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5 qualities to look for in a personal trainer

Any trainer can train, but can any trainer coach?

In my opinion, no. Let me elaborate.

In order to become a certified personal trainer, an individual either needs to have a degree in exercise science, kinesiology, exercise physiology, or similar OR become certified through an accredited organization such as NASM, ACE, ACSM, NSCA, or similar. Letters behind a name are important to be credible, but it's not the only thing a trainer should have.

Here are five qualities I suggest looking for in a trainer:

1. Someone who meets you where you are.

A good trainer or coach will start you at chapter 1 regardless of your fitness age. How quickly you graduate from chapters 1, 2, 3, and so on will depend on your abilities and adaptations. Even if you go to a trainer and you tell them, "I've been training for 12 years", that's great! The trainer should still want to see how you move first before programming your training plan.

2. Someone who asks the questions and adjusts your program accordingly.

I always like to start out my training sessions by asking questions like, "how's the body feeling?", "how did you sleep last night? (especially if it's an early AM client), or "any aches or pains today?". Depending on the clients response, it's important for me to pivot, adjust, or modify the planned workout. Maybe we need to go lighter today, maybe we need to push it today, or maybe we need to change the workout all together. A good trainer must be able to adapt at a moments notice.

3. Someone who uses "always" or "never" regularly.

Training is covered in gray areas! There are rarely occasions when saying "always" or "never" is actually accurate. This is why it's important your trainer is up to date on the latest research or is willing and able to share why they are suggesting xyz.

4. Someone who treats you as an individual.

What worked for someone else likely won't work for you. We all have different goals, priorities, schedules, and work/life balance, which means the trainer needs to plan accordingly. You and the trainer will need to come up with a plan together to find the right workout split, training duration and frequency, and approach for YOU.

5. Someone who knows their scope of practice and isn't afraid to refer out.

Contrary to popular belief, referring clients out allows them to get the most out of their training. Personal trainers are experts in training. Clients should have the option to seek a professional in their field of need. This is why I have a list of massage therapists, chiropractors, physical therapists, registered dietitians, and acupuncturists to refer clients to.

Learn more about KATHLETICS 1:1 online programming.


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