Beth’s Top 8 answers to “How do I choose a coach/trainer?”
Let’s just start with this. I own a Kettlebell club. I think training with kettlebells is awesome. Unless you don’t like training with kettlebells. In that case, let’s find something else that works for you. That is awesome!
Guess what? There IS no perfect tool, workout, methodology to get you fit.
If you need a black and white / right or wrong world, that may sound scary, but I think it means – ‘find something you like that doesn’t absolutely trash your body and practice that until you feel like trying something else’. Motivation is key and if you try to “like” someone’s perfect workout, ‘cause you heard it’s good for you….well, that’s not very motivating.
I’ve recently shared a couple articles on the www.facebook.com/centeredfit page about men vs women and training, as well as the “Perfect” workout – aka HIIT vs steady state cardio. I think it’s empowering to stay informed. I remember thinking that if I wasn’t doing HIIT, I was doing it wrong. Somehow I was a subpar ‘workerouter’ 😉 Not so, people. Not so.
Which brings me to share with you the incredible (not in a good way) interaction I had a Kettlebell trainer I follow on Instagram.
He’s newish, I feel like he is trying to build his business, I am empathetic, so I like his posts from my private account (ugh, yes, I have several). I’ve noticed he’s doing a promotion that you can join from anywhere in the world! I love that! It’s so inclusive.
This morning I received a private message from him saying “Hey! I want you to be a part of this!” with screenshot of promo: “X swings per day for 30 days”. That’s a cool challenge.
But I respond:
“Thanks but I’m recovering from a couple emergency lumbar surgeries. (THIS is where he should start preparing to say “cool, good luck” while slowly backing away) I just started swinging with my class. No more than 5 one armed swings at a time. I will not commit to x number of swings per day. That is just not feasible at this point ….”
We converse. I go on to explain how I am rehabbing with 1- 2 swings at a time…blah blah blah. Explaining that the hip hinge gives me lots of problems still. (My neurosurgeon would be happy if I NEVER deadlifted or did swings again in my life – but he’s not a fitness person and signed off on my workouts confident that I am careful – slow and steady)
Here is where it got weird.
“That’s why I think this challenge would be good for you. (Did he go to a ‘How to turn an objection into a YES!” seminar??) ‘We both know a swing done correctly heals while it repairs… Done smartly as my template dictates it would be most beneficial….”
What?!! Did he just hear me explain my process, my problem and then assume that I have “clean form” so I should just do it?! Has he never seen Jillian Michaels swing a bell? Holy crap, you can do some whacky shit with a bell!
He is still very kind and respectful but ends with a ‘We will just have to agree to disagree’ and now I’m PISSED!
Scope of practice is a BIG deal. Form (clean movement as he calls it) is huge and training is super important. But to suggest to someone you have never screened, never seen move, who has had recent lumbar surgery and you cannot oversee is clearly not the mark of a great coach. He tries to tell me this program isn’t for just anybody, yet he has magically made the assumption that I am a candidate without ever seeing me move.
Here is what REALLY bothers me. It could have been you. You could have been assured into ‘this is THE BEST thing to cure your…” bullshit rhetoric. There are tons of ways to rehabilitate, to get stronger and fitter. Don’t believe anyone that says you only need one tool (you kinda don’t need any) or modality. Not even kettlebells.
We parted with mutual respect – a little lessened on my part.
But I am still so upset because this is what YOU are struggling with. Frustration with not getting better, stronger, faster, slimmer… and having to sort through all the “MY WORKOUT WILL FIX YOUR [whatever it is] in [X#] DAYS!” crap readily available at your local gym or online.
How do you know if they are telling the truth? How do you know if they know what they are talking about? How do you know you are in good hands?
Beth’s Top 8 answers to “How do I choose a coach/trainer?”
- If they tell you there is only ONE way. Run – the other way.
- Attend trial classes: Does the instructor encourage people to take things at their own pace, listening to their own body THAT DAY? Or is it “GO GO GO!”? Motivating perhaps, but at what risk?
- Meet with the trainer: Do they ask lots of questions about your movement/health history? Do they listen and ask follow up questions?
- Certifications: Certified trainers can FAIL at 1,2,3 – but you do want to see they are trained/certified and they attend continuing education.
- How many people per trainer are there in your class? I used to measure success by “I had 30 people in my class last night! I must be awesome!” (I am awesome, but I don’t like that scenario any more.) Why? Because I can’t see you, new-person-in-the-back-row, to help you move correctly and stay injury free. I can cue the best movements EVER, but if I can’t address YOUR issues – it doesn’t mean much to you, does it?
- Is their whole focus on heart rate monitors (HRM) and ‘Burning it up!”. Or LIFT HEAVY, that’s all you need. There are ALL SORTS of athletes that never train that way who maintain strong, lean bodies. HRM can be helpful, but if everything is based on your heart rate or how heavy you lift, you are missing a lot of really important factors to moving/weightloss/gaining strength.
- Do they assure you that if you just sweat enough, you will drop the weight? Is their approach “Eat less. Move more.” without questioning you about a nutritionist, stress in your life, your eating habits, etc… Losing weight is not the only success factor in weight loss. More important is creating healthy sustainable lifestyle habits while not creating more long term problems by myopic focus on one ‘easy’ fix.
- Are you going to be doing something you hope will be fun/ enjoyable? I mean aside from “eating-cake-and-drinking-whiskey” kind of fun/enjoyable. 😉
I’m going to leave it at 8. Thanks for listening. Stay moving. It’s so good for you.
Do what you love, if you can.
If you can’t, then do what you like.
If you can’t, then do what you can and find joy in your ability to do something at all!