giving up… even when they feel like they are fighting an uphill battle.
- Affirmation is something that whether a child or adult, we all need sometimes. It is particularly important to those who are struggling with low self-esteem. Many clients (and children) suffer with obesity, poor muscle tone and eating disorders as well as many other physical, emotional, spiritual and mental issues. These individuals may require daily affirmation to help build their confidence levels and keep them motivated to train. Such clients seldom want to get out of the bed, let alone go to the gym where they feel all the “beautiful” people are. These are the clients who like a good parent- a trainer will find a way to connect with, discover their strengths and remind them of how great they are in order to maintain their focus. Isn’t that the type of personal trainer or parent that you would like to have?
Finally, a good trainer like a good parent will never:
- Deprive the one under their care of life’s necessities.
- Strip them of the calories that their body requires to function at it’s optimal level.
- Restrict them of the nutrients found in proteins, carbohydrates and healthy fats needed for good health.
What they will do is:
- Educate the client about healthy foods and good nutrition, providing them with tools that they can use long after their training commitment has ended.
- Ensure that they are not starving themselves to achieve their goals (which by the way ALWAYS backfires.)
- Encourage the well needed rest they need for proper muscle recovery and growth to take place.
There you have it, my theory on how a good personal trainer compares to a good parent. I do feel the need to mention that when looking for a personal trainer you find one that will celebrate your success, not always their own. Be sure that they have a hardy list of credentials, experience and are themselves driven individuals. In closing, I ask that you be weary of loosing too much weight too quickly as many trainers have been know to cut calories far lower than they should to ensure the “success” of the client. In the end such “success” will be short lived and you will end up far worse than you were before you started.
Good luck and happy training… remember you may not be able to pick your parents but you can certainly pick your personal trainer!