I use the term “Lifestyle Coach” more and more these days as opposed to “personal trainer” for various reasons. Most people who are personal trainers are not fully educated on the human body. Take a look at the trainers the next time you go to your gym and see how they train. Listen to them. Do they ask their client what he or she ate? How he or she is digesting? Or is the training session just about kicking some butt?
As a Lifestyle Coach, I do more than just “kick some butt”. Sure, giving my client a sweaty workout is fun, but not all workouts need to be sweaty. Sometimes a session includes just postural alignment, which does increase the body temperature enough to cause sweat to occur. Sometimes a session is less about movement and more about nutrition, postural education, and discussing how to live well. Yet if you go to your big gym down the street you won’t find a personal trainer like this.
What most gyms don’t tell you is that just about anyone CAN be a personal trainer. It’s pretty easy, in fact. It requires a book, a fee, and a test. That’s it; There is no in-depth analysis of nutrition, or study of yoga, or even laboratory research into the best form for body fat testing. You only get education like this through schooling. Even with an education in an area like Kinesiology, there is no background into Eastern philosophy of the body or understanding cultural differences and how they relate to different body types.
My background alone doesn’t even come close to enough education. A double minor in Personal Training and Group Fitness Instruction, 3 exercise certifications and 5 years of yoga training still isn’t enough; I’m perpetually learning. Every client has different needs, a different background, body type, family history, interests etc. – no two people are exactly the same. Each of these areas needs to be addressed when training a client in order to have success.
Unfortunately, not all personal trainers care about their clients enough to take the time to work with them toward that success. In fact, it is common knowledge among trainers that some of the most populated gyms in this country care more about their bottom line than the health and success of their clientele. Some have even turned down trainers who apply who say they are in it to help clients. Sad, but true.
So, how do you know if you are training with a good trainer or Lifestyle Coach? The answer is simple; Do your research. Learn all you can about who you are getting your advice from. It’s your money and you should be getting your money’s worth from each session. Ask yourself the following questions about a trainer:
“Is my trainer well-educated?” Your trainer should have a wealth of knowledge, not just a background in tennis.
“What does my trainer like to do in his/her free time”? A trainer who likes to just drink and party is probably not going to be very wise.
“Does my trainer ask about my life?” A good trainer wants to know what you do, how you eat, and how you move.
“Does my trainer help get me out of pain?” Most trainers just put you in pain, by working the body so hard that muscles pull too tight and injury results. That is what happened to me. A good trainer incorporates yogic movements into EACH session, not just once a week and makes sure to open up and stretch muscles that are intensely used in a single session.
So, do your research and make an informed decision about who you train with. And if you don’t like a trainer, don’t use the trainer! Don’t worry about hurt feelings, you are only bruising the ego anyway.