Here we are in mid-October and I’m thinking about Halloween, it’s on a Monday this year, which means bars and clubs downtown will have all weekend to celebrate scantily clad women who are claiming to be a “kitten” while wearing a bra and mini skirt, I’ve owned a few cats and they don’t wear bra’s but who am I to judge a cats clothing choices. Also we can’t forget the shirtless men who dress up as a cop, I’ve never run into a cop wearing an open faced vest with his rock hard abs and tight booty shorts however, if that’s what our law officers really had to wear I imagine I would get in trouble a lot more often…
I bring up Halloween because from here on out it’s holiday after holiday, family gatherings and office parties. All this leads up to the biggest day of the year for personal trainers, gyms, supplement companies and those involved in the fitness industry, New Year’s Eve! Well, New Year’s Eve isn’t the actual day that the fitness industry is looking forward to but what it brings, New Year’s resolutions. Along with the holidays and office parties usually comes a few extra pounds and people will be looking for a fresh start.
I was hoping that as I write this some very clever, and witty, collection of words would come to me so I could finally introduce my point, but alas… I have nothing… So here it is. Here are a few things you need to know about the fitness industry and trainers:
- The fitness industry is seasonal and January is one of the busiest months for new members. They’re betting you make a New Year’s Resolution to lose weight or get in shape. Right now as we speak there are trainers out there developing their plans and to target you in 2017, it happens every year and this year will be no different. Somewhere there is a trainer or gym owner trying to come up with a super clever name for their “New Year New You” resolution program. A program that was designed specifically for you to get you “Bikini ready,” or “High School Skinny.” I personally was chubby in High school so that gimmick doesn’t work on me, and honestly, the reason I’m writing this is because I’m tired of seeing the same gimmicks year after year and I am hoping that the fitness industry will step up its game this year.
- There are companies and trainers out there that develop specialized fitness programs just for this purpose, they then sell those programs to other gym owners and trainers. What that means is some of these workouts are standardized cookie cutter programs that haven’t been personalized to fit your specific needs. Now sometimes they work and honestly most programs do but I wanted to point out that these programs are available to you without going through a gym or trainer and can be purchased for a significant discount. Trainers and gyms mark up the price and sell them to many individuals at a time. I’m not trashing gyms, this is how most business works, and in all honesty you pay for a gym or trainer not for the actual workouts. You pay for the accountability.
- The barrier for entry is very low. There are multiple nationally recognized personal training certification available and all one needs to do is purchase the at home, self-study materials which usually consist of a large text book, a study guide and some DVD’s. Once the person believes they are ready they then go to a secure testing facility and complete a written exam and “voila,” The industry has another trainer. All this costs less than a $1000 and can be completed in a few months depending on how fast the person can study the materials.
None of these are necessarily good or bad they just are and it’s important to know these things when signing up for a gym and purchasing personal training. Here are a few more things to consider when signing up.
- Experience – How long has the trainer been in business and what type of training do they specialize in? When looking for a trainer see how many years they have been practicing along with how many happy customers they have. If you’re comfortable I would suggest asking to speak with some of their current clients to get some honest feedback.
- Specialization – There are different types of trainers that have specialized services and depending on your current physical state you may need someone with a very specific tool set. If you have any current health problems, you might want to seek a niche specific trainer. Others might want to achieve specific goals such as powerlifting or bodybuilding so you would need a trainer that specializes in those areas.
- Sincerity – Does the trainer have a true passion for what they’re doing or is this just a job to them. It’s not a bad thing to have a job that you don’t necessarily care about but when it comes to something like personal training it’s nice to know that the person working with you actually cares. This is something that is a little harder to judge but if you trust your gut you’ll probably be OK.
- Listening skills – This means that when you tell your trainer what your goals are and what you want to achieve out of training they take what you’re saying and put it into a specific exercise program for you. It’s easy for trainers to develop a “one size fits all program” and give it to everyone regardless of the specific goals for each person. You want a program that fits your needs and personality, if you hate burpees and don’t want to do them your trainer should respect that and give you exercise that are enjoyable and make sense for your goals.
- Safe – There are certain movements and exercises that might not be good for you and your trainer should create a safe environment for you. Many clients have had surgery or injuries which will affect certain moves and the trainer needs to be aware of any injuries and should adjust the programming appropriately.
- Teacher – Anytime your trainer tells you to do something they should also tell you why and more specifically why it will help you achieve your specific goals. This will ensure that you are getting the most out of your training and you will also be able to develop a philosophy about different aspects of training and how it pertains to you.
And as always remember – Stay Motivated!