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How to Find the Right Personal Trainer

Jason Yun Jason Yun How to Find the Right Personal Trainer
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Columbus Underground is kicking off 2013 with a week of articles focused on health and wellness, to help you make New Year’s Resolutions that last. We’ve enlisted the help of local fitness experts and enthusiasts to share their expertise.

January 2013 has arrived… a new year! It’s time to start making those New Year’s resolutions. But keeping them is the biggest challenge. You can make all the New Year’s resolutions you want to make, but if you don’t keep them, it makes no difference. You’ll be in the exact place come 2014, and nobody wants that.

The majority of New Year’s Resolutions are either to lose weight or get in shape, which usually goes hand in hand. But what if you have no clue on how to get in shape or how to eat right? Well, that’s what I am going to help you with.

Choosing the right fitness program or personal trainer can be a very daunting task. There are so many choices. So many different styles of training to choose from. Fortunately, there are some major rules that you should follow when choosing a personal trainer or fitness program in the Columbus area, or any area for that matter.

Here is my list of five things you need to look at (or avoid) when choosing your training program:

1. Focusing on weight loss.

Most people are after weight loss. Saying “I want to lose ______ amount of pounds.” is a common goal. But the scale can be your enemy. We want to see healthy weight loss, which means around 2 to 3 pounds per week. Any more then that and you are most likely are losing water and muscle.

A healthy body means a healthy metabolism. With a healthy metabolism and you’ll be a lean, mean fat burning machine. The best way to judge your progress is:

  1. body fat percentage
  2. inches lost
  3. how your clothes fit
  4. how you feel emotionally

Chuck the scale out the window if you can. But if not, weigh yourself no more then once per week. And never right when you wake up.

2. Nutrition

Nutrition is probably the most important factor when it comes changing your body. Don’t get me wrong, the workouts are important too… but most people mess up with nutrition. It’s not your fault though. We’ve been fed lies from food companies for many decades now, but the truth will set you free.

A trainer should provide educational nutrition information. Our clients receive a nutritional eBook, CD, DVD, and five-part email sequence educating about the A-Z’s in nutrition. All information should come from a nutritionally certified professional and registered dietician.

Here is something that might shock you: you need to eat to lose weight and get the body of your dreams. And by eating, I mean eating what your body requires to maintain a fast metabolism.

Low calorie diets (1200 calories or less) will destroy your metabolism and do a lot of other damage to your vital organs. More then likely you will lose a whole lot of weight eating this way, but it will eventually stop and the weight will come back on. And usually it will be more weight then when you started. If a trainer recommends a low calorie diet, walk away.

How much you need to eat is different for everyone. It depends on a number of factors including your current weight, height, gender, activity level and type of job you have. What you need to do is figure out your BMR – Basal Metabolic Rate.

Once you have this, then you know where to start. And you can start planning your nutrition out.

3. Goals

Most New Year’s Resolutions are not goals. They are dreams.

“I want to lose weight”
“I want to quit smoking”
“I want to learn to speak a new language”

The list goes on. How much weight do you want to lose and by when? How are you going to do this? What little steps are you going to take to get there?

Goals are dreams with a deadline.

The way I have my clients set up their goals is to have them establish their goals and set an action plan to get there. Does the trainer you are looking at offer a goal assessment? If not, walk away. If they do, it should be free and should be completed before you start or very shortly after you start training with them.

Otherwise, if you are just training to train, and eating to eat, and have no roadmap for where you want to go — you simply are not going to get there. This is a huge mistake that a lot of trainers make and a lot of people who start working out make.

4. Workouts

Working out is the bread and butter of a fitness program.

The workouts should be hard. Intensity is the number one factor when it comes to whether or not a workout program will produce results. But understand that it should also be scalable. If a trainer has a workout or class where an advanced fitness trainee is involved and also a beginner trainee is involved, there should be progressions and regressions for each person.

If you have an injury and can’t do a certain exercise and you ask the trainer for an alternate, he or she should be able to provide that for you.

Another thing to keep in mind about workouts is avoiding boredom. I can turn into the same exact thing every day or every week. If training becomes boring to you, you are not going to want to do it. You’ll start making excuses and eventually quit altogether.

Jason Yun

5. Cardio

If a trainer has you warm-up on a treadmill or another piece of cardio equipment or jog around the building or room, then you need to find another trainer. If they have you do cardio during the session, you need to find another trainer.

You hired them to train you, and you only have a limited amount of time with them. You need to maximize that time by doing the most effective types of exercise. These include weight training, interval training, complexes and kettlebell training. These types of training have been shown to be the most effective.


In summary, these are five main things to look at in a trainer, but  I could go on with a lot more. Good luck with your search and if you have questions please drop me an email at [email protected].

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