What Makes a Great Trainer?

As a trainer none of us are perfect, and we certainly can’t all claim to be the best, but there are definitely good trainers and bad trainers.  There are trainers who look at this as a career and are passionate about making a difference in their clients health and lives. Then there are those who just look at this as a job that’s a mean to an end while they pursue their other dreams. There are trainers who have a hundred different certifications, but without the practical experience, what can you really gain from all those papers? They don’t give you the passion and the gift or the natural talent. It’s like a surgeon.  Just because you’ve gone through school and you know the technical way a knife should be inserted, doesn’t mean you’re going to be good at it. As a trainer if you don’t work out yourself, if you don’t run and bike and lift and do all the things that you make your clients do, how can you really know what it feels like and what the benefits will be?

But at the same time you have to be able to recognize who your clients are.

This weekend I went out mountain biking for the first time ever. I was with a group led by a trainer who had done a lot of mountain biking, and had no concept of the fact that the rest of us might not be at the same level. Three of us in the group had never been on a mountain bike before and here we are faced with huge rocks and pebbles everywhere, sand and hills on precarious paths that if we went the wrong way could have possibly gotten us severely injured. Not to mention the simple factor of the fear involved in doing something you’ve never done before. There were points I just wanted to stop and go back and this trainer had no idea because it was all about him and his workout.

Another example is when I was in LA recently and I went to Equinox to work out. There was trainer working out with this young girl who was overweight, not well dressed, and in here she was in West Hollywood with a hot trainer who had a great body and sexy little leggings and this poor girl must have felt really out of place. And here was her trainer sitting on a plyo box giving this poor girl the most ridiculous exercises. If this trainer had any idea of what her client might have been feeling she could have taken her to a quieter room with weights instead of subjecting her to working out in front of everyone. And in terms of exercises, she could have easily had get doing something a little simpler that would have gotten her strong and more confidant.

In life we are often forced to be in places that make us uncomfortable like I was on that bike ride, and the client that was being forced to workout out in front of all the beautiful people at Equinox . Sometimes it’s ok to say that this is just not necessary.  If something makes you uncomfortable, don’t do it.

At least I can say now by having that experience that I was reminded about how my clients must feel when I am in the mood to push them so hard they feel like they might collapse. I am reminded that it’s not about me. It’s about them and what they can do and how they feel about it.