Looking for a trainer is not easy. You are shopping for someone who will give you results. You also have to keep in mind that this will be the start of a new relationship. Most will spend more time with their trainer than they would with their spouses so choose wisely.
You can find the new/beginner trainer. They usually work on shifts and be the familiar face in the gym for the newbies and old members.
Most of us started there. I think it is the necessary evil in the fitness industry. At that moment, they get to meet all kinds of people and, unbeknownst to them, it will be one of the best learning experience. Designing programs, with these three simple questions; “Have you ever trained before?”, “Do you have any medical conditions I should be aware of?” and “What are your main goals?”. Although it seems a simple way to go, with little or no experience, the investment might not be the greatest and it is understandable but will lead you somewhere that’s for sure.
Then we have the expert.
The expert is one who found his niche, or his calling. The one who found his vocation is the one who is comfortable with working with a given population type. The experts have never ending thirst for knowledge or anything that will help them better their skills. To become an expert, you don’t have to have a lot of letters besides your name. Don’t get me wrong, it helps, but I also know a few experts that never even lifted any heavy shit in their lives and still proclaim to be experts in strength training. They have results, and they can prove it. They might also be on the higher side of your investment budget.
Don’t be afraid to ask a few questions. What are the qualifications, results with clients and how fast but the real question is, what can they do for you?
Set realistic goals
To set realistic goals, it requires you to know where you are at. Like any good GPS, you need to enter the destination and also where you are starting from, or else, the GPS won’t work.
Once you know exactly where you are at, it will be easier to fix realistic goals. The number one reason why people quit after only a few weeks is that they are 1. Delusional about how fast they want to lose 2. They want to lose it without any great effort and investment. Aim at losing a given amount of fat instead of losing weight for the sake of the number on the scale. Choose to gain 5 pounds of lean muscle mass instead of just trying to lift weights for a few weeks only to stop because you are getting bored.
Acknowledge your past
A lot of people, as well as trainer, fail to look at what the client went through in the past, as in diets, training, health issues and medical history. These simple facts will obviously be part of the process in eliminating possible roadblocks that will probably happen sooner than later. Insulin resistance may run in the family, because no one runs in the family (pun intended) so you might discover some clues on what and how you need to approach your new lifestyle.
Ask for the evaluation
I would strongly suggest that you hire a trainer that uses a thorough process to evaluate your needs. The minimum they should do is some type of muscle testing/screening to evaluate strength discrepancies and body composition analysis such as your bodyfat.
Ask for the plan
Where are we going from here? How much time do you allow yourself per week? How much time do you give yourself to achieve your goal? You don’t need to know the whole process, but at least, by knowing some of their thinking process, you may be able to understand how it works. Being interested in what you are doing is always a good thing, especially when it is health related, specifically your health.
One thing though I might suggest, and this has nothing to do with your past, present or future trainer…
Amazing things can happen without goals. No management required, you just train for the fun of it, mind you that's how I started, as most of you, not only because you wanted to lose fat or gain mass. When I started, I just wanted to train, pick up heavy stuff, be stronger, without any specific goals. Its fine to know where you want to go, but you lose touch of why you should be doing it in the first place. You’re less stressed without goals, and you’re freer to choose paths you couldn’t have foreseen without them.
By having goals, we lose touch of where we are at the moment, our surroundings. Let go of all that, and just focus on what you’re doing, right at this moment.
Once "free of goals", look again at where you want to go, your goals, you will suddenly see a clearer, more defined path.
Along the way you will make mistakes, just don't repeat them.