The big day has arrived: after weeks or even months of deliberation, you are standing at the door of a fitness center, ready to begin your journey to getting in shape. Instead of entering, you freeze. Maybe you are intimidated by the gym’s members, all of whom look great in spandex, or perhaps it’s the fancy equipment that you’re not sure how to use.
If so, the solution may be a personal trainer who can introduce you to new techniques and help you to gain confidence. What are some things to watch out for as you search for the right one? We checked in with veterans Dean Patrick Werner II and his wife Saori Werner, the owners of Activated Aesthetics, to get their advice on how to find a personal fitness trainer who is professional, empathetic, and reliable.
Table of Contents
Pay attention to a coach’s certifications and experience, not just their great social media presence.
“First, what a trainer knows matters far more than how incredible their Instagram page is,” says Dean. “True, no business will get far without a big presence on the Internet, but you still want a trainer who values knowledge first and self-promotion second.”
He says that he and Saori waited to open Activated Aesthetics until they had both earned their degrees in Health Science, which gave them a good foundation for their careers as personal trainers.
“Degrees in Exercise Science or Sports Medicine are also great, as are any certifications,” he continues. “A fitness trainer who has taken the time to get advanced knowledge in their field could be more committed to their client’s success than someone who hasn’t.”
Know exactly what your workout goals are and why
Before you start contacting fitness coaches, it’s important to understand what you want to accomplish and why you are so motivated.
“No matter how awesome your trainer may be, there are still going to be plenty of sessions when you have to dig deep down to keep going,” Saori says. “Their job includes inspiring you, of course, but they can’t be your sole motivation. Having a real goal – whether it’s losing 10 pounds, entering a bodybuilding contest, or having more energy – will keep you going. It will also help you to choose the right coach, someone who is on board with what you want to accomplish.”
Don’t be afraid to switch trainers if the vibe isn’t there
Dean suggests giving a new coach a few sessions to see if the chemistry is right. You may be nervous, the coach could be having an off day, or it might just take a couple of meetings for things to click.
“That said, feel free to try a different coach if the two of you aren’t quite compatible,” he says. “At Activated Aesthetics, we believe it’s our responsibility as fitness trainers to make each session fun for our clients and to create a good rapport. In the end, however, we are all people. You should always feel free to work out with another coach if you prefer.”
Watch for red flags and listen to your intuition.
Saori believes that you should never overlook these issues with a fitness coach:
- Consistently arriving late to workouts, even just by a minute
- Not keeping a fitness log
- Failing to connect the previous workout in some way to today’s
- Body shaming
- Not fully demonstrating a new technique
- Being impatient with any questions
- Not respecting the difference between “pain” and “burn.”
- Using the phone while you are working out
- Being distracted, especially during an online coaching session
“Any of those problems are signals that you should run the other way and find a new fitness trainer, one that is more professional and takes you and their job seriously,” she says.
Expect your workouts to be creative.
“Who on Earth wants to spend 30 minutes on the treadmill every session?” Dean asks. “That’s boring and counterproductive, yet there are many coaches out there that will stick you on an exercise bike for a session and call it done. At Activated Aesthetics, we advocate for training that mixes it up every time. That way, more of your muscles are worked out, which can help to prevent injury, and you don’t get the chance to grow bored.”
Look for a personal trainer who incorporates nutrition and healthy eating into your overall fitness plan.
You should expect your exercise coach to make recommendations on how to eat better so that your body becomes stronger and healthier. “At the very least, they should ask you if you would like guidance or suggestions in this area,” Saori thinks. “Nutrition, strength, and health are all connected, so a coach who neglects this is someone to watch out for.”
The takeaway for people who are interested in hiring a personal fitness coach
Saori and Dean both believe that hiring an exercise trainer is an important decision and an investment in your health and future. “Take your time to find the right one,” Dean recommends. “If you have questions about personal training or working out, feel free to give us a call. We love to help people to understand their bodies and health better so that they can achieve their fitness goals.”
Activated Aesthetics was founded by Dean Werner II and Saori Werner, an interracial couple who are brand ambassadors for 1st Phorm as well as veterans of the United States Army Active Service. After earning their BS degrees in Health Science, they opened their fitness center and began guiding active service people, veterans, law enforcement officials, seniors, youth, and the local community to succeed on their fitness journeys. Their programs include weight loss, strength training, fitness motivation, yoga, boot camps, boxing, nutrition, meal plans, and online coaching for couples and individuals.
For more information about Activated Aesthetics, please see its website or follow it on Instagram.