Q&A: Selecting a gym and personal trainer

Eric September 2, 2010

We got a lot of good questions this week! Be sure to keep them coming! Send your questions, comments, and feedback to us at thehotbodsquad@gmail.com.

Q- I haven’t ever stepped foot inside of a gym. Where do I start?
Colin – Vancouver, BC

A- Jim, an average gym has a fair amount of equipment in it. There are machines for every muscle group, cardio machines, free weights, and dumbells. All of my first time training clients say that they put off going to the gym because they were overwhelmed by the sheer volume of equipment that was there and didn’t want to look silly trying to figure out how to use it. Here are some quick tips:

1- Pick a gym where the staff and patrons are friendly and courteous. Remember, that everyone at the gym is there to work out, so don’t go overboard with asking for help from people who are in the middle of a workout. But if you see someone doing an exercise, don’t hesitate to ask them what body part it works and when they’re through try to duplicate it. Ask the gym staff for help on equipment that you don’t understand. They are there to help you!

2- Pick up a couple of workout magazines or look online to get a list of exercises for a workout. More people than noe have paper of some sort while they’re walking around the gym to keep them on track. You’re not going to look silly carrying around a magazine or a piece of paper. And let’s be honest, everyone else there is usually too busy working out to pay attention to what you’re doing.

3- Hire a trainer. This one is a no brainer. Many trainers have introductory rates for first time clients to help make it cheaper and easier to learn how to structure your workout. The goal in the gym is to workout smart. Many people think that simply working out hard will get them results. And though that’s true at first, you will plateau very quickly unless you work your muscles intelligently and in a structured manner.

Hope that helps give you a starting point!
Read more about selecting a personal trainer after the break.

Q- How do I pick a Personal Trainer?

 Richard – White Plains, NY

A– Follow these tips and you’ll be set when it comes to finding a good trainer.

1- Make sure they are certified. There are many trainers out there that claim to be trainers but don’t have the certifications because the industry isn’t regulated by the government. Do NOT train with a trainer that isn’t certified. A certified trainer knows what to do so that you DON’T get hurt. I’ve heard of so many times that a trainer hurt someone because they had them do exercises that they weren’t ready for. Don’t let that happen to you!

2- Pick a trainer that LOOKS like they know what they are talking about. A good trainer makes fitness their life and they are a walking billboard for their training business. A trainer who is out of shape can many times have the knowledge to get you where you’d like, but they lack the willpower themselves. Choose someone that will serve as a role model for you and help to push you to achieve your goals.

3- Choose a trainer who is friendly and fun. Your trainer will push you harder than you’ve ever pushed yourself in the gym. You can either let that be a good or a bad experience for you. I kick my clients ass’, but I make sure that they always leave smiling. If you don’t get along with your trainer, you’re not going to follow their advice, and you’re certainly not going to look up to them as a role model.

That’s just skimming the surface of tips for picking a good trainer, but hope it gives you a good starting point!
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