The Beginner’s Guide to Working With Your Personal Trainer

The new year is here! You have a personal trainer, and are ready to go! Maximize your training and diet results with these 8 tips from natural figure competitor Kassandre Harper-Cotton.

The New Year is upon you. You have decided to abandon last year’s promise to ‘get in shape’ and just ‘enjoy the holidays’ until January 1, 2010. This date holds the promise of a new life, new goals, and a new start. You are eager and are going to enlist the help of a personal trainer to transform your body.

You can see it, clearly. This will be the year that you don that bikini revealing perfectly sculpted shoulders and a beautifully muscled back, that narrow to a tight midsection and seductively curves out to drum-tight glutes and thighs. Or you will finally walk around shirtless and shameless seducing all you meet with your defined delts and full pecs. The sun’s rays shine on your peaked biceps, and you let your beach shorts hang just a bit lower than usual to reveal perfect obliques.

This is the vision. This is the year that it is going to happen! You have done your research, and are now armed with a personal trainer who you are confident is going to help you reach your goals. You are ready to change your life.

Now, we are going to pump the proverbial brakes and talk about your responsibilities as a client. I am not writing this article as a trainer, but as a fitness enthusiast, figure competitor who takes my relationship with my trainer and coach very seriously. There are many variables to consider when looking for, and working with a trainer. Everyone has their personal list of non-negotiable qualifications: credentials, years in business, client success, the trainer’s personal appearance, philosophy, personality, chemistry, creativity, education, personal experience, etc. Some could care less if their trainer is barking orders or poking them with a stick as long as progress is being made.

Let us assume that you have found the trainer for you. Here are some tips to increase your chance of success in your new partnership.

1. Be Committed.

Embarking on a journey towards one’s physical goals is not just an emotional journey. When you sign on with a trainer, be prepared to give 100% of your effort. You are making an investment in your health. You are paying for a service and this person’s expertise.

2. Be Honest.

Going to a trainer is almost like going to your physician. They cannot not help you and provide the full range of their expertise if you are lying about: injuries, the frequency of your training, how you ate throughout the week, and the amount of sleep you are getting. A good trainer knows when you are not progressing as you should or could. They are not there to judge; they are there to coach.

3. Be Courteous.

Be on time for your sessions. Your session should be able to begin at your agreed upon time. You should not be parking your car, coming through the door, or getting dressed. And if you need to cancel, be sure to give your trainer advanced notice.

Personal Trainer

4. Be Realistic.

If you have abused your body for years you cannot expect your trainer to ‘fix it’ in 12 weeks. Remember that changing your body is a process, not an event. And, refer to #2. If you are not following the plan laid out for you, you are only hindering your progress.

5. Be Courageous.

Your trainer is there to push you past your own expectations and help you reach your goals. The introduction of a new move or concept is not to embarrass you, but to help you help you attain new levels of fitness.

6. Be Positive.

The mind is a powerful thing. Go into your sessions with an open mind and ready to challenge yourself. When you are energized your trainer is, too!

7. Be Intense.

There is something about being under the watchful eye of a professional. You train harder and with more intensity. Try to keep this intensity and focus even when your trainer is not there. You would not hold an engaging conversation with another gym-goers when working with your trainer. Treat your gym time with the same seriousness.

8. Be Smart.

Sometimes your trainer will introduce you to weight loads and/or exercises that are best practiced with under their watchful eye. Be smart and avoid injuries. Do not try to be a superhero. There may be instances when you need to lower your weight when you are alone to ensure that you use good form. Taking notes as you are training is also a great way to remember tips and feedback that can be used when you are not with your trainer.

Now, prepare to optimize your training time and results with your new partner in fitness!