Monday, December 19, 2011

Finding the Right Trainer Part III

The First Session

After having gone through the ordeal of locating a trainer/coach, then "interviewing" them (the consultation), many people think that the process is over - but there's still a crucial stage. How do they relate to you in the first session? There are still some significant markers to keep in mind while working with them for the first time.
  1. Do they assess you? There should always be some form of screen or assessment that precedes the start of the training session - no ifs, ands or buts. Everyone will have a different take on what they use - but what's important is that they use something. Remember (in the words of Eric Cressey): if they're not assessing, they're guessing.
  2. Is the first session as much an education as a training session? This likely won't be the hardest session you ever have - nor should it be. Even if you know your limits, they don't - and they shouldn't be trying to find it in the first 60mins. If they're throwing out massive numbers of repetitions, or loading up massive weight - something's not right. And even if you are asking to be pushed harder, they should be sticking to their guidelines.
  3. Are they someone that you can relate to? Do they "speak your language"? Do they seem like a robot? Do they not seem to pay enough attention to your form? You might not even be able to put your finger on it, but trust your intuition - if something tells you this isn't going to work, don't commit to a long-term agreement.
  4. Finally - how do you feel 24-48hrs after the session? While a small degree of soreness is to be expected (particularly if they've shown you some new exercises, or you've been inactive for a while), if you find you're so sore that you have trouble sitting on the toilet, putting on a jacket or washing your hair - you were pushed too hard. A good trainer or coach should always try to err on the side of caution - and leave you with positive feelings after each session.
So there are a few things that you can keep in mind as you go into the New Year, particularly if you're looking for some help starting the year off right. These are by no means a guarantee - even paying attention to all of the previous notes, you could still wind up with a dud. Similarly, a potentially great trainer could have an off-day... in the end, though, our "gut" or instincts often prove to be surprisingly reliable.

Trust yourself, and good luck in your search!

~Guy

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