The Wrong Guy.
More often than I’d like to admit, I witness a trainer doing definite harm to their client. Yes, we all have done strange exercises with our clients and not really known why we’re doing it and all seemed fine at the time, no harm done. But the longer we’re in this business, hopefully we grow and learn along the way.
Some of us don’t. I have been training in a certain private residential gym for a few years. During the last few months, I have seen the same “trainer” (I question whether this dude is even certified) nearly every visit, training someone different every time. Let’s call him Doofus. Here’s what I witnessed today:
A woman, clearly postpartum, walks in and shakes Doofus’ hand.
Doofus: “So, you just had a baby?”
Woman: “Yes. C-Section. I think the scar is healed.”
Doofus: “Well, let’s try a buncha things and we’ll just see what hurts and what doesn’t.”
I’m totally serious. He didn’t even ask when and if she had the OK from her doctor to workout. They proceeded to do woodchops, leg raises, kettlebell twists, you name it. Each time they started a new exercise, she would mention, “…I really feel this in my incision,” or, “this definitely hurts” to which he responded, “yeah? Just try a couple more.”
Clearly this woman didn’t do her homework in finding the right trainer. She hired any ol’ guy to coach her to post-natal success…but she must be realizing her mistake tonight as her scar burns and her body aches in pain…I am 100% certain he did harm. I am sure she didn’t want to offend him by ending the session, so she threw herself under the bus. This guy might be a great boxing coach, but he’s a clueless trainer. Would you hire a dentist to perform open heart surgery on you?
I hate to say it, but in my industry, there’s a certain amount of “buyer beware”. I cannot tell you how many clients have come to me with injuries from other trainers. Don’t let this happen to you. Do your homework. Before you hire a trainer, make sure they are:
- Certified…currently. Here are the top 5: ACSM, NASM, NSCA, NCSF, NFPT
- Specialty certified. Pregnant? Ask to see their pre/post-natal cert. Have diabetes? Check their “special populations” certification. Want to learn kettlebells? There’s a certification for that, too. Whatever your goal, be sure they’ve had prior experience and know what they’re doing.
- Experienced. The more, the better. Aim for 4+ years.
- Solid references. Ask their clients, their colleagues and their prior bosses.
- Get a consultation. Feel them out, ask oodles of questions and pick their brain. They may not know every answer, but they should know where to look for answers and get back to you.
Don’t be naive. Everyone’s out to make a buck. Be responsible with your money. Trainers aren’t cheap…until they are. You get what you pay for.