With the New Year having just arrived and everyone making resolutions, I don’t think I can escape at least one post. This post isn’t going to be about resolutions per se, it’s about achieving your fitness goals and the difference it makes to work with a personal trainer, regardless of the time of the year. Some people see working with a trainer as a luxury or for people just starting out, I see it as a necessity for someone who is looking to make a real impact and change in their approach to health and fitness.
Over the years I’ve changed the way that I workout from massive amounts of cardio (triathlon training) and almost zero lifting weights to primarily supplementing weight training with cardiovascular exercise and stretching. I used to go to the gym and hit up the treadmill or elliptical for 60-90 minutes and these days I head straight for the free weights. I’m now well versed in the benefits of weight training. I have never had better results in terms of changing the shape of my body than with weight training. I didn’t learn this on my own and I don’t train on my own. I have a personal trainer and his name is Armando.
Even before working with Armando I had a triathlon trainer to coach me in the right amount of training for racing such long distances. My coach was and iron man competitor. I like to be trained by the best!
Working with Armando I have completely transformed the way I approach exercise and the way I relate to food. Relate to food? Yes, that may sound strange and it is something that you may never think about, but it’s crucial to producing results. He has not only taught me about how to most effectively workout for the type of results I want to achieve but also how to eat for performance. In the three years I have been working with him, I went down four pants sizes from 12 to 4. I really never thought it would be possible for me to wear a size 4, that my body was just not made that way I was wrong and I am still losing weight and gaining muscle. Additionally, under Armando’s care it took me less than 2 months to go from running an 11-minute mile to 9-minute 10k pace. That’s an insanely fast increase and I’ve never been that fast or had such an extreme jump in pace – not even with my former Iron Man trainer!
So you can get an idea of what going from size 12 to 4 looks like, here are some embarrassing photos of me in Vegas:
Me at the pool in Vegas
Another one of me at the pool in Vegas
Me in Vegas
And here’s a YouTube video of me jumping rope. You should know that before my training with Armando, I couldn’t walk without tripping. I just wasn’t that coordinated or balanced!
This is what convinced me that Armando is a specialist at what he does; he knew what I needed to do to enhance my performance.
I could go on and on about why training with a trainer is a great idea, but I will let the expert tell you in his own words. Thanks Armando for sharing your expertise!
Armando, personal trainer
What does a trainer provide that people can’t get from a book?
A trainer provides accountability. That word represents many things when used in relation to a personal trainer. First and foremost, there is having someone actually there with you pushing you along as you exercise. Exercise can be a ‘solo’ activity and often times that alone turns people off to idea of training.
A good trainer knows that he/she will be your cheerleader (sometimes the only one) and that his/her role is crucial in having you continue and be successful – a master trainer knows that it will take much more than just that. A crucial part to achieving any kind of success is having a community of people around you moving in a similar direction. How do you do that? How do you get others around you to be in sync with what you are out to accomplish even if they aren’t committed to that? Well, an expert trainer can and will have this happen. This is one area that has me stand out among the rest. I focus my attention on getting the people in my clients’ lives to support them in their fitness goals.
The bottom line is that there is an emotional connection with food. If you are human, you have this emotional connection. No exceptions. A highly skilled trainer will not only help you work on your physical/biological muscles, but also will aid in you transforming your relationship to food. Why is this relevant? Nobody can just switch from one form of eating to another; I don’t care who you are.
A good fitness coach/personal trainer is in so many words, someone who can communicate effectively to people and above all, a leader.
What should someone take into consideration when they are choosing a trainer?
Make sure they are certified. It matters that they know what they’re talking about. Anybody can tell you to do certain exercises – ANYBODY. A certified/educated/specialized trainer will not arbitrarily have you do that. He/she will know how to start you off and why to start you off that way. It isn’t just about grabbing weights and taking off – oh no, not at all – this is a very common thing average trainers will do.
Is the trainer in shape, do they have the type of physique that you want?
I’m a long time athlete and former amateur bodybuilder. I have trained with and by the best. I prefer to know that my trainer isn’t just someone who read a book and knows a bunch of stuff. I want someone who knows it AND has lived it. I want someone to look at and admire as I bust my ass. I need a look at a desired future in front of me, not a reminder of why I am working out in the first place. Finding the combination of both the scientific knowledge and the matching physique is a rare commodity, but trust that when you find that combination it will matter to know and see what you’re working with.
Do they live the lifestyle themselves (eat healthy, etc.)?
They better! I would want someone who has deep seeded roots in what it is they do for a living, someone who is a walking billboard of what it is that they say they are about. In other words, are they living it – or are they your average prototype personal trainer. You wouldn’t hire a business coach who doesn’t own his own business and furthermore not been successful with it – well the same follows suit.
Is the trainer only knowledgeable in creating workouts?
Once again, exercising is so much more than working up a sweat and calling it a day. As I told you earlier, ANYBODY can come up with a workout. A world-class trainer will know to test/look for imbalances, structural deficiencies, postural alignment, testing for appropriately firing muscles – oh yes, muscles have an order in which they are meant to fire. You’re in a heap of trouble if your trainer doesn’t know how to look for that and correct it. This is only the beginning…
Do they have, at the very least, foundational knowledge about nutrition?
Personal trainers are not nutritionists (unless they actually are), but I personally feel that anybody who says they train/teach people how to exercise HAS to have more than an adequate amount of knowledge in what to eat. There is so much more than simply eating. Knowing what to eat, when to eat, and sometimes how much to eat will make or break an exercise program. Period. I strongly believe that the client should most importantly know WHY it is they are eating what they are eating. The second there is a reason, a context, if you will, for why you are ingesting what you are ingesting – the most crucial part has been connected. Once you know why, most will be able to envision it, feel it, and even taste it (yes, the experience of food can alter the second you view it as something other than food). All the tremendous success my clients have experienced have been only after they knew the in’s and out’s of it all.
Are they fun?
Training is not always enjoyable. Especially if you are continually being asked to go beyond what is comfortable for you physically. Do they not only make the experience fun and enjoyable and have it not seem like “work”, but do they change things up and keep you mentally stimulated. This is crucial especially to people who get bored easily. An excellent trainer will know that changing things up will keep the muscles growing while still maintaining the catered goals/workouts all intact.
If you have any questions for him, leave a comments, he will answer right here.