I’ve been a personal trainer for over a decade. I can tell you for certain, not all Personal Trainers are the same. There are many professional certifications and 2 day seminars that allow people to call themselves a professional “Trainer” . So how do you know if you have a good one? And what should you be working on together? Here are five big picture issues your personal trainer should be focused on:
1. Ignore the scale.
The scale doesn’t show progress. We monitor body fat percentage on a monthly basis. Significant changes can happen with minimal difference in scale weight. Clients gain confidence when they see exactly how much change occurs in a month.
2. Focus on long term sustainability.
Short term intensity is great, sometimes. Long term consistently should be the goal of any fitness program. Increased strength and mobility will lead to a more productive and successful life. One injury can sideline your plans for months and reverse years of hard work. Your trainer should design programs to prevent injuries and maintaining strength and fitness for life.
3. Emphasis on recovery.
In order to maintain the long term sustainability you must recover. Your body won’t grow or repair (muscle growth) without rest. It’s no accident that we mix stretch (myofascial) classes and yoga with our strength training. Stretching and sleep is just as important as a good workout in the long term.
Achieving long term fitness goals requires consistent exercise, healthy diet, proper recovery, and a positive environment. Your Personal Trainer should be the captain of this team.
4. Realistic diet change.
Be a realist. You can’t quit junk food cold turkey and you won’t be able to stick to the latest website restricted diet plan overnight. Diet changes take time and need to be phased in at your pace. Everybody requires different amounts of calories and prefers different foods. Start by eating more vegetables and making sure you are getting enough protein on a daily basis. Figure out the rest as you go.*
5. Keep you motivated.
This is the hardest part. You can’t run a marathon day one. You have to keep training, and that takes work. Make time for yourself. Get into a routine. Find the right people in the right environment and create your own fitness community that you look forward to visiting on a regular basis. I’ll admit it’s not easy – but personal trainers are here to help you create and maintain a healthy lifestyle full of strength and fitness.
*Personal Trainers are not Registered Dietitians and while they probably know a lot about nutrition, legally they should only offer supplemental support. Seek the assistance of a Registered Dietitian for specific dietary changes.