Monday, December 8, 2008

Would You Listen To a Chubby Trainer?

One of my pet peeves is seeing an overweight personal trainer or deconditioned aerobics instructor telling other people how to get in shape. Would you take investment advice from someone who is broke, or hire a chain smoker as your running coach?
It makes about as much sense to hire an out of shape fitness expert, but they are everywhere! Educationally deficient trainers abound as well. In this state, a license is required to cut your hair, but to treat your back pain and guide you in correct exercise form, all it takes is the ability to sweet talk you out of your hard-earned money.
Believe it or not, in economic downturns, people turn to exercise and local fitness experts more often than in strong economies. People look to invest their money in themselves instead of an unpredictable market. They also need to burn off the stress that comes with uncertainly and they seem to instinctively know that exercise is the best antidote.
If you are looking for a personal trainer or someone to get fitness advice from, first make sure they walk what they talk. If they can’t convince themselves to follow proper nutrition and exercise habits, they will suck even more at motivating you.
Looking good isn’t enough however. Make sure they have some classroom time in fitness and nutrition and not just a certification. Most “certified” personal trainers just ordered a text book, read it over the weekend, and then showed up in some hotel conference room to sit for the test when that agency happened to be in town.
This is better than nothing, but the next step up is a trade school or an organized program that offers an actual course with hands-on training. These usually take 4 months to a year and include lectures, teachers, videos, and practical experience. The next step up from there is a college degree, but trainers with those are pretty rare.
Most X Gym trainers do in fact have a college degree in an exercise field, so we are a very safe bet. I don’t want to brag or turn this into an infomercial either, but we are also in fantastic shape. We even won 12 of the 14 medals presented at the WAMU tower stair climb for Cystic Fibrosis on December 4th and reset many records that stood for years prior. Our members got in on it too, helping to win some of those medals, and when all was said and done, 14 of our 19 team members placed in their top 10 for their age groups.
If your trainer doesn’t inspire you to do crazy stuff like run up 56 floor buildings in under 8 minutes, or can’t motivate you to just get moving again, you need to find one who does. Look up local trainers and interview them. Get a free workout and try as many as you want before you make your decision, because it’s an important one and it’s your money.
Their personality and teaching style should be a match too. If you don’t like them on your first impression, you probably won’t grow to like them later, and then might be stuck in a “package deal” with a bunch of workouts to finish up. If you find one who you respond to and produces constant results, you have found a gold mine! If you plateau however, or find yourself spinning your wheels, you might as well put that money back into the market. At least there you will have some unpredictability and something positive might happen!

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