I’ve been a personal trainer for five and a half years and take great pride in what I do. It’s the best feeling in the world to see someone completely change their life through health and fitness. However, I have a confession to make; I only recently understood the true and full value of a great coach.
Like my clients past and present, I hit a serious plateau 7-months ago. To make matters worse, I was starting to lose my passion for my own training as a result. I was simply ramming my head into a brick wall and getting nowhere. It would have been easy to just say “I’m maintaining what I’ve built” but that would have been such a pathetic excuse. The truth is, I was sliding backwards due to lack of interest.
During one of my first days at the new gym after the move to Boston, I saw a Trainer performing movements that I was completely unfamiliar with. After seeing him coach clients, I knew it would be a great fit (he also has a tattoo of Captain America’s shield on his shoulder so that probably helped too). I saw how fluidly he moved with kettlebells and wanted to learn how to do the same.
Other than swings (I very quickly realized I’d been doing those wrong too), I had very little experience with a kettlebell so I was very excited to learn. Sessions with Sean are awesome because while I learn how to perform the movements, I get a hell of a workout! As a fellow Trainer, the real perk for me is being able to add more movements to my toolbox for my own clients. I can honestly and humbly say I’m a much better Trainer after working with Sean the last seven months.
In addition to learning the kettlebell movements, I’ve achieved the following in 7-months:
- Dropped 1-inch off my waist.
- Wrist pain has completely gone away.
- I deadlifted 405 in competition and my back has NEVER FELT BETTER.
- After almost leaving the fitness industry entirely, I’ve regained focus and have new goals that I’m excited about.
- I enjoy every session in the gym, knowing I’m moving towards my goals and not just “working out.” Training is fun again and not monotonous.
It has truly been a transformative experience for me and I now fully appreciate it. Below are the reasons I believe EVERYONE needs a Trainer.
- Programming: Plain and simple, why are you in the gym? If you’re there to shoot hoops, lift a few weights and hang out, this is not for you. However, if you have goals but no program then you’ll never get where you want. As tough as this is to hear, you can’t do this alone or you would have already. In addition, a great trainer will put together a great program to challenge you but only enough that’s needed to achieve your goals. The focus isn’t simply to make you sore and tired.
- Accountability: We all need a kick in the ass from time to time. It’s easy to make excuses for not coming in such as “I’ll start first thing tomorrow” or “I’m tired, I should probably rest.” Find a coach that asks the tough questions and holds you accountable to the plan they created for you. This is the most important reason you hired them in the first place, because you needed help.
- The push: Be honest, here. When you go to the gym, what do you work on? Most people simply do workouts that they enjoy because they are fun. While training should be fun and keep you interested, it should also be challenging with the point to improve you and work towards your goals. A great coach will make sure the sessions are fun, but also program exercises that will help you get better.
- Feedback: This is critical when it comes to assessing movement quality and technique. I don’t care how kinesthetically aware you are, nothing beats having a pair of eyes to assess your movement from the outside. At my gym, all of the trainers are constantly asking for this feedback from each other as it helps us refine our technique. Remember, we’re fitness professionals and we have coaches!
January is upon us, and with it comes New Year resolutions and the realigned focus on health and fitness. If you truly want to achieve your goals and not drop off after a few weeks, go find a great trainer. It will make a world of difference in your quest for a healthier lifestyle.
To your lifelong health and success,
-Demarco Crum, CPT