Finding a gym or trainer that will deliver what is promised is a daunting task. There is a myriad of misinformation in magazines and on social media, and dishonest sales tactics challenge you throughout the process. Below, I give you 5 questions you should ask yourself before you invest your hard earned money into this venture.
1. What is the professional’s background?
Certifications are great but they don’t necessarily translate to a good experience for you. Trainers and sales personnel like to throw their degrees and list of certifications around to impress people. Education is integral to a trainer’s growth; there is no denying that. But it’s not a guarantee that you will get what you need or that the trainer is able to apply all that knowledge.
Make sure that your prospective trainer has proven success with their systems and processes. Talk with some of their current clients and see what their experience has been like. They should be able to give you a good gauge on whether or not you can expect to see results. If that’s not an option, some of the points listed below will help you figure things out.
2. Do you get along with th etrainer or the people who work/workout at the gym?
Let me put this another way: Could you see yourself grabbing a beer with the coach you are looking to hire? Do you feel like the members at the gym are your friends, rather than random people you see everyday and avoid eye contact with?
You are going to be spending a lot of time with these folks, you might as well enjoy their company! In addition, when members and trainers are working together rather than separately towards a common goal, everyone is more likely to succeed!
When looking for a gym, find one that feels like a community. A place that is diverse, inclusive, and the people actually know your name.
3. Do they offer a systematized program?
A common selling tactic in the fitness industry is to invite you in for a free workout then absolutely destroy you with meaningless exercise to show you how “out of shape” you are. Hogwash.
Making someone tired and sweaty requires zero knowledge or coaching skills. Actually, it’s a sign of a complete lack of knowledge or coaching skills. While it has it’s place, being exhausted and feeling beat down is not what gets results.
Guess what? I can make you sweat pretty easily.
Go jump up and down for 5 minutes straight.
Did you sweat? Do you feel like you worked out? Maybe burned off that extra taco from the weekend?
Cool. I’m not going to charge you $300 a month for that.
And I’ll bet you $300 that even if you do that everyday for six weeks, you will not reach your fitness goals.
If you are going to spend money on a gym or coach, look for one that offers a set of steps to get you from point A to point B; one that has logical progressions and regressions. A trainer or gym that offers a gateway to success and a program with purpose. Without this, you are simply grasping at air with the hope that something will work.
4. Do they begin with assessments and education?
Before beginning your training, you should go through some sort of evaluation to establish your starting point. We all have specific needs imposed by our current condition. This should be addressed through an assessment to give the trainer all the information they need to pinpoint what your starting point will be. Beyond that, a thorough introduction to form and technique should be provided before performing exercises with any sort of intensity. Quality of movement will not only get you to your goals quicker, but it will significantly reduce your risk of injury.
Now, don’t get me wrong, there are some fitness classes that almost anyone can join in on. For example, restorative yoga or basic dance cardio classes. But many classes involve either heavy lifting, throwing large objects, punching bags, or suspending from ropes. And many trainers will simply start a workout without even explaining to their client what they are about to do, why they are doing it, or how to do it.
5. What kind of help is offered outside of your gym experience?
You will only be with your trainer or at your gym for a limited number of hours a week. That leaves a lot of time for you to be on your own to figure things out. Unfortunately, a lot of what dictates you reaching your goals will be determined by what you do outside of the gym. Bum deal, huh?!
A good coach or gym will address this by providing you with guidance to help you during that away time. Blogs, pamphlets, emails, and newsletters are just a few of the ways coaches can get their information out. If you want a measure of your coach’s knowledge or willingness to go the extra mile, check out the resources they provide!
There you have it! If you follow these guidelines and listen to your gut instinct, you’ll be sure to spend your money on an inclusive, friendly gym with purposeful programming, or a trainer with expertise and experience that you truly enjoy working with. And with that educated decision comes an increased probability that you will reach your goals much quicker!
Want to chat more about how to choose the best gym or trainer? Feel free to reach out and tell me what you think!
*This article was co-written with Michael Connelly