Five Questions to ask before choosing a Coach / Fitness Trainer

Recently, one of the athletes here at CrossFit FerVor in Mansfield was talking about his experience with personal training in the big box setting.  “The first guy they tried to put me with was fatter than me.”  So he requested another trainer.  “I was spending 450 bucks a month and each month I thought this will be the month when I start seeing results.” But it never happened.  So what went wrong?

I believe if anyone is considering using a trainer (CrossFit or otherwise) they should look at a few critical areas:

1) What are their qualifications?  Pretty easy to check and many will have an impressive list of initials they can tag behind their names.  So check this but don’t be too impressed just yet.  Honestly, with a bit a study, a few hundred (to a thousand) extra dollars and a weekend to kill you could have most of these certifications.

2) What do they have at stake for your improvement?  Another way to look at this would be to ask yourself if their goals are aligned with yours?  This is one that is worth looking into but doesn’t have to be a deal breaker.  Sometimes it may be just a reflection of the model they work within.  What do I mean here?  Well, let’s look at some examples.  Most globo models are built on having a ton of clients who pay very little and generally don’t use their memberships.  Some models work on selling big blocks of training sessions, and helping people achieve rapid results works against the trainers income.  You are not guaranteed that you wil be with a specific trainer, just that you will get that many hours. There are a ton of purchased and unused sessions (hard to get refunds) that athletes have just walked away from because they found results at CrossFit FerVor.  Others, like boot camps have nothing beyond their time invested, no equipment, no facility, nothing invested for them to lose if you don’t get results.

3) What are their personal (fitness related) accomplishments and how do THEY train?  It is challenging for the person who has always been fit to relate to a person who is trying to get fit (again or for the first time).  So ask, get to know their story.  Also, ask to see their training log. If your trainer is serious they will logging their training (not just yours).  I would be suspicious of someone who had a plan for me but did something quite different for their own training.  An important point here is their training and your training don’t have to be exactly the same BUT you should see very similar stimuli.  Meaning the trainer may be doing weighted pushups on the olympic rings and having you do hand elevated pushups.  That would be an example of maintining the stimulus but scaling the degree of resistance/difficulty.  Versus they are doing weighted ring pushups and have you on the eliptical machine, a totally different stimulus.

4)  What are the accomplishments of their athletes?  This is the most important question about the trainer or coach.  The best athletes and the best coaches are rarely the same person.  I know from my own experience that this holds pretty true.  I have heard it said that the best coaches were mediocre athletes who had to bust their arse to get results. So should you rule out the fat coach?  Not necessarily, maybe he or she has already changed themselves dramatically.  Maybe they aren’t motivated or capable of being an athlete but have had excellent results in building / developing them?  Granted, this is a tough mental hurdle but consider this…most Coaches cannot out perform their Athletes.  If so, we would have been watching them. Feddy Roach, couldn’t beat Manny Pacqiao boxing on his best day, if his life depended on it.  But his training has helped make Manny a better fighter and Manny was willing to pay handsomely for it. At the elite level, this holds true nearly 100% of the time.  So, it is wise to talk to a some of their current (or past) athletes (aka ‘clients’ in the globo setting) and see what kind of results they have delivered.

OHS & SDHP MelKaceyNatalia

5) A final, but important, consideration if you find the right coach are YOU willing to put in the work?  Will you trust and allow the coach to help you?  Zig Ziglar said “You have to do your own pushups.”  If you aren’t in a mental place to do the work, then save your money.  I have seen whiners turn into winners, so if you are worried about where you are but arestarting from but serious about making a change, it is worth the effort.  In fact, I get my energy to do what I do by seeing the transformation take place in people.  But, it doesn’t matter how much I work for them if they won’t “do their own pushups” then they wont get too far.

If you do the above you will be in a much better position to make an intellegent choice on how to spend your hard earned dollars to achieve the RESULTS you want versus spending them on ACTIVITY that may or may not yield the outcome you seek.

Personally, I struggled with the cost of CrossFit training for some time (although cheap compared to personal training, it seemed like I should be able to do it on my own) and after having spent a ton of time and money and some years of reflection I do not regret what I have invested, my only regret was that I took so long to commit.

If you have any questions or comments, I would love to help you.

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