So, I haven’t written publically about my fitness journey lately. During and after the move I put on a few pounds, and wasn’t feeling very awesome.
Remember that time I went to One-derland? Well, my visa was revoked.
When I used to have an actual commute, I finally got myself on autopilot to go to the gym instead of home.
What I’m finding now, is that I can work, and then work some more. And then work some more. And then I’m tired and hungry and who wants to go to the gym at that point? Not me, it turns out. Let’s make a sandwich.
But over the past few weeks things have started to shift for me. Maybe it’s the wedding we’re planning, maybe it’s the dog, maybe it’s my own desire to just feel good and strong in my body again.
The truth is that it was all of those things, and then some. The whole is greater than the sum of its parts, and I must have reached a tipping point.
I went to spin class again, and after a few conversations with an awesome instructor that I really connect with, ponied up a few bucks for some personal training sessions with her. Sometimes you have to call in the big guns.
Yes, I’ve worked out with people before, but this is the first time ever that I’ve hired a trainer, and I’m noticing so far, that it’s the little things that mean the most:
- For me, having a set time to meet with someone is key. They are expecting you at a certain time, because you’ve committed. I have the time blocked on my calendar, and since that is an appointment with someone else, I’m more apt to honor that.
- Making sure you connect with a person who will meet you where you are at, and not try to force you to fit their mold. Just because someone is a trainer doesn’t mean they are the right one for you.
- Listening to them. Trusting them. Being comfortable enough to have your fat jiggle around during burpees.
The hardest part is often on your side of the court:
- Connecting with your own intention for your time together, and then clearly communicating that to your trainer.
You might be thinking, “I want to be healthy” but that’s just not enough information. What does “healthy” look like to you? What do you see yourself doing when you’re “healthy”? For me, of course I want to improve my strength and endurance on the bike, but my real life goal is to be able to do pull ups, or go kite surfing. That means I have to cut fat and develop my upper body strength.
That’s my real-world goal, that’s the image I can zero in on when doing the work is uncomfortable. And it helps the trainer to understand what you want to accomplish, so she can map out the route to get you there.
But as I’ve been working out with Jan, an unexpected thing has emerged. I’ve started to see where my hangups are. The places where I get confused. I have some sort of dyslexia, I’m certain that’s a big reason why I’m so uncoordinated, and bodyweight exercises seem to exasperate that for me like playing a rousing game of Twister. I’m thankful that I can just be a little dumb around her (exercise brain) and she’ll help me through whatever I’m hung up on.
Here are five tips for how to find a personal trainer who is a good fit for you:
- Of course, make sure your trainer has current fitness certifications. Your gym should not be employing them without it, which is one reason why I like starting off at the group class level.
- Also, you can observe how they handle challenges, or challenging people in a group setting. Yes, these folks are supposed to be professionals, but we have millions of years of evolution baked into how we perceive facial expressions, etc, and non-verbal cues often tell us more than we can even comprehend in the moment. Malcolm Gladwell wrote about that in Blink.
- A great way to find a personal trainer is to take a bunch of group classes with a variety of instructors in the disciplines or areas that excite or interest you the most. For me, it was spinning. You will get a good vibe about whose style you like and whose personality jives with your own.
- Talk to them. Ask what their specialties are. What activities they enjoy doing, or how they like to teach. Often this information is available on their web bio, and they should have one at least linked to your gym’s website if they are a professional. If they don’t or you can’t find it or you just want to have a deeper conversation about it, just ASK. Yes, this is a weird power dynamic, but you’re interviewing them because you are considering hiring them to help you. If your trainer specializes in bulking up dudes, they may not be the best person to help you develop your foundational fitness and cut fat.
- Also, your trainer should do an assessment on you before you get started. Just like you wouldn’t feel all warm and fuzzy about a chiropractor adjusting you prior to examining you and assessing your needs, don’t accept this from a personal trainer either.
I’m pretty happy with my own progress over the past month. 7+ lbs down since we started, and 5 more before I can get my passport stamped again at One-derland.
It’s all part of the process, ain’t it?
Q: Would you ever hire a personal trainer? Why? Why not?
Let’s chat about it in the comments below!