At cocktail parties, people always perk up when they learn I’m a personal trainer. They love to share stories about their own top-notch trainers or not-so-great ones from the past.
(I’ve heard of trainers who check their cell phones during sessions, who share details about their love lives, and who wear embarrassingly skimpy training clothes. Sigh.)
If you’re in the market for a fitness expert to help you meet your own health goals, I suggest first looking for someone with a positive and empathetic personality.
Then be sure there’s a good fit with your personal style (do you need loads of praise and support or someone with a drill sergeant approach?). Also check that the trainer has experience with any health issues you are managing.
And, of course, it’s critical that the person is accredited by a national certifying body. After all, anyone with a mat and some dumbbells can pose as a personal trainer.
Here are 6 surprising behaviours to help you spot a top personal trainer in action.
1. Cuts you off mid-sentence
A good trainer doesn’t hesitate to interrupt if you’re telling a story. “Hold that thought for a minute so you can concentrate on the exercise,” I might say. I love hearing about your kids and vacations, but only between exercises or at the start or end of the session.
2. Walks and talks
If you continue your story, I’m listening, nodding and responding. But I’m also on the move setting up the next exercise to keep the energy flowing. We have goals to meet after all.
3. Never sits on the job
Does a football coach sit down to call out plays? A good trainer doesn’t either. If you’re down on a mat planking, crunching or stretching, I’ll crouch, lean over or squat. But I’ll never sit or even perch.
4. Isn’t your friend
Trainers and clients often develop close relationships. But I find that being friendly rather than a friend is always best. If we’re friends why are you paying me, and are you really going to listen to me as an expert?
5. Is all business
The best trainers approach each relationship as a business project with goals and objectives, and keeping the ROI at the forefront. If you don’t relate to this approach, I’ll play it down while still keeping you on track for success.
6. Zips out the door
After every workout, a top trainer makes a quick exit right on time. We both have busy lives and other commitments. During every workout you should feel focused and invigorated with no worries that your session could run late and create havoc for your calendar.
If the prospect of finding an outstanding personal trainer seems overwhelming, keep it simple and go with a knowledgeable and experienced trainer who feels like the most natural fit.
She’ll help you reach your goals because she’ll be focused on you – not her cell phone, boyfriend troubles or the reflection of her own abs in the mirror.