Personal Trainers that Rock!

Now that I have finished my week long rant on Trainers that Suck, I have decided to end the week on a positive note.  Below are some of the signs that your trainer rocks!

But before I get to the feel good stuff, one Trainers that Suck parting shot is required…


One can almost hear the 70’s porn music being cued.

The Creepy Patented Moves Trainer.   Yes, movies and soap operas have featured this guy.  Yes, they really exist (stereotypes exist for a reason.)  No, this is not a very good representation of reality.

OK…on to the good stuff!


Your trainer is an educated and experienced professional (and acts like one!)  Trainers holding a college degree in an Exercise or Nutrition related science, or trainers with degrees in other fields having ample experience in fitness have demonstrated a degree of commitment that further separate them from the pack.

Non-degree holding, but highly dedicated trainers might have practical experience that far outweighs their degree holding counterparts.

Trainers of either ilk holding the more expensive and difficult to obtain credentials may, or may not be a better trainer than those with cheaper and easier credentials, but have demonstrated greater financial commitment and put in far more work to obtain their credentials.

Education and experience aside, if the trainer acts like a jacka$$ then they belong in the Trainers that suck blog series.


This cute Pug managed to become a “certified personal trainer” through an online fly-by-night company.

 Your trainer has reputable credentials.  Aside from, or in addition to their formal education, your trainer holds one or more credential from the following major accredited organizations within the United States:  American Council on Exercise (ACE), American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM), National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM) or the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA.)  Furthermore, your trainer is up to date on their CPR/AED and First Aid certifications.


A technically perfect squat.

Your trainer can explain things functionally, athletically, scientifically or in lay terms.  It has been my experience that clients like to know why they are doing what they are doing.  Just because the client is not asking questions does not prevent you from providing a little background information to them.  They might be embarrassed to ask.


Your trainer actually cares about your results.  The first session with your trainer may not be an actual training session.  It is preferable that your first session be an assessment of your health history, goals and current measurements.  Assessments can also include, but are not limited to:

– Movement Screens / Postural Assessment

– Strength/Cardio/Flexibility tests

– Joint ROM reading

– Pharmocology Review

– Current Diet review

– Lifestyle Q&A

– Past training history (if applicable)

– Sport Needs (Sport specific clients)


I wasn’t sure if it was me or my 7 for all Mankind jeans that made my pelvis look anteriorly rotated.

 In my current practice, my clients’ first assessment takes approximately an hour depending on complexity.  This is followed by several hours of research prior to developing the case file and three and six month training programs.

Depending on your unique needs, your trainer tracks your performance gains/ physical improvements accordingly.  In general, weight/girth should be checked at least monthly and performance improvements being noted per workout unless you are on a lengthy rehab program.


Maybe not elevator music, but certainly not 70’s porn music either.

Your trainer gets to know YOUNot only is this a BIG PART of the initial assessment, it is something that naturally occurs during your training time together.  Your trainer need not be your best pal.  Matter of fact some trainers prefer to keep things cordial but professional, while others treat you as a family member they can lovingly dispense burpees and thrusters to.


Your trainer holds safety as the top priority.  In my opinion this is non-negotiable.  Trainers:  Although it lacks the sexiness of winning a bodybuilding title, the prestige of a college degree or the bragging rights of holding particularly difficult certifications, being known as the trainer with common sense and a sense of caution when needed is a good thing that $ can’t buy (but can rent for 30-50min sessions.)  Honestly, would you want to be known as the trainer that gets people hurt? 


Your trainer will call you out on your BS.  Clients:  Even the lesser attentive trainers know you are eating more / working out less than you tell us.   Trainers: You are in the unique position of being the hired help that actually is in charge of your boss.  The third and fourth rules of leadership: (3) Enforce the Rules. (4) Play the Part.


Batman knows what to do with a shake weight,

Your trainer is effective, and sticks to things that work.  Your trainer does not hop on every bandwagon; they do not necessarily follow the pack and they are able to apply their training philosophies in varying degrees to their clientele, regardless of diversity.  They achieve results in clients with differing needs by tailoring their training system to meet the clients’ needs.  Furthermore, your trainer continually educates themselves and seeks to improve their skill set.


Your trainer rocks if they are consistent, professional,dependable and certified.  They need not be Swiss, super expensive or flashy.

Your trainer is consistent, professional and dependable.  This is non-negotiable.


Your trainer isn’t a one-trick pony. (Unless you hired a one-trick pony on purpose) The ideal trainer holds a variety of skill sets, although they may prefer to specialize in 1-2 of them.  If the trainers’ specialization(s) are in line with your goals then you stand a fine chance of success.  I do not recommend a trainer seek to become a “Jack of all trades.”  I suggest that after establishing a solid foundation (education and experience) the trainer find their passion within this diverse field and pursue it with all effort.   It is entirely reasonable that trainers’ interests will change over the years, or even according to client base and this is perfectly normal.



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