Whether you’re just starting out in the gym or are a seasoned gym-goer looking to add a little spark to your workout, at one time or another you’ve probably at least entertained the thought of hiring a personal trainer to get you on track. For that, I feel sorry for you!
Why? Well, having been in the fitness industry in some capacity for at least the last 15 years, it’s hard to admit it but our industry is suffering mightily! Statistics would show that there are MORE people at least looking to improve their fitness these days than ever, however their numbers are only rivaled by the number of unqualified trainers who they are trusting with helping them reach their physical goals. Yes, meatheads are dominating this profession and it bothers me.
The worst part about this is that many well intentioned people will give up on their pursuit of a better body completely after having a bad experience with an unqualified trainer. They may have been told to do some crazy exercises that wound up injuring them, or they were a bit embarrassed with their inability to do what the trainer was unfairly asking them to do given their strength levels, or they just plain hated the fact that their club appointed trainer was fulfilling every stereotype they’d ever heard about personal trainers and this was leaving a bad taste in their mouth.
For whatever reason, the experience quickly became a negative one and soon…the whole idea of going to the gym became about as appealing as a chewing on a dumbbell.
How To Avoid The Meatheads
So what to do? Well…it’s quite obvious that we have to have as many of you out there that are seeking personal trainers know HOW TO AVOID THE MEATHEADS. I say this affectionately of course, but it has to be said. Odds are, that at least 50% of the personal trainers working in your gym are there only because they like to work out and have earned a weekend certification (even worse…online!).
So how do you spot these guys and girls from the ones that are actually well credentialed, knowledgeable about the body, and able to conform to meet YOUR needs and not just theirs? Well…I’m glad you asked. I’ve put together my 4 Tips for Avoiding the Meathead Trainers and for selecting someone who can help and not hurt you in your quest for better health! So with that said…let’s get started!
1. Avoid ANY trainer carrying around a 1 gallon water jug!
Seriously. While drinking water is important and crucial for developing lean muscle…the need to carry around a jug like you’re the milk man for crying out loud is insane! Discreet water drinking is fine. Chugging so the world can see how you get your water in (even while you’re client is in the middle of a set!) is borderline embarrassing.
If as much attention was paid to the client as was to the water bottle, they might have even seen what happened when you dropped the weight on your toe! That said, first rule of thumb, if your trainer is one that does this…ask to borrow the jug, open it and pour all contents on their head…and then get another trainer!
2. Only hire a trainer who cares about what YOUR goals are….not theirs!
I once saw a 275lb bulked up personal trainer in Florida taking a mid-50’s woman through his “Power Chest” workout! Seriously. He told her that “today we’re going to do a power chest workout. If you don’t like it, we’re going to do a power chest workout.” Wow…how motivating…and thoughtful actually!
Unless your trainer asked you what your goals were when you started working out, you’re with the wrong trainer. Sure, you might be looking to them for some guidance on how to get in shape and that’s fine, but you still should have been asked what your ultimate goals were so they could better guide you to meet those specific needs.
3. If your trainer doesn’t vary your workouts…you’ve got the wrong trainer!
I see time after time personal trainers in the gym that NEVER vary the workouts of their clients. If I go in on a Monday, they’re doing the same 5 exercises that they were doing last Friday and will be doing the same 5 exercises on Wednesday. This is due to laziness, plain and simple.
In order to keep the muscle adapting stronger and stronger you need to keep the exercises varied and ever changing. Laziness and the need to change exercises don’t go hand in hand that well. If you find that your trainer is doing this, then it’s time to find a new trainer.
4. Make sure your trainer has a gameplan…but is willing to rewrite it at ANY time it’s needed!
To me…the highlight of a good trainer is someone that goes into the gym with a plan for the day but is willing and able to vary that plan depending upon what they are getting from their client on a given day. It’s quite normal for a client’s energy levels to surge or fade depending on many other facets of their lives. Maybe they’re a bit run down from stress on the job, were up late the night before, are feeling extremely energetic on a particular day, whatever.
The point is…the good trainer will recognize this and will push more or pull back accordingly to make sure that every workout is maximized to get the most out of it and give you the best they’ve got. As a trainer to pro athletes I deal with this all of the time. My workouts are done on the fly and that’s what keeps it so exciting and enjoyable for me. Daily energy ebb and flow needs to be met with the right balance or moderation and motivation!
Don’t be victim to a bad trainer and don’t let a bad experience sour your outlook on your own fitness. It’s extremely important to get yourself healthy and going to the gym is a big part of it…as is often times, hiring a personal trainer to get you started in the right direction. Use these tips to help guide you to the right one and make your trips to the gym an enjoyable experience and something you’ll look forward to for many healthy years to come!
Jeff Cavaliere is a celebrity fitness trainer who has the reputation in the industry for being one of the most creative young minds in the business has gotten him the responsibility of getting some of the fittest athletes and celebrities in top shape when there is no alternative. To see more about him and his AthLEAN-X Training System you can VISIT /best-workout-program-for-men
Jeff Cavaliere M.S.P.T, CSCS
Jeff Cavaliere is a Physical Therapist, Strength Coach and creator of the ATHLEAN-X Training Programs and ATHLEAN-Rx Supplements. He has a Masters in Physical Therapy (MSPT) and has worked as Head Physical Therapist for the New York Mets, as well as training many elite professional athletes in Major League Baseball, NFL, MMA and professional wrestling. His programs produce “next level” achievements in muscle size, strength and performance for professional athletes and anyone looking to build a muscular athletic physique.