Choosing the right Denver Personal Training Program can sometimes seem like a crap shoot.
I was messing around on youtube the other day and came across this video. Pretty entertaining but it got me thinking about a very serious problem with a great number of Denver Personal Training Programs.
Most of the time, I work out at a gym (other my Denver Personal Training gym), at the park, or in my own home. Either way, I love my options. Yet because of where I train, and when, I sometimes forget what it’s like for exercisers who aren’t, well, me.
You see, I have two lifetime memberships to a couple of gyms that I pay less than $50 a year for so that occasionally I can venture in to use various amenities such as the hot tub, or sauna or to swim. I won’t say exactly which gyms because I feel these gyms both degrade and exploit their employees and members in the name of profit and I think they do a good enough job of making themselves look bad, so they dont need my help..
The other day I found myself on my way out and just from the basketball court to the front door I saw three trainer that worked for one of these Denver personal training gyms that were either putting their clients in harm’s way, or they simply were not working their clients out and instead were having a gossip hour.
So, I wandered over to the “Trainers Board” to check these trainers out and then went over to the step mill and watched the last 45 minutes of two trainers’ sessions.
Denver Personal Training Programs: Some Good, Some Bad
Don’t get me wrong. I’ve met tons of amazing trainers and seen a great number of quality Denver personal training programs over the years. In fact, a few of those trainers have actually worked for me. However, I’ve also met some that aren’t qualified to shovel the sidewalk in front of the gym, let alone charge $50-$100 an hour to “help” people get in shape. And unfortunately, a great Denver personal training program with highly qualified trainers is the exception rather than the rule in my industry. And it’s the people who need help who ultimately pay the price.
So, in today’s post, I’d like to share with you 9 strategies for telling the difference between a great Denver personal training program and a trainer that shouldn’t even be washing your gym towels.
The best Denver personal training programs perform thorough and complete assessments when working with a new client.
On the training front, that means doing movement screening like an overhead squat assessment and maybe even basic performance tests. And on the nutrition front, that means looking at the client’s current intake and assessing a host of lifestyle variables, including: schedule, primary complaints/discomforts, current level of social support, willingness to change, and more.
But is that how most trainers do things? Hell no! Many if not most Denver personal training programs perform no assessments! And if any are performed at all, they’re usually done in the “free consultation” that comes with your gym membership in order to embarrass a client into purchasing personal training. That’s a huge mistake. Good assessments are the only way to gain real knowledge of a client and make the critical coaching decisions. Without these your chances of seeing any real and significant results are akin to sprinting across I-25 during rush hour and not becoming road pizza.
If you’re not put through a thorough battery of assessments (cardio vascualar, body fat, circumference meansuments, movement assessments, goal assessments, dietary anlysis, etc…) in your first couple of sessions, RUN!!
#2: They Can’t Demonstrate Previous Successes
A great Denver personal training program isn’t cheap. In fact, meeting with a trainer 3-4x per week for 6 months can cost you a nice chunk of change. So, what are you getting for your money? Well, if a trainer can’t demonstrate his or her previous successes, you have no idea. None at all. The best Denver personal training programs keep statistics of their clients. They log how their clients’ bodies are changing and over what time period. They record performance and lifestyle changes. They keep photo albums with before and after photos. And they can point to compelling written and or video testimonials from previous clients about their services. They can probably even introduce you to a few, so you can talk to them directly about the experience. If your Denver personal training program has nothing, no photos, no testimonials, no data. If your trainer can’t show you compelling evidence that they’ve helped people like you get the results you want, you can (in most cases) safely assume that it’s because they’ve never actually done it before.
Now before I move on, I am not saying you should not work with one of these Denver personal training programs. After all, a trainer has to get a couple of clients before they can obtain these. But if you hire a trainer who cant show you these important things or is very new with little experience, you should NOT be paying a premium (more than $20 or $25/session) for their services in my opinion.
#3: They Don’t Have Multiple Certifications
Most personal trainers (probably around %80) in the world today have nothing more than a high school diploma and a personal training certificate they got at a weekend personal training seminar. So if you have exercise and performance related goals, are these the types of folks you want to throw your money at? Not me.
If it were me, I’d look for someone with multiple certifications. Someone who has clearly made it a priority to seek life-long education. Someone who’s gone out and sought a diverse knowledge profile, learning about training methodologies, body composition, nutrition, supplementation, and more. The best trainers go out and do this. They’re life-long learners. They spend 5 or more hours per week reading top-shelf training and nutrition information and research from the best in the field.
The worst Denver personal training programs hire trainers with little qualifications and give them their weekend certification. They waste their time reading muscle magazines. And they end up not even knowing how much they don’t know. Make sure your trainer has two or more of the following certifications. NASM, ACE, NSCA, ACSM, or ISSA. In addition to these, they should have additional specialized certifications and many continuing education credits under their list of qualifications.
Just like realtors who’ve never owned a home and financial planners who are broke, out-of-shape trainers piss me off. Now, let me clarify. You don’t have to look like a fitness model to be fit and healthy. So that’s not the standard here. However, if a trainer doesn’t have more muscle, less fat, and a better health profile than the average person, why would you listen to any advice on building muscle, losing fat, and getting healthier from them? It’s a no brainer. If a trainer or isn’t healthy and fit — and doesn’t practice the behaviors necessary to remain that way — they shouldn’t be your trainer. A Denver personal training program that hires one of these trainers is very suspect as well!
#5: They Don’t Know The Difference Between an Outcome and a Behavior
“I need to lose 10 lbs,” that’s an outcome goal. “I need to exercise 5 times per week,” that’s a behavior goal. Trainers who don’t know the difference between the two should be fired immediately. You see, focusing on outcomes, that’s the job of the trainer. Their program needs to be built in such a way that the outcome is an inevitable consequence.
However, focusing on behaviors, that’s the client’s job. Therefore any trainer worth a damn knows that to achieve success, their clients must be motivated to accomplish successful behaviors, not for specific outcomes. Followed this week’s habits 90% of the time and didn’t miss any workouts? GREAT JOB!!!! — regardless of the outcome — because it’s this pattern of behavior that’ll eventually lead to success, no matter what.
If your Denver personal training program is only focused on what you do while you are with them, there is a problem.
#6: They Don’t Have A 3-Month Plan From The Start
After all the assessments are complete, the best Denver personal training programs will already have, at least a 3-month plan based on their client’s level, needs and goals. When I walk around commercial gyms, it seems like a cruel joke (and the joke is on their clients) that most trainers are making up workouts as they go along with no regard for their clients goals.
There’s no plan. There’s no “big picture.” They’re making stuff up as they go. What a waste of everyone’s time and the client’s money. I mean, seriously, where else in life do we find noteworthy success coming as a result of no planning, no forethought, and such obvious lack of care?
There are basically three types of coaches. First, there are the coaches who are simply terrible, who can’t get great results with any of their clients. Of course, there are plenty of these out there. But if you’ve got your head up, these are easy to spot. Next, there are the coaches who are great, who can get great results with all of their clients no matter who they are or where they’re coming from. Of course, these are few and far between. And you need to do your research to find one. And finally, there are the in-between coaches, those who seem to get great results with some clients but can only help a small percentage of those that actually come to see them.
The goal of every Denver personal training program should be to learn the techniques and strategies necessary to help EVERY type of client that comes to see them. That’s the hallmark of the great ones.
#8: They Don’t Integrate Training and Nutrition
In order to change your body, there is something you need to know. And you will likely never learn it at a commercial gym.
Exercise, alone, doesn’t work and neither does dieting. Sound nutritional habits integrated with quality and efficient exercise is the only way achieve quality lasting results.
Time and time again, the research has demonstrated that without a dietary intervention, even performing 5-6 hours of well-designed exercise programming each week leads to surprisingly little body composition change. So you can bet that the best Denver personal training programs offer an integrated nutrition solutions as part of their programming. They schedule private nutrition sessions. They assess your nutritional intake and compliance regularly. They can show you around the grocery store. And more. I have even gone to clients houses to do kitchen makeovers and simple cooking lessons. The worst trainers? They either leave you to figure it out on your own. Or they offer useless nutritional sound bytes they pulled out of Men’s Health Magazine.
Let’s be honest here. If your trainer or nutritionist doesn’t do most of the activities I’ve listed above, regardless of whether or not they say they care, they simply don’t. They don’t care about being good at their job. They don’t care about helping you achieve your goals. They just don’t care. And that’s the worst part of this all, isn’t it? People are throwing thousands of dollars a month at people who just don’t give a damn. It’s a shame. But it’s not necessary. Armed with a little knowledge, informed people can choose wisely if a trainer is in their future.
I hope you found these tips useful. If you are searching for a Denver personal training program and I am not in your area, give me a call. I would be happy to help you find a qualified trainer in your area to get you started in the right direction.
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