Tips for the Personal Trainer

By Jim Bryan 

When you have been in the fitness business as long as I have you have seen just about everything (good & bad). When I first started in the field, personal training was a very rare thing. Now, 25 years later, Personal Fitness Training is big business. More and more people are becoming trainers every day, many with little to no experience other than their two year subscription to Men’s Health, and a weekend certification course.

Many new trainers get lost in the minutia of exercise selection and trying to look cool by using the latest “sexy” exercise trend as well tossing around the newest pseudo-scientific jargon in an attempt to razzle-dazzle the perspective client into spending their hard earned money.

Something that often get’s lost these days is that Personal Training is supposed to be well… personal. Below are some tips from my friend Jim Bryan that will help the aspiring trainer to deliver a world class experience for their clients, every time.

1. Pay attention to your Clients.


2. Hang up the cell phone during your sessions.


3. Track Clients progress regularly.


4. Stop looking at yourself in the mirror.


5. Think safety. “First do no harm.”


6. Don’t try to use “complex movements” you don’t know how to do.


7. A weekend “seminar” in the Olympic or Quick Lifts, does not qualify you as an Olympic Lifting coach.


8. Olympic Lifts were not meant to be done for high reps, with poor form, to the point of fatigue.


9. Tire flipping isn’t beneficial for all clients. Learn to discern.


10. Tried and true exercises, and methods should be your first choice.


11. Machines or free weights? Why not either or both? Each has advantages and disadvantages. Learn them.


12. Don’t put clients on a diet unless you are a Registered Dietitian.


13. Learn to spot fads and gimmicks and pass on them.


14. Dress in a professional manner, and conduct yourself that way also.

TAKU’s NOTE: Thanks to my good friend Jim Bryan for sharing some valuable tips for personal trainers.

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Getting the most out of your training

By The Viking

I get asked this question all the time: “Should I hire a trainer?”

The answer is, unquestionably, yes, but it comes with an asterisk, so to speak.

I say yes because I look at what I do when I go to the gym. I look at the way I train, how long it takes me and how much effort I put into each workout. Then I ask myself, “Could I do better with someone encouraging me to go harder or stronger or faster?” The answer again is yes. Speaking as an athlete, trainer and someone who’s been involved in the fitness industry for over 13 years I know exactly how far I can push myself when it comes to my training and I know how much recovery time I need. I’m not always able to give 100% when I’m in the gym. Distractions are constantly present and I often find myself seeking reasons not to do another set or take a little more rest time than I need. When I have one of my colleagues or friends oversee my training session, they never let me take the additional time or look for distractions. They keep me on task, on schedule and constantly push me to excel. Bottom line, it works. No matter how effective I am in the gym, it is only enhanced when a trainer or training partner works with me.

Don’t fool yourself. Even if you’ve been going to the gym for years or you’ve played sports all your life, don’t think that you know everything there is to know about working out. It’s very likely that you probably do quite a few things wrong in the gym — bad information seems to constantly perpetuate. Every single day I see people who are training poorly, ineffectively or just plain wrong. It may be the intensity at which they do their “cardio” training or perhaps it’s the way they spend 2 hours doing a workout that should take no more than 30 minutes. They may even be doing the exercises TOTALLY WRONG. Yes, I see this all the time. I’m sure most of the people making these errors have no idea they’re doing anything wrong. If that’s the case, there’s no impetus for making any change. “Quality, not quantity” plays a big part in training. It would be much more advantageous for each and every one of these individuals to spend as little as 30 minutes to an hour with a trainer, have him or her evaluate what they’re doing, then change what’s been identified as incorrect. Subtle changes in form, intensity and periodization can promote substantial changes in the effectiveness of your program.

  ^^Lifitng Fail in action

Here are some other examples of why where hiring a trainer may be helpful:

  • Post pregnancy
  • New to working out
  • Post injury rehab
  • Boredom with your current program/routine
  • No longer seeing results (plateau)
  • Basic education of equipment
  • Accountability
  • Improve efficiency
  • Learn how to train safely
  • Learn what’s new in the industry

I stated in my first sentence that there was an asterisk involved. The reason is, there are many variables involved when hiring a trainer. As the client, you MUSTdo your homework and make sure the trainer you hire is right for you. Check out who the trainer is, what their background is, what experience and education they’ve had and, perhaps most importantly, what their personality is like. You could have the most knowledgeable and effective trainer on the planet, but if the personalities of trainer and client don’t mesh, nothing will ever get accomplished. Most gyms have multiple trainers on staff, so don’t necessarily sign up with the first one you talk to. Talk with them all and find the best fit for you. Trainers are like lawyers, too. If you don’t like the one you’re currently with, get rid of them and find one that you enjoy working with.

Follow these guidelines when looking for a trainer and you’ll be much more apt to reach your fitness goals. Remember: If you’re paying to be there, you have the right to ask questions, get more information, ask for alternatives, etc. If you’re being told something that just doesn’t make sense, make sure you’re getting the right answers!

Jklof Out!