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Brendan Gets Published, World Rejoices

I have received notice that someone actually thinks I qualify as an expert and therefore wants to use me as a reference for an upcoming online article.  Because I am lazy I’m going to copy what I sent to the author regarding choosing a personal trainer. “….Our philosophy and business model is based on creating a training product that is affordable, motivating, and challenging enough to be done for an indefinite period of time.  I hate the idea of hiring a trainer “for a little while” then going out on their own because that’s not the point of what we do.  I’ve NEVER seen anyone be successful “going out on their own.”  Our job is to take care of the thinking and stay up to date with proper training techniques and exercises so you don’t have to.  We literally spend hours a day learning and practicing what we do.  Personal Training shouldn’t be used to “jump start” a workout program, it should be the architecture of it.   We have a better way to make that possible. Our business model is what is called Semi-Private Training.  Rather than one-on-one, our clients are on individual personalized programs in groups of up to four.  That dramatically lowers the cost per session while creating a more exciting and supportive atmosphere.  I don’t feel one-on-one works because it isn’t affordable for most people (Around $80 an hour down here) vs. our model which is more like $35/hour. To answer your other questions, the most important factors in hiring a trainer is credibility, professionalism, and accountability.  Unfortunately, anyone can call themselves a “personal trainer,” or take a less then credible certification course and they have a license to severely injure a potential client.  Contrary to popular belief, the body isn’t just a collection of individual muscles that can be “toned” or worked by themselves.  A lot of people assume just because someone looks in great shape they must know what they are doing and how to handle other people.  This couldn’t be farther from the truth.  Beware the “Born-Again” fitness person who wants everyone to get fit the way “they did.” The best trainers in the world are highly educated, constantly improving, and very well organized.  Also, you’ve probably never heard of them.  They don’t scream at fat people on the Biggest Loser or steal already fit celebrity’s money.  They are in the trenches with real clients getting real results safely and efficiently. Another important factor in hiring a Trainer is philosophy and program design.  We design our programs one month at a time.  A bad trainer will often scribble something before the workout, or just make it up as they go.  If they never do any sort of assessment when you first start, that’s a bad sign.  These days everyone has issues and they need to be identified and addressed to progress safely.  If they are trying to get everyone to do the same exercise, that’s another warning sign. Professionalism is a huge issue in training.  Beware the guy who takes cash and isn’t affiliated with the gym.  I’ve seen a lot of “gypsy” trainers illegally operating in commercial gyms.  They aren’t insured by the facility and likely don’t carry liability insurance themselves, either.  We have one person who designs our programs and all of our trainers execute them.  This is a better way to maintain a consistent program and philosophy, and allows our trainers to take vacations, sick days, etc… THAT being said, most commercial gym training staffs are a nightmare.  As a general rule, if the training department has a dedicated sales staff that doesn’t train clients, the trainers are vastly underpaid and under motivated.  Often you will bounce from one trainer to another with totally inconsistent programs and exercises.  Ask the trainer what the last non-certification seminar was that they attended.  Great trainers seek education and read, watch, study and listen all the time. As an alternative to hiring a trainer or becoming involved in a semi-private program, many coaches and trainers offer program design services.  Many are even online now.  Typically you would receive an assessment in person or through video, and then receive an individualized program for the month.  Usually this costs $75-$100 a month and is a great option on a budget.  I can’t stress enough the need for someone else to design your program.  Even I, as a fitness Professional do not design my own.  You will always lean towards stuff that is easy and you are good at and avoid what is necessary.”