Accomplishing Goals pt. 2 - Picking a Trainer

Our latest post from Donna on her journey towards and obstacle race even is a very important one. Picking a trainer is something that actually requires a lot of thought. You want someone who will truly help you, and come alongside you. They will guide you towards your goals not by standing in front of you but by being with you every step of the way. - Dave

Last month I talked about my goal of wanting to train properly for an obstacle race in June.  The first step was to be cleared for training , which I was. The second step was to figure out what that training program would look like. I didn't feel this was something I could do on my own, so I elicited the help of the training staff I work with.

Fortunately for me, I work at a facility with knowledgeable and amazing trainers.

However, I realize that not everyone that reads this will have access to trainers and if you are in need of one , how do you find the right trainer for you?

Working in a rehab setting for over 15 years I have come to know the importance of injury prevention, and the "no pain no gain  " mentality is not a good approach for anyone.

In July of 2013 CNN did a report listing the 5 qualities to look for when shopping for a trainer , I thought they were right on with what I have learned the last few years working at HPI.

1.     Patience - a good trainer is going to recognize that each client is different and their bodies are different . To determine the physical level of their clients , trainers  will do an assessment.  This was my experience with my trainer. We discussed my personal goals and tested my strength, mobility, and balance to determine where I should start.

2.     Communication -one of my favorite lines that I have heard from my trainer is " we are not going to throw you in the water without teaching you how to swim first." Meaning that based on my assessment he knows where we can start and how we are going to progress at a pace that is safe and appropriate for me. Not only Is it important for the client to discuss their fitness goals with their trainer but it is just as important  for the trainer to be able discuss with their client what their expectations are.  My trainer has been very patient , this is my 4th go around with starting a consistent training program, and my trainer has not only been patient, but understanding. However, he lets me know that my commitment level needs to be there if I want to achieve my goal.


3.     Professionalism - as a client you are investing your time and money to be given the attention and support needed to achieve your goal.  Whether you work with someone one on one or choose to do circuit training with a small group, your trainer should be attentive to your form and body mechanics to help avoid an injury from improper form.  As a client you expect your trainer to make the session about you and not there next appointment or date.

4.     Education- all trainers must be certified through an accredited organization;       Such as The American Council on Exercise (ACE), the National Academy of Sports        Medicine (NASM) or the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA).       As a potential client you are interviewing for a trainer, ask them what organization        they are accredited from and what their area of expertise is.  If you are wanting to        lose weight and start an excerise program and have arthritic knees , you want a       trainer that is knowledgable about osteoarthritis instead of boot camp.

5.     Personality - if you don't click with your trainer you will be less motivated to go to your workouts. Lucky for me not only my trainer but the team of trainers that I work with are awesome , fun and supportive. Even at my worst they build me up with their positive attitudes and encouragement. 

Finding the right trainer can be challenging, and yet real challenge comes AFTER you find one and you begin your training.  

- Donna Taylor