How to pick the right personal trainer for the High Country
May 1, 2017
If you're lucky enough to live in the High Country, then you're equally as lucky to be surrounded by some of the top health and medical professionals in the country. Around every corner there are top-notch physical therapists, orthopedic surgeons and medical doctors. These people have all earned the respect they deserve through years of schooling, dedication to their practice and excellent results.
In regard to fitness professionals, there are great ones as well. How do you know who to work with, though? Should you go to your local gym and seek the first trainer you see? What about certifications and experience?
Below I have compiled a short list of qualities you should seek in a trainer or coach. Obviously, you will have personal preferences, but the following should be nonnegotiable.
Start at the top
Often you must work on your weaknesses and spend time doing things you might not enjoy. A quality trainer will program what you need, not what you want.
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Before embarking on a journey with any trainer, the first things they should do are review your medical history, talk about your goals and perform a comprehensive movement screen. If you shake hands and they want to hit the ground running, then you're better off to keep running. Seriously — that is asking for an injury.
The trainer should also identify any dysfunctions or asymmetries in your movement patterns, as well as refer out to medical professionals if you have pain. It requires some extra time, but it's important to lay the ground work for a safe and effective training program.
It may seem obvious, but a trainer who does not track your results is a trainer who does not care. If they don't keep records of where you started, then how do they know how far you've come? Even worse, what if something isn't working? You would never know. If your results are recorded, then the appropriate adjustments and progressions can be made for further success.
This is the most important quality you should seek in your trainer. Often you must work on your weaknesses and spend time doing things you might not enjoy. A quality trainer will program what you need, not what you want. Everything is connected: If you can't touch your toes, then you probably shouldn't be doing conventional squats. It's important to fix a problem before moving on. Trainers must prioritize safety above all else. "Do no harm" is the number one oath.
Of course, numerous other qualities make a quality fitness professional, but the short list above provides a simple checklist. Do not compromise your health and fitness with poor training. Somebody who trains you should care as much about your success and well-being as you do. Otherwise, they aren't the right choice for you. If you already have a trainer and they meet all the above criteria, then hold onto them and say "thanks" because they're doing things right.
Jimmy Pritchard has a B.S. from Colorado Mesa University and is a certified strength and conditioning specialist through the National Strength and Conditioning Association. He is a personal trainer at the Sonnenalp Club and is a fitness professional at ryanrichards.com. Pritchard's passion is to help others meet, and often exceed their goals in all areas of fitness. Contact him at 970-401-0720.
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