Several students, friends, and family members have been asking how they can tell the difference between a dud and a winner. To the uninitiated, it can be hard to tell a good personal trainer from a bad one. Here is a short list of what to look for --
Do they have a goal? A good coach should be working on their own goals. They should be able to give you a few areas they are working on. This puts them in the mindset of their students, better able to understand what you are going through. You want someone who walks the walk.
Do they have a coach/mentor? No one knows it all and if they tell you they do, it's a pretty good chance they haven't got a clue. Ask who they are working with to achieve their own goals and improve their skills. Seek a coach that has their own trainer or mentor, follows industry experts, reads research, and brings their findings back to you. Listen -- are they citing and giving credit to their teachers?
Are they continuing their education? While most certifying bodies will require personal trainers to submit Continuing Education Units (CEUs) to maintain their license, you would be shocked how many of these are done by watching a short video online. I believe firmly that a good trainer physically attends training seminars, conferences, and workshops. It is one thing to read about how to train with kettlebells, quite another to actually do and see it in person. Ask about the last educational event they attended.
Where are they getting their inspiration? Hint, it should be coming from YOU! Getting fun ideas from the Internet is something you could do on your own. You are paying a premium for a trainer because you want a program that is specific to your fitness goals. Your coach will have the education, experience, and knowledge to put together a program that will yield the results you are after. They will not need to defer to YouTube or Instagram. Ask what plans they have for you.
Are they engaged? A good trainer is paying attention at all time. They are going to be watching your form, giving you verbal, visual, and at times, physical cues, to help you out. A good coach isn't afraid to get a little sweaty and is wise enough to see where they may need to try a different tack than simply demonstrating an exercise. Similarly, is the trainer not actually training? Is the trainer actually just working out? Or worse, is the trainer's nose on their phone? If they are too busy snapchatting or getting their own workout in, you cannot be assured your safety or results are going to be their priority.
Beware of the snake oil salesmen! Unless a trainer is a clinician or holds a medical qualification, they are not qualified to treat or heal any medical conditions. Radical physical transformation pictures from dietary supplements? Beware! While a trainer with a nutrition certification can give general advice on healthy eating, they are not qualified to dispense dietary prescriptions.
Of course, these are all incredibly important things to look for, there is the obvious first requirement -- you have to actually like your trainer. Someone you have a good rapport with is not to be underestimated. It is hard enough to get into the gym as it is, so having a trainer you enjoy being around is going to be so important to ensuring you show up.
Disclaimer: Fit Club is not a medical doctor and the information contained herein should not be taken as medical advice. These are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any health problem. Recommendations by Fit Club are not intended to replace the advice of a physician or health professional. Please consult your physician or a health professional before beginning any diet or exercise program.