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Finding the Right Trainer for You

One of the most common questions I’m asked is, “Beth, how do I find the right personal trainer?”  This is definitely a loaded question, mis amigos.  There are so many factors to take into account when choosing a trainer, and I don’t even have enough of a word allowance to go into them all!  I’ll highlight the big ones that I think most people should probably consider when choosing their next trainer.  Ultimately, you have to do what makes you comfortable, both from a personality standpoint and a financial standpoint.  And remember, don’t feel like you owe it to anyone to stay with them.  Just like you’d never stay with a boyfriend who cheats on you, you should never stay with a trainer who doesn’t care about your goals. Gender:this may not seem obvious to some, but most people are more comfortable with one sex over another.  Personally, for me, just like I like my doctors to be female, I also like my trainers to be female.  Sure, guy trainers have the same education and same knowledge, but I really don’t think you can “get” a woman unless you ovulate like a woman.  Sorry – just my opinion, fellas.  No ovaries, no money.  On top of that, I have to send progress pics, and Leigh Ann is really the only one with whom I’m comfortable seeing my tush when it’s vampire-white and not so tight.   Again, this is a matter of personal preference, but if you are more comfortable with a woman and you choose a male trainer, you might not have as much success as you’d like.  It’s just something to consider. Coaching/Training Style:this is a big one in my book.  As a former athlete, I am quite coachable, and I can adapt pretty well to most coaching styles.  However, one thing I cannot and will not tolerate is someone who verbally abuses me and tries to break me down, mentally, without EVER giving me a “good job” here and there.  I had a coach in college who was a total jerk, and I never played well for her as a result.  It wasn’t intentional; she just never motivated me the right way.  I was nervous and anxious every time I took the field, and it always showed.  She totally shook my confidence and made me question my every move.  And, any athlete knows, when you play scared, you’re going to make mistakes and you’re going to get hurt.  Conversely, I had an amazing coach in high school for whom I would lay on train tracks.  I wanted to play my heart out for her EVERY game, and I did.  There’s a reason I was all-conference: she made me want to be the best athlete on the field. This applies to personal training for me, as well.  Leigh Ann is firm, gives good direction, expects a lot from me, but tells me when I’m doing a good job.  Consequently, I work harder and push harder to hear her “kudos,” but I also buckle down and work harder if she seems less than thrilled with my progress.  What motivates you?  Do you like to be yelled at?  Do you like positive reinforcement?  Do you like a cheerleader?  You need to find someone who meshes well with your personality.  If you need lots of positive reinforcement and you hire Jillian Michaels, you’re going to be in serious trouble. Flexibility/Responsiveness:this is another one that may not seem so obvious, but I’ve seen some doo doo trainers out there.  Some will say they’ve “lost your email,” or their “computer’s not working,” or some other BS.  Anyone who is taking your money for a service and doesn’t respond in a timely fashion should be fired.  Don’t be afraid to fire a trainer who is not giving you what you need.  Remember, this is YOUR body and YOUR life, so take charge.  It’s also your money!!  Sheesh!  Also, realize that everyone has a life: if your trainer gets mad at you for a last-minute cancellation (sure, it stinks, but life happens) and gives you a major guilt trip, it might be time to look elsewhere. Price for quality of product:this sorta ties into flexibility/responsiveness, because if you’re paying big bucks and you’re not getting what you need, it’s time to move on.  I know some trainers in this industry charge their clients just to talk on the phone.  That’s outrageous.  Most of the big name trainers have FAR too many clients, in my honest opinion.  There is no way to give each client a customized plan just for them when they have thousands of clients.  There’s just not enough time in the day.  Sometimes I struggle with the 10-15 online clients that I have.  I can’t even IMAGINE trying to juggle 1,000+.  Granted, I have a full-time job, but I still don’t think you can give people what they need if you’re spread so thin. Does your trainer respond to you within 24 hours?  Do they seem to care?  Do they remember your name and remember what your goals are?  Do they take your wants and needs into account when creating your program?  Do they even ask you what you want before they take your money?  Do their plans vary every month?  Do other clients of theirs have identical programs?  These are all questions you need to ask before you give anyone even one penny. If you’re paying someone thousands of dollars a month and you feel like you could not be hand-picked in a line-up……….move on. I hope this helps.  Remember, you have every right to be SUPER picky when it comes to finding the right trainer for YOU.  I shopped around a little before I eventually came back to LA, but I will never again use anyone else.  She gets me, she knows my body, she knows how to coach me, and she’s also a good friend.  I have 100% faith and confidence in her judgment, and she has 100% faith and confidence in my work ethic.  Together, we create flawless symmetry on stage.  On top of that, my preps are a breeze: I know she’s just a phone call or an email away, she can see me in person whenever she needs to, I can whine and complain or even panic, and she’ll always know how to talk me down from the edge.  My brain is always at peace, which is so, so crucial when you have physique goals.  At the end of the day, you need to be able to sit back, relax, and enjoy the ride.  
 width=Beth is an NPC and OCB figure competitor and has been competing for 3 years.  When she’s not rocking the stage in her stiletto heels, she’s either at work as Project Manager at a Pharmaceutical company in Durham, NC or she’s in the gym training clients or teaching spin classes.  In her very minimal free time, Beth likes to sleep, eat, play with her dog, and spend time with her boyfriend and friends (who also like to sleep and eat).