What makes a good PERSONAL TRAINER?
There are several advantages of having a personal trainer by our side. Although it is not mandatory to have a personal trainer the personalised attention we get can give us an edge. However, with so many personal trainers around, how do we know if they are up to the mark? What are the qualities of a good personal trainer? What traits or characteristics make up for an excellent personal trainer?
An excellent personal trainer will possess the following traits:
#1 Knowledge & Reasoning:
A good personal trainer should be knowledgeable on concepts like kinesiology, musculoskeletal anatomy, fitness testing, health screening, nutrition, supplementation, first aid etc. We have to ask questions, request references, enquire about certifications and try probing from all angles. In most cases, good trainers will post educational articles/ blogs on social media or may upload the same on their website. It is not mandatory to have a certified trainer but a certification certainly adds to our trust in the trainer. A good trainer can distinguish science from myths. They should be able to demonstrate exercises, point out targeted muscles and share reasons for doing a particular exercise. In short, a good trainer should have both, theoretical and practical knowledge with scientific reasoning.
#2 Punctuality & Honesty:
Punctuality and honesty should be the basis of a trainer – client relationship. A good trainer will never skip training sessions, will never be late and will never give excuses. Just like any other contract, the trainer – client relationship is also based on reasonable trust, confidentiality and honesty. Honest trainers will never lie and will immediately confess if they do not know something. Next step, they will research the topic and get back without a follow-up.
#3 Never tired of answering questions:
Bad trainers get frustrated with questions. A good trainer will provoke us to think in the right direction and will be very open to a discussion. Good trainers will educate their clients and will be delighted to answer questions.
#4 Passion for fitness & learning:
A fitness trainer should look fit. An unfit/ obese trainer does not give a good impression. They should be passionate and obsessed with fitness. Good trainers are constantly researching fitness and updating their knowledge.
#5 Mentor, motivator & guide:
A good personal trainer should act as a mentor, motivator and guide. They should be the one prescribing the exercises and not the client. The client should feel like looking up to the trainer as a coach. An excellent trainer is the one who - makes us push the last rep, ensures progress in every workout, motivates us to reach our maximum potential and guides us on the scientific path to achieve something that we could not even dream of.
#6 Excellent communicator and a good listener:
Being knowledgeable is one thing, being able to disseminate knowledge is another. To eliminate confusion, a trainer’s communication skills should be top-notch. Good trainers stick to scientific terminologies while speaking and writing. For example, if a trainer is asked what muscle works the most in a lat pulldown they should answer - latissimus dorsi and not wings. Colloquially (not scientifically) latissimus dorsi is known as wings. A good trainer is also a good listener giving all opportunities for the client to talk and highlight their challenges.
Like all professions in the fitness industry, there are ethical fitness trainers and there are non-ethical fitness trainers. Good trainers are extremely ethical in all aspects including charges, how many sessions would be required to achieve the goals, health and fitness recommendations, nutrition and supplementation.
Like any profession, in the fitness industry, there are good trainers and there are bad trainers.
It may not be mandatory but recommended to have a personal trainer who is certified from a reputed institute.
Stay away from fitness trainers who use unscientific words to answer questions.
Avoid trainers who dodge questions or are hesitant to answer.
Use your judgement and due diligence to check the following traits of a good personal fitness trainer – knowledge and reasoning, punctuality and honesty, provokes you to think, open to discussions, never tired to answering questions, passion for fitness and fitness education, ethical, good listener and communicator and last but not the least, a mentor, motivator and guide.
Now we know what are the characteristics or traits of a good PERSONAL TRAINER.