T Nation

Free Personal Trainer

I am in the military and we have access to free personal training. This is a luxury that in 7 years i have not used for the simple fact that i dont think that they will challenge me enough.

But i think that its total bullcrap on my part, So I requested a meeting with the trainer. What should I look for to know if this guy knows what he is talking about.

WEll if he looks good tahts always a good sign, be wary if hes unimpressive looking.

Ask him about former clients and the kind of results he typically sees and over what time frame.

I think that what you should ask him should be based on what your training goals are. What are they?

I agree with MsM. This is about you and your training goals.

you might want to be sure your personal trainer know how to work with free weights. I had a trainer that was a pure machine enthusiast. Nothing wrong with machines to break things up, but it wasn’t what I wanted.

[quote]Chicharon wrote:
I am in the military and we have access to free personal training. This is a luxury that in 7 years i have not used for the simple fact that i dont think that they will challenge me enough.[/quote]
If you’ve been training consistently for seven years, you probably are quite intermediate or advanced, depending on your goals, but a trainer who’s on top of their game should have no major problems getting you results.

Ask them straight out, “So, what’s your general philosophy regarding exercise?” If it stumps them and you get, “Uh, err, well, um, I think people should, ya know, work out and stuff.” They’re not for you. Ideally, they’d explain the general methods they’d use to help you reach your goals.

But hey, it’s free so it’s totally worth a shot. Go into it with an open mind for four or six weeks, follow their advice to the letter. Best case scenario - you get closer to your goals. Worst case scenario - you have some funny stories to tell us.

If you know your body (and after seven years, you should), you’ll be able to tell if things are on the right track after a full week or two. If your goal is strength, that’s easy enough to notice. If your goal is size or fat loss, again, that should be easy enough to notice.

Again, I’d emphasize going into it with an open mind. They might do things that seem wacky to you, but if it gets results, at the end of the day that’s all that should matter.

I mean, Paul Chek might seems like a crazy mofo, but I definitely wouldn’t turn down a chance to be trained by him for a month.

[quote]mchron wrote:
WEll if he looks good tahts always a good sign, be wary if hes unimpressive looking.
[/quote]

This means exactly nothing. Some dudes are just genetically gifted and it matters not what they do.

I’d give it a shot. What do you have to lose? Approximatley 75% of personal trainers are absolute morons, but the only way you’ll know is to try it out.

If he seems to be tailoring a program to you and your needs I’d at least play along for awhile. Results speak for themselves.

Well seven years of training and spending time in the gym but also love to drink and that leads to nasty eating habits. I dont have the physique i want. I just feel that maybe the trainer can give me the right type of workout or at least help with eating.

[quote]mchron wrote:
WEll if he looks good tahts always a good sign, be wary if hes unimpressive looking.

Ask him about former clients and the kind of results he typically sees and over what time frame.[/quote]

Thats nonsense.
For a start,what does looking good mean to you?
Built like a powerlifter,back like a barn door,300lbs but maybe 30% bodyfat?
or a bodybuilder type who’s a lean,ripped 230lb with only 8% bodyfat?

Even if you picked a trainer with the type of body you like,many are genetically gifted and had a good frame before they even started training.

Others have always trained to some degree,and been into sports since school,so fully exploited their hormonal spikes when younger,giving them an edge in power and strength-I have found many of these ‘jock’ types to be arrogant and less than sympathetic with newbies,preferring their ‘own kind’.

Some of these big guys are obsessed with self-image (not helped by assumptions like yours) and will take 'roids and other illegal substances.Not all of these same people would admit that to their clients though,even in confidence.

Is a slightly skinny or tubby,less than toned trainer any less qualified?
For all you know,they have glandular issues,could be recovering from injury,etc.
I know of a few lecturers in sport and exercise science and nutrition who look a bit out of shape.
They work for one of the most prestigious training & awarding bodies in the UK.
They have a passion for health and fitness,they have extensive knowledge in Exercise Physiology,Anatomy,Kinesiology,Nutrition,etc.
They are also Personal Trainers who charge a high price for sessions and consultations.
None of their clients doubt their abilities,neither do I.
I judge them on their knowledge and attitude,not their physique.
If you look at a great boxer,lifter,athlete-their trainer or coach does not always look in good shape!
Even rarer is a coach or trainer that looks anywhere NEAR as fit as the athlete he trains,in any respect!
Why should this be different?

For me,its all about the consultation.
The trainer should sit with you for at least an hour,get to know as much as possible about you-

where you are now?
where you want to be?
How soon do you want to be there?
why you aren’t there now?
What activities/exercises do you like?
What activities/exercises do you dislike?
possible obstacles to you getting there?
What motivates you?
Any injuries?
Medical History?

There are more I would ask,but he should basically interrogate you!
The more questions the better!
A good PT would ask you so many questions your head would be spinning,and you would be sick of questions,then they should ask the client some more!
It’s so easy to miss a vital piece of info.
I have seen PT’s do a 10 minute consultation and think they know everything they need to know about someone they’ve only just met!
What pisses me off is I’ve seen some PT’s tell their client to start doing an exercise (sometimes a new exercise they have only just shown them),then they chat to another PT/member in the gym,look around the gym,look at their clipboard,look at their watch,scratch themselves,tie their shoelace…
YOUR CLIENT IS OVER THERE!!
LOOK AT THEM AND WATCH THEM,THEY ARE PAYING FOR YOUR TIME!
THEY ARE FUCKING WOBBLING/JERKING ALL OVER THE PLACE!!
They should be focused on YOU,they should be practically STALKING you.

If I have a client,I know their fucking shoe size!
And where they bought 'em.
And how much they paid.
And if they are wearing the right shoes.
And if one leg is longer than the other.
And if they have flat feet or a high arch.
And if their shoes give them blisters.
And if they should wear a wide-fitting shoe.
And how they tie their laces.

And so on,you get the picture.

Any info I can’t squeeze out of them in the consultation,I ask during sessions,while stretching or cooling down or during progress reports.
If he hasn’t done so already,a general health & fitness test/examination should be done,even if brief.
A comprehensive one can be done once goals are established.

[quote]g star 24 7 wrote:
For me,its all about the consultation.
The trainer should sit with you for at least an hour,get to know as much as possible about you-

where you are now?
where you want to be?
How soon do you want to be there?
why you aren’t there now?
What activities/exercises do you like?
What activities/exercises do you dislike?
possible obstacles to you getting there?
What motivates you?
Any injuries?
Medical History?

There are more I would ask,but he should basically interrogate you!
The more questions the better!
A good PT would ask you so many questions your head would be spinning,and you would be sick of questions,then they should ask the client some more!

It’s so easy to miss a vital piece of info.
I have seen PT’s do a 10 minute consultation and think they know everything they need to know about someone they’ve only just met!

What pisses me off is I’ve seen some PT’s tell their client to start doing an exercise (sometimes a new exercise they have only just shown them),then they chat to another PT/member in the gym,look around the gym,look at their clipboard,look at their watch,scratch themselves,tie their shoelace…

YOUR CLIENT IS OVER THERE!!
LOOK AT THEM AND WATCH THEM,THEY ARE PAYING FOR YOUR TIME!
THEY ARE FUCKING WOBBLING/JERKING ALL OVER THE PLACE!!
They should be focused on YOU,they should be practically STALKING you.

If I have a client,I know their fucking shoe size!
And where they bought 'em.
And how much they paid.
And if they are wearing the right shoes.
And if one leg is longer than the other.
And if they have flat feet or a high arch.
And if their shoes give them blisters.
And if they should wear a wide-fitting shoe.
And how they tie their laces.

And so on,you get the picture.

Any info I can’t squeeze out of them in the consultation,I ask during sessions,while stretching or cooling down or during progress reports.
If he hasn’t done so already,a general health & fitness test/examination should be done,even if brief.
A comprehensive one can be done once goals are established.
[/quote]

Damn you are passionate about the PT topic thats GooD!

You are right i was looking for some advice and i definetly received some good ones from all of you, I should have my initial consultation this week. I will be able to put in everything im doing.

Thanks…Will keep you guys posted.

[quote]g star 24 7 wrote:

Thats nonsense.
For a start,what does looking good mean to you?
Built like a powerlifter,back like a barn door,300lbs but maybe 30% bodyfat?
or a bodybuilder type who’s a lean,ripped 230lb with only 8% bodyfat?

Even if you picked a trainer with the type of body you like,many are genetically gifted and had a good frame before they even started training.

Others have always trained to some degree,and been into sports since school,so fully exploited their hormonal spikes when younger,giving them an edge in power and strength-I have found many of these ‘jock’ types to be arrogant and less than sympathetic with newbies,preferring their ‘own kind’.

Some of these big guys are obsessed with self-image (not helped by assumptions like yours) and will take 'roids and other illegal substances.Not all of these same people would admit that to their clients though,even in confidence.

Is a slightly skinny or tubby,less than toned trainer any less qualified?
For all you know,they have glandular issues,could be recovering from injury,etc.
I know of a few lecturers in sport and exercise science and nutrition who look a bit out of shape.

They work for one of the most prestigious training & awarding bodies in the UK.
They have a passion for health and fitness,they have extensive knowledge in Exercise Physiology,Anatomy,Kinesiology,Nutrition,etc.

They are also Personal Trainers who charge a high price for sessions and consultations.
None of their clients doubt their abilities,neither do I.

I judge them on their knowledge and attitude,not their physique.
If you look at a great boxer,lifter,athlete-their trainer or coach does not always look in good shape!

Even rarer is a coach or trainer that looks anywhere NEAR as fit as the athlete he trains,in any respect!
Why should this be different?
[/quote]

For as many ‘what if he’s a skinny guy with glandular issues’ there are ‘what if he actually works his ass off and knows his stuff’. If a guy has actual qualifications (college degree, lecture position, team coaching success etc) this easily overrules any initial judgement and is pretty self explanitory.

But given 2 guys who both have the 3 hour certification course under their belts and nothing else to speak of I feel like it is in your best interest to pick the one who looks the part. If a personal trainer doesn’t have anything worth mentioning on a resume he is pretty much his own best advertisement.

[quote]Chicharon wrote:
Damn you are passionate about the PT topic thats GooD!

You are right i was looking for some advice and i definetly received some good ones from all of you, I should have my initial consultation this week. I will be able to put in everything im doing.

Thanks…Will keep you guys posted. [/quote]

Yeah.
Sorry if I rambled or ranted there,
Its just there are some PT’s who give the industry a bad name.

Basically the PT should connect with the client and get under their skin.
You don’t have to like them,but you should be able to trust him.

Some may seem harsh with you,but thats some PT’s style,often they are just passionate.
But some are just douchebags.
Your trainer should basically find a balance between what you want and what you need.
Never be afraid to ask your PT why you are doing something,either before,during or after.

If he is a good PT,he will welcome the chance to elaborate and explain why he is taking a certain approach,but may prefer to do it during feedback after.
My Two Cents.