Mamatoga Fit Tip Tuesday: What Should Your Personal Trainer Be Doing for You?

This past week I had a training session with a former client of mine. He used to train with me back when I worked for a local fitness center, and it has been at least two years since we last worked together. We recently reconnected and got together for about 40 minutes  to first see where he is currently at physically, and then to put him through a thirty minute workout. Before I started him on his warm up exercises, he explained to me the recent issues he is dealing with. Some shoulder and back pain on his right side and tendonitis in his left arm. He was recently working with a trainer at a local fitness center, and gave me a brief overview of some of the exercises that trainer had him doing. As I listened, I was partly amused, mostly horrified, but not in the least bit surprised.

Good trainers are hard to find.

I started him on some basic warm up movements which were also an opportunity for me to see what his physical tendencies were and where his weaknesses were. I immediately tapped into a couple weak links where alignment was off and weak links existed.

Now don’t get me wrong, even professional athletes have weak links and physical issues that frequently need to be addressed and corrected. It is human nature and normal for everyone to want to recruit from the dominant muscles, and to ignore the weak ones. We all have our own habitual movement patterns which are often created without us even knowing it. Much of this is predetermined by our daily lifestyle. Even our personality traits can contribute to the way we carry and move our bodies.

That is where the well trained eye comes in handy. Someone who knows how to assess your movement patterns, your weak links, and call you out every time you try to take the “easy way” during your workout.

It is my job, and any other legitimate trainer’s job to make you work harder, and to get you to thoroughly recruit from every muscle in your body, as much as possible.

If your trainer is just standing around counting repetitions for you, that person is not a trainer. They are a professional counter. And no matter what you are paying them, they are overpaid.

The individual I trained yesterday was maxed out after thirty minutes of training with me, and that included the warm up. And I didn’t have him perform any fancy moves. I simply required him to use his whole body, to perform movements with as near –to- perfect form as he was capable of at that moment, and to be mindful of his body and what he was doing.

That’s “all” a good trainer needs to do.

Next time you work with a fitness trainer, ask yourself:

  • Is this trainer helping me to improve my movement patterns or are they just putting me through the motions?
  • Does this trainer have constructive feedback for me as to what I need to improve upon and why?
  • Does this trainer have a plan that is solely based upon my personal needs? Or is this trainer just having me do exactly what they have everyone else do?
  • Does this trainer keep me on point at all times and push me in a well- directed, understandable, logical manner?
  • Do I see myself making real physical progress and reaching my goals?
  • After I work with this trainer, when I walk away, do I feel better about myself, accomplished, and appropriately challenged, or do I feel defeated, depleted, and run down?

If these things aren’t happening, nothing else worthwhile is happening either.

Expect a lot from your trainer. That’s what we’re paid for.

Read more from Jeannine at her blog, Real [Fit] Life here!