-Before and after pictures, testimonials of hundreds of pounds lost, promises of how he or she got a client to drop 2 dress sizes in a month, insanely exhausting workouts-
And there you have the defining criteria of a "good" trainer...or so it seems.
I read a quote from a respected trainer once that went something like this, "Any coach can make you tired, but not any coach can make you better". And it's 100% true! While it might not be all the trainer/coach's fault as it's largely a product of how they are taught, you as the client can get empowered to choose a healthier more productive way.
It's all about how you define results. Unfortunately we are in a state of looking at what is happening on the outside (body weight, size, etc) verses measuring true success and progress. There are so many highly regarded coaches out there that claim they want the best for you, they are sick of the hype, they want you to have a positive body image and be healthy & happy, but then in the next breathe those same trainers are sharing weight loss tips, fat loss oriented blog content and products that promise body change results. Look I get it, we all want to look our best, but the only way to do that is to STOP the bullshit of defining our results in body based numbers and ideals.
When all you want is to lose weight, you will make decisions that most likely won't be healthy and though may temprorarily bring you closer to your goal will ultimately backfire on you. I know I am far from the best trainer or coach, but I will tell you this...I honestly CARE, I WILL NOT lie to you and my goal is to help make you healthy & happy regardless of your size, weight or shape. And I mean it! Some people don't like it, it's not what they want or want to hear and that is totally okay. But for those few that walk through the doors of my club with the initial goal of weight loss and then begin to experience "the shift" of persepctive (i.e. peformance based goals and joy of movement) our philosophy is a breath of fresh air.
I have clients all the time go see other trainers while attending classes at my club and I can't tell you how many come to me with questions about why a trainer is making a workout so intense or sharing how a trainer is focused on body fat percentage and weight loss regardless of their goals. My students come to me, not because I am a better trainer, but because I am honest. It's not about me it's about my students and their wellbeing.
So I thought I'd complie a list of 10 things to look for that indicate your trainer/coach sucks:
1. They weigh, measure or body fat test you
2. They assume your goal is weight loss
3. They make every session as hard as possible
4. They don't give you explanations behind WHY they are having you do certain exercises, workouts, etc
5. They focus on calories burned and give you restrictive diet advice
6. They give you a time frame about how long it will take to see some sort of "results" ("you can lose 6 lbs in 2 weeks with these workouts")
7. They don't modify (regress or progress) exercises to make them appopriate to your level each session
8. They always tell you want you want to hear (and promote the fitness myths you read in the media)
9. They rarley or never share with you praise on your performance progress (or they praise of for weight or inches lost)
10. They promote the more is better philosophy
Peeps let's get real, it's your money and your time. You get to choose how you spend it! You might not like my philosophy, but there is a club and coach out there that is your cup of tea. My point is simply that you can choose to work with someone that wants to make you better (your health and your life) or you can choose to work with someone that wants to make you smaller. The beauty of it is it's up to you! Listen to your gut, if your coach or trainer is doing any of the above and it doesn't feel right to you...move on!
So what defines a good coach? A good coach or trainer will...
1. Ask you what your goals are, respect your goals, yet never make you a number
2. Even if your goal is weight loss a good trainer will encourage you to focus on the training and being healthy vs stepping on a scale
3. Make each session effective and challenging vs. hellish
4. Will explain the WHY behind the exerises, workout format, etc
5. Will encourage to make small manageable changes in eating that are healthy, such as honoring your hunger, nourishing your body and reconnecting with your body's cues.
6. Never make promises based on time frames but instead explain that consistency over time leads to a healthy, full life (regardless of bodyweight, size, etc)
7. Make appropriate modifications to exericses to ensure you get the most effective, safest workout possible
8. Not always tell you what you want to hear. Yep you might hate them once in a while, but if they are being honest with you they are a keeper. This indicates they care about your mental well-being as well.
9. Recognize and share with you the progress they see you making performance wise. They will point out your successes and encourage you to celebrate and build on them.
10. Promote the listen to your body philosophy, moderation, and effectiveness over volume of training
It's hard to resist the hype we see everywhere about these awesome trainers and programs that "get results", but I urge to shift your attention from weight loss results to feeling better INSIDE & OUT! A good trainer wants to you feel better and cares about your overall well-being. Look compromising your health both mental & physical to drop a dress size isn't worth it and I discourage you from working with anyone that believes otherwise. Love me or hate me, I will never feed you a bunch of bullshit and I want you to be the best you can be!