March 4, 2016

How and why I chose to use a Personal Trainer

Back in December, the girls in my running group got together for a dinner out and a goal setting session.  Each of us had the opportunity to share one of our goals for 2016 and possibly beyond.  Dedicating time to strength training is my biggest goal for 2016.  It may come as a surprise that someone that is stuck like glue to their training plan would have trouble working on body strength.  I am here to tell you that I struggle to make myself do the work necessary to improve hip, core and upper body strength.  Even if it is on my plan, I seem to shortchange that area on many days. It never seemed particularly important to me, but after my recent injury, it became crystal clear that in order to run more marathons, my body needed a strength tuneup.

How to choose a personal trainer to help you meet your running and fitness goals

So I made the choice to spend money and hire a trainer who would get me in shape.  It was pretty easy for me to find someone based on a recommendation from my coach but I do think there are some basic questions to ask when you consider this option such as:

1. How long have you been a personal trainer?
2. What type of certification(s) do you have?
3. What is the charge and can I do a split session with a friend?
4. How does his/her schedule mesh with yours?
5. Personality is another key ingredient. This is not a question, but something you can gauge with a meeting.
6. Do you like the feel of the gym/workout place?
7. Is the location in close proximity to your workplace or home?

Once you choose a trainer, be sure to get to the gym/workout area at least 10-15 minutes early for your first visit.  There are waivers to sign and the paperwork involved takes a few minutes.  Plus, you don't want to waste your training time.  Your trainer will likely do a preliminary assessment to determine your baseline fitness, identify specific fitness goals and things that motivate you.  Be candid about why you are there and what you need/want to accomplish.

A little plug here for Christine who is in the middle of certification for personal training.  She will be available to train you in just a few months once she passes her certification test.  I plan to have her help me on our next visit!

Have you ever worked with a personal trainer? Any tips on how to choose a trainer?
(Pam)

32 comments:

  1. I have never had a personal trainer, but I would consider one.. Christine if you were closer, I'd call you up in a heartbeat!!!

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    1. Aww thanks for the vote of support Sarah. I can't wait to work out with Christine!

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  2. I've never hired a personal trainer, but I'd think personality would be a top priority for me. If our personalities didn't mesh well, then how could the training sessions be very productive? I'd think you'd want to find somebody who "gets" you but also knows how to push you without causing you to get stressed or emotional about being pushed too hard too quickly.

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    1. Very good points Kathryn. I too find the personality to be important and actually I interviewed a new trainer today despite really liking the one I am currently using. Lately the atmosphere in the gym has been driving me crazy due to the techno music that is played really loud. While I love the trainer, and will stay for at least another week or two, I will try others just in case I find a gym and trainer that suits me better.

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  3. I think qualifications are key in finding a personal trainer! -m

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    1. Yes, they do need to have a broad base of experience and qualifications.

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  4. Love this! Go Christine! As a personal trainer, I can tell you it is not one size fits all--find one that will actually help you achieve the goals that you are pursuing, as well as being a good fit for your personality and work ethic!

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  5. I think my schedule makes it hard, but I think there are some trainers who work early enough. I am pretty good about making myself do strength training, but I could benefit from a trainer who would help me focus on the right muscle groups to prevent injury.

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    1. If you can get in the workouts on your own, good for you. For some reason, I just seem to lack the self discipline in that area of my physical fitness.

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  6. This is great! You know how much I love my coach. I tell people not to got with the first person they meet, unless there's chemistry. Because that means more than anything.

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    1. I do know you love your coach and agree that chemistry is very important.

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  7. Qualifications are important, yes and you can find that out pretty quickly but personality/chemistry is for sure the secret ingredient! I've been with my trainer for a couple years now, off and on, but I am so comfortable with him and him with me that if something doesn't feel right or I don't understand it we work together to address it. If you are not comfortable with your trainer in this regard it can lead to injury. I am more accountable and push myself further when I work with him so I'm definitely a fan - and go Christine!

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    1. That's impressive that you have stayed with one trainer for over two years. Clearly he understands your needs.

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  8. I found my trainer through my gym. When I joined I got a free assessment and then one free training session. I loved her, and loved that I got to workout with her before buying sessions. I need a very specific type of motivation, and getting to actually experience it first was really helpful. I think this is a big part of choosing a trainer. Any good trainer will be willing to give you an assessment and session as a trial, so that you can experience it.


    It's also important to ensure they will vary your training so you don't get bored or stop progressing, and one that understands the other interests you have, such as running, or yoga, or Zumba. My trainer has been awesome with helping to push me out of my comfort zone by keeping me accountable with trying new group training classes, pushing harder in precision running, and keeps getting certified in new techniques to add to my training (she's getting certified in boxing and Olympic lifting, which I'm kind of excited about)!

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    1. I do like the idea of variety and hopefully the trainer will help me add a few additional things such as Yoga classes. I used to go in my old neighborhood, but the timing at my new gym just does not seem to work for me.

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  9. These are great tips! I have worked with a personal trainer in the past and she was great but I made the mistake of choosing a location that wasn't that close to me. I loved the trainer and the facility but it was so hard to get there. I stopped after a couple months.

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    1. Oh I do think location can be a huge factor in continuing with a trainer. You do seem to get in some great cross training withe classes and that is really useful too.

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  10. I have have and if I joined a gym, I think I might or if I decide to run a marathon.

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    1. Oh I can't wait for you to run a marathon Darlene and I bet you will pick NYC!

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  11. We did have the same idea going with our posts today! All very good questions and concerns to go over with your potential trainer. I am like you I really had no idea the importance of strength training until my injuries. Life and learn right. Great post for sharing! :)

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    1. Thanks Tricia. It is surprising how much you learn after you are injured. Both Christine and I have struggled these last few months, but hopefully going forward we will be smarter about what we are doing physically.

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  12. Those are very good tips! What I also learned (as I've had trainers who moved out of town) if a trainer isn't working for you (whether it be personality, type of workouts) speak to them or can request a switch. It was tough for me to do the latter, but once I talked to the personal training manager he said not to worry. After all you are paying for a service and not all trainer/trainee pairings are a fit.

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    1. Exactly, we are paying consumers so we should be happy with the product or services we are spending hard earned dollars on. I think finding the right personality can make the training so much more fun.

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  13. I have not used a personal trainer but would love to. I wouldn't know where to start though...

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    1. Karen I think the best place to start is at a gym close to your residence. Interview a few people and try out someone who seems to have a personality that would be compatible to you.

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  14. Those are good tips. I also think anyone considering a personal trainer should get recommendations from another runner or choose a personal trainer who also runs and understands runners. There's a big difference in or strength training to be good at strength training, and strength training to be a better runner. To me, it's just like hiring a running coach- I wouldn't hire based purely on ability, but they do need to understand that running's your primary focus and NOT strength.

    I'm really glad the personal training is working for you and can't wait to see if it translates to better marathon success for ya!

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    1. Amy I should have mentioned about the running part too. The person I am working definitely understands runners which was key in my decision, but I forgot to include that.

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  15. These are great tips. As a personal trainer, I definitely agree that the personalities have to match. I've been very lucky and in all of my years of experience, I've only had one client that just work out. I would also add that they should talk to you about goal setting, then devise a plan of attack on how to help you meet those goals. If they just start training you for the sake of training you, without a clear plan on how to help you meet your goals, you should consider finding a new trainer.

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    1. I will definitely keep goal setting and a plan of attack in mind.

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  16. I've never worked with a personal trainer. It would have to be someone I "clicked" with. It would be nice if you could somehow do a trial period before going all in. It is something I'm considering maybe once my other PT (Physical Therapy) is over. Good luck to Christine!

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  17. This is such a great post. Especially the point about asking about qualifications.
    I watch the trainers at my gym and cringe. They don't correct their client's form as they lift weights or do TRX. Sometimes they don't even have their eyes on the client! It seems like they just get paid to count and chat. Training sessions at my gym are not cheap. I have to bite my tongue and just keep my eyes on my own work.

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