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The Difference Between a Trainer and a Great Trainer

SMC great trainer 1013Your first day walking into a gym is similar to your first day of school: You don’t know any of the people, you probably don’t have a good knowledge base, and someone keeps spilling juice everywhere. One of the wisest decisions you can make when joining a gym is to take advantage of the amenities available to new members. One of the most important of those amenities is a personal trainer.

How To Choose Your Trainer

All too often, gym members are tempted to seek out the trainer with the most defined abs or the biggest pecs, but the big difference between a trainer and a great trainer is the knowledge that they provide. Personal trainers must be certified in order to practice, but a variety of certifications exist for trainers. Some of these certifications specialize in weightlifting for bodybuilders while some are more geared to cardio for the injury-prone.

The first step to picking your trainer is to find out what his or her area of expertise is. If your goal is to become the next Arnold, then you probably shouldn’t choose the trainer who primarily focuses on aerobics classes. After you’ve found the trainer with the right education, you’ll want to set up your first appointment with them.

Your First Training Session

The first time you work with a trainer can be a little intimidating. You might feel pressured to show off the full range of your athletic abilities in an effort to impress your trainer. The first session of training, however, is more to gauge where you are as far as your fitness level is concerned. The goal of this initial session is not to push yourself harder than you ever have; it is to find a starting baseline to measure your future progress. A great trainer will encourage you to challenge yourself with each workout, but your trainer will first need an understanding of what your body is capable of.

During this initial session, it is also important to get a feel for how well your personality gels with your trainer. If you need a trainer like a drill sergeant, and you discover during your first training session that your trainer is coddling you, then you should probably discuss this with him or her. After all, a truly great trainer will be able to adapt to your needs and provide you with both the encouragement and knowledge that you need to achieve your fitness goals.

Outside of Your Sessions

How awful is it when you go to a restaurant and don’t order anything, and none of the employees acknowledge you? The same is true of personal trainers. If your trainer doesn’t acknowledge you simply because you aren’t “on the clock,” then that trainer is not a great one. The trainer you choose should be willing to provide you with information when you need it and support you at all times. While you probably shouldn’t call them up at two in the morning to ask about your squat form, you should be able to feel free to ask them questions when you see them in the gym or to give you a quick spot. A trainer’s first goal should always be injury prevention, and any trainer who doesn’t adhere to an ethical standard is just a bad trainer.

Finally, it’s important that your trainer gives you the knowledge you need to continue to grow towards your fitness goals. While working with your trainer is ideal at first, your trainer’s aim should be to allow you to get to the point where you can grow on your own.