It is a constant source of amusement to watch people come into the gym and demonstrate their ignorance. The frequency with which people do some ridiculous exercise or perform an exercise with terrible technique never ceases to amaze. What makes this better is when they do this in front of a coach with over 40 years of experience. The look on his face can be priceless!
I find it a little baffling because with so much to gain or lose, why wouldn’t you consult an expert? Is their body not the most important thing they have?
If you want to improve your chances of success, then you’ll want a coach or personal trainer. If you’re after individually focused training that suits your particular needs, then you’ll definitely need a coach. While a good coach will bring substantial improvements, an uneducated coach with a poor attitude could be counterproductive.
ATTRIBUTES TO LOOK FOR
The following attributes will increase your chances of success in finding a good coach:
- Education, do they have formal qualifications from a reputable institution?
- Have a high level of strength and fitness. If they’ve invested in themselves and practice what they preach, there’s a better chance that they’ll understand how to achieve results and demonstrate the necessary skills.
- Experience. Level of experience counts for something, so sure ask for how long have they coached and who have they coached. However, years of experience says nothing about competence and the next attribute.
- Attitude. Are they interested, helpful, and do they have a certain degree of humility? The best coaches know that the human body is infinitely complex, and that research and understanding of body mechanics is ever-evolving. They’ll be curious to know more and can explain the physiology behind their training technique.
Finally, as with trying to find anyone to help you out, ask around. Do they have stories of success without a trail of injuries?
1. Effects of a supervised versus an unsupervised combined balance and strength training program on balance and muscle power in healthy older adults: A randomized controlled trial. Lacroix A, et al. Gerontology. 2016;62(3):275-88. www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26645282
2. Adherence to a strength training intervention in adult women. Arikawa AY, O’Dougherty M, Schmitz KH. J Phys Act Health. 2011 Jan;8(1):111-8. www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21297191
3. Self-selected resistance training intensity in healthy women: the influence of a personal trainer. Ratamess NA, et al. J Strength Cond Res. 2008 Jan;22(1):103-11. www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18296962