I was watching a personal trainer (PT) with a client the other day and they were doing some stretching after the workout. I overheard the trainer ask the client what her goals were (which surprisingly was to have skinny and toned legs!) and thought to myself, shouldn’t the trainer have asked this BEFORE they started so the workout could be programmed accordingly? But also, shouldn’t the client have also wanted to discuss this with the trainer first to make sure they were getting the results they wanted? I guess it’s a two way street.
I have unfortunately seen and heard about many instances where the female client has not achieved the results they wanted with their PT, often ending up too muscular for their liking. A PT is someone who has the ability to make a significant change to your appearance so it is important that you have a chat to several different PT’s first to make sure you find someone that suits you and your goals, rather than just choosing the PT with the best sales pitch.
Here are 5 questions you should ask your PT before starting with them.
1. What Certifications Do You Have?
I know this is being very general, but there are a lot of new PT’s out there, who have decided that they enjoy fitness so they’re going to get some qualifications and work in the industry. It is very easy to become a qualified PT and does not necessarily mean that you are well educated or experienced.
I would want to know: where did you receive your Cert III (group fitness) and Cert IV (personal trainer) training? Do you have a related university degree? Having a degree is a big plus because it means the PT is much more educated. Again, being very general, but it’s true. Also, if they have been working as a PT for 5+ years then this is also a big plus!
2. Have You Studied Nutrition?
Majority of PT’s do not have any formal nutrition qualifications so can only give you basic nutrition advice (legally). We all know that nutrition is the most fundamental part of a healthy lifestyle / weight loss plan, so having a PT who has also studied nutrition is a HUGE benefit. And there are a lot of them out there, so look for them.
3. What’s Your Training Style Like?
This one is often overlooked, but make sure you find someone that trains the way you like to be trained, or can at least adapt. If you like to have your heart rate up for the entire 60 minutes and walk away feeling absolutely smashed, then you’re not going to want a trainer who makes you do 3 sets of 12 reps with 1-2 minutes rest between each set, or spends the entire session deadlifting (yes I’ve seen this). Or you might be the opposite; you may want someone to motivate you without yelling in your face. Everyone will have a different style of training, so make sure you match.
4. Do You Have Any Experience Helping Clients With My Goal?
You want a trainer that has already achieved the results that YOU want with other clients. If your goal is to be lean and toned, and you choose a PT that specializes in training male fitness models, then they may not be the best fit for you. There will be a lot of PT’s that tell you they can give you the results that you want, but with no proof. And there will be a lot of PT’s that will tell you that you can’t get bulky because you are a female. Ideally if you are a female looking to get lean and toned, you will want to train with a female PT (females seem to understand this concept better than men) that specializes in training females to get lean and toned, with before and after photos to prove it. If you’re interested, read my blog post on why women should NOT train like men.
5. Why Did They Become A Trainer?
You want a trainer that has a genuine love for health and fitness, is healthy (they should be a role model!), and really wants to help people feel great about themself. You don’t want a trainer who doesn’t take care of themselves (I don’t know how overweight PT’s even exist), who is only in it for the money, or who just decided to do it because they liked it and didn’t really know what else to do.
I also want to mention that any good PT should offer you a free session with them so you can get to know their training style and you can decide whether or not you think they would be a good fit for you. And remember that if you are unhappy with your PT at any time, just tell them!
Good luck! xx