Welcome aboard the exhilarating quest to find that one-of-a-kind trainer who’ll be your fitness soulmate. I’m Leigha Verbeem, a fired-up kinesiologist and trainer, and I can’t wait to unravel the secrets of what sets an extraordinary trainer apart from the crowd. Oh, believe me, I’ve been in your shoes, searching for that perfect match—the guru who doesn’t just get your body but vibes with your dreams and ambitions too!
Hold tight, because I’m not just about flashy credentials (though I’ve got plenty!)—I’m all about that soulful connection. I’ve learned that while qualifications matter, there’s so much more to it. We need a trainer who connects with us on a deeper level, someone who cheers us on when we soar and holds our hand when we stumble. In this blog, I’m about to spill the beans on the magical ingredients that create a match made in fitness heaven. Buckle up, because together, we’re going to discover that exceptional trainer who’ll turn your goals into reality, one stride at a time.
I once had a trainer approach me, who was newly certified and looking for clients. She was SO mad at me when I turned down her offer. At the time, I was looking for additional help. (Side note: even though I’m a trainer, I find having external help helps keep my mind fresh and offers consistently different perspectives! plus… I spend all day programming, I don’t always want to do my own, too. Just like a cleaner doesn’t want to clean their own house or the chef doesn’t always want to cook their own meals, or the teacher doesn’t want to tutor their own family.)
Here is why I didn’t hire her:
- She was a new trainer and needed to learn how to work with the general population, first. I was looking for a more advanced trainer, someone who knows more than I do and is more experienced than me. Someone I can learn from. But in this scenario, I felt like I’d end up being the teacher and that wasn’t the relationship I was looking for.
- Our interests were different. She was a cheerleader, her training style was for aesthetics, and she was very into partying. I was typically a quieter person and enjoyed training alone. Although I did care about how I looked, that wasn’t my main goal at the time. I have maybe one drink a month, if that. Our lifestyles were vastly different, and I wanted to work with someone who understood mine. Our personalities just didn’t mesh.
- Our values didn’t match. While this goes along with the idea of our interests when it comes to training, it also goes to a deeper level. I had heard about this girl and drama that was carried with her. We all have shit going on, and that’s fine, but for me being a random gym member who still knew about her drunk antics wasn’t a good look to me. I try to keep my private life private and take professionalism seriously, and want to work with people who do the same.
And guess what? That is okay.
There are going to be trainers out there who are a good fit for you, and there are going to be trainers who are not. Just like there are clients who are a good fit for some, and clients who are not. I think people forget that this is a reciprocal relationship. For the training relationship to work, both people have to meet each other half way, both have to develop a close bond, and both have to communicate well. You can be fired as a client, just like you can fire your trainer.
So what should you look for when hiring a trainer?
- Credentials. Now, I wouldn’t emphasize this one too largely. Just because someone has a specific degree, or a certain credential, does not make them good at their job. And vice versa, just because they have a focus in one thing doesn’t mean they can’t cater to other ways of training (i.e. a trainer might specialize in pre/post partum, but doesn’t mean they aren’t a great trainer for a woman who is 55+ years old). That being said, if you have osteoporosis or other special needs, you’re better off finding a trainer who has a specialization in this field and won’t put you at risk of injury.
- Personality. Do you guys match? Do you have fun together?
- Communication skills. Does this person understand your needs, wants, goals? Can you communicate this to them clearly and do they properly communicate back to you?
- Values. Are they listening to your goals, or are they trying to persuade you to do something you didn’t ask for? This one you need to be careful with, as a client. A trainer will try to offer suggestions of things that you should try or might like, and that is completely okay. But it is not okay when you tell a trainer that you want to lose weight, and they try to convince you do body building and take steroids (unless of course, that is your interest)
- Interests. This applies to both interests in and outside of the gym. It’s good to get along, and have things to talk about. It’s better when they understand your interests in the gym and what motivates you.
- Their personal story. A lot of times, people hire trainers on physique. Or you might see someone saying “don’t hire a fat trainer”. But if you don’t know their story, you don’t get to judge. Maybe that “fat trainer” has already lost 150 lbs. I’d rather hire a trainer who has experience in losing weight as opposed to someone who has been lean their entire lives and can eat whatever they want.
As we conclude our exploration of finding the perfect trainer through the lens of a kinesiologist, remember that your fitness journey deserves a dedicated guide who understands your goals. With qualifications and empathy in mind, we’ve uncovered the traits that elevate a good trainer-client relationship to an exceptional one.
But our journey doesn’t end here. To receive more expert tips and ongoing support, join my newsletter. Let’s continue this conversation, share successes, and work together towards your fitness aspirations.
Stay motivated and empowered on your path to success.
Kinesiologist | Women’s Health Coach
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