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How to pick the right fitness trainer

Last updated on: December 22, 2020 17:48 IST
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Jyoti Dabas, founder, Institute of Nutrition and Fitness Sciences, lists the red flags you shouldn't ignore.

Is your fitness trainer right for you?

Kindly note the image has only been posted for representational purposes. Photograph: Kind courtesy

There's nothing more disappointing than spending months in a gym, strictly following the instructions of a trainer, only to find out that you haven't made any progress.

Not only is it a sheer waste of time, energy, and money, but also hits your confidence and motivation.

Fitness trainers are synonymous with teachers who should know the strength and weakness of their students to teach them well.

Moreover, they too need to pay attention, so the learner doesn't miss the mark. After all, health and fitness are all about discipline.

Unfortunately, not all personal trainers think along these lines or give regards to their client's journey and goals.

If you think it is relatable to your fitness journey, then perhaps you need to look for a better trainer.

Here's how you can distinguish between a bad and an expert personal trainer.

1. Does not ask about your goal

A good fitness expert will try to understand at the beginning itself as to why you have decided to get fit now?

S/he will listen to your goals, motivations, and plan accordingly.

A lot of trainers have a cookie-cutter plan, and if they do not take the time to understand your goal and limitations, the alarm bells should start ringing.

2. Discourages women from lifting

Women get all the same benefits from lifting as men do and a bit more if psychological factors are to be considered.

There is no reason for women to not just lift but lift heavy.

If your fitness expert actively discourages women from lifting, their knowledge is not up to date.

Check if they have their certifications in place.

3. Gets you running/walking on the treadmill for warm-up

Using the treadmill for warm up is fine but not as a replacement for a proper warm-up routine.

Sometimes trainers do this to fill time allotted to their client or to manage too many clients.

But most are just not aware that a full cardio session should be separate from the strength training.

This is where goals and a proper training plan comes in. Just imagine yourself running non-stop for the first half-an-hour.

Would you have enough energy to justify a proper strength session?

4. Does not note your workout progress 

Your workout progress should be tracked either by you or them.

The frequency of noting progress can differ, but you should have mini goals and targets based on your sessions.

If your trainer is not noting these, he will not be able to create a customised progression plan for you either.

5. Asks you to do 100 squats

If you are a newbie, this is unnecessary. You will experience extreme soreness and probably miss the next few days at the gym.

If you are an experienced lifter, this is a complete waste of time too. You need to progress to more weights broken into reps and sets.

6. Changes workouts too frequently

This happens when there is no tracking of workouts or progress.

A beginner needs to practice getting the movement right in the first few weeks, which means you cannot keep changing the movement as they are learning.

For instance, an amateur may not know the right techniques of weight lifting and may end up slouching their spine and front body to perform the task.

On the other hand, an experienced lifter also needs to develop neuromuscular adaptations to get better at improving their lifts.

7. Tries to pass his 'nutrition knowledge'

Very few fitness experts learn about nutrition as part of their certification or even on their own.

Beyond 'eat something before your workout', take their advice with a pinch of salt.

A good and secure fitness expert knows when to recommend to experts and not pass on bro-science to you as a response.

8. Tries to sell you supplements (without suggesting protein-rich foods from the diet first) 

Recreational lifters or people looking to get fit need minimal to no supplements.

Only if you have reviewed your diet and are not able to accommodate enough protein, you should consider protein supplements.

If you are a non-vegetarian and you can have regular home cooked meals, it is highly unlikely you will need a protein supplement.

Do not fall for popular advertisements or discounts promoted by your trainers

9. Looks unfit himself

Would you be comfortable getting financial advice from a broke person?

Or go to a dentist who has bad teeth?

If they cannot help themselves, then how can they help you? Period.

10. Is not professional and courteous 

Among other things, you should feel that they are giving you time and energy in helping you meet your goal.

This stands for you as clients as well.

People prefer different ways of interaction, but respect should be there from both sides for an honest and long-lasting coaching relationship.

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