Guest Post by Tamara Grand
Congratulations! You’ve decided to hire a personal trainer to help you move towards your health and fitness goals. You’ve done your homework and found a trainer who’s educated and experienced. You’ve met or spoken with them to determine whether your personalities mesh and your approaches to exercise are compatible. You’ve scheduled and are looking forward to your first training session.
As a certified personal trainer, I know how important that first session is. It sets the tone for future sessions. It lays the foundation for a collaborative trainer-client relationship. And most important, it’s the best predictor of how quickly you’ll reach your health and fitness goals.
With so much on the fitness line, how can you ensure that your first personal training session is a positive experience? Make the most out of your first PT session with these tips:
- Fill out all required paperwork (including health questionnaire, liability waiver and PAR-Q) in advance of your first session. This information helps your trainer to be prepared and avoids wasting valuable time going over health histories when you could be working out. Training sessions are expensive and you don’t want to waste half of it filling out a questionnaire and signing your name!
- Make sure your trainer is aware of any medications you might be taking. Some heart and blood pressure medications can adversely affect your body’s response to exertion.
- Eat a light meal an hour or so before your session. You cannot work hard on an empty stomach. Feeling dizzy and light headed will hinder your experience and make you look toward your next session with pessimistic thoughts.
- Be on time. Your trainer likely has a full schedule and cannot extend your session beyond the agreed upon end time (although I’ve been known to go over on first sessions myself — there’s just so much to cover!)
- Keep an open mind. Don’t arrive with a list of exercises that you don’t like or don’t want to do. Often the things we avoid doing are those we need to do the most (I hate burpees, but they’re good for me so I do ’em!). A good trainer will likely give you exercises that you’ve never tried before that will really push you to your limits.
- Give honest and accurate feedback. If something hurts, tell your trainer. They will attempt to find an alternative exercise for you. Know the difference between actual pain and the feeling of a muscle working to fatigue. You hired a personal trainer to work hard, but that doesn’t mean you should work yourself into an injury.
- If you need a rest or water break, ask for it, but beware of attempts at stalling the workout. Your trainer will be familiar with these (no matter how creative you think you’re being!)
- Ask questions. Make sure you understand why you’re doing a particular exercise. Ask your trainer to jot down reminders about form. I find that when I use my clients’ own words to describe an exercise they’re better at remembering how to do it properly on their own. It is likely that your trainer won’t be by your side during all future workouts so you want to keep note of all you are learning about.
- Do your homework. If your trainer creates a program for you to do between training sessions, do it. That homework is the difference between staying where you are and reaching your health and fitness goals!
Following these suggestions will not only result in you getting the most out of your personal training session, it might also make you your trainer’s favorite client! And, we all want to be the trainer’s pet, right?!
Read more from Tamara at FitKnitChick.
Have you ever hired a personal trainer?
How would you rate the experience, overall?