Home > Hiring the Right Personal Trainer > Hiring the Right Personal Trainer…Part 3

Hiring the Right Personal Trainer…Part 3

The importance of a training log as an analytical tool should not be underestimated. It allows you to monitor your training objectively and helps maintain motivation. Research has shown that people who have techniques to keep them motivated are 40% more likely to stick with their exercise program.

 A training log does not have to be fancy, it should be designed with room to record your weights used, rest periods, and reps and sets performed. 

 If you do not use a training log, but instead rely on memory, you are setting yourself up for failure. After a few training sessions, your memory will fade faster than Lindsay Lohan’s career and you will be lost as to how much weight to use. Using too much weight will not allow you to perform the prescribed number of reps and too little weight will not be a sufficient stimulus to your body. In order to get stronger or leaner, it is vital that you present the same exercises, in the same manner in order for your body to adapt. If not, you are wasting your time and just going through the motions without any benefit.

Trainers and Training Logs

If you want to make most trainers sweat, ask them to show you any client’s training log from three months ago. Again, most trainers follow the path of least effort and throw away training logs as soon as they are done with them. If they use training logs at all.

What most trainers fail to understand is that training logs are a wealth of information, if you know what to look for. When one of my client’s performance in the weight room plateaus, the first thing I do is review all their training logs. I search to find where my client recorded their best performances and compare that training log to their current progress. I look for patterns:

• Perhaps this client needs to perform more/less sets?

• Perhaps this client responds to certain exercises better than others?

• Does this client benefit from taking extra recovery time between workouts?

• Does this client appear to perform better with more frequent training sessions per week?

• Does this client respond better to longer rest periods?

 The amount of information that you can cull from training logs is endless.

What to Ask

When meeting with your potential trainer, ask to see training logs from three different clients: teenager, male and female.  It would also be extremely helpful to ask to see training logs for clients training for strength and fat loss. Not only will this allow you to see if the trainer does keep training logs long-term, but it shows you the trainer’s ability to design training programs. If you notice that all their training programs look the same, this is not the trainer for you. There is no such thing as a single training program that will magically work for all age groups and genders. Different fitness qualities require different approaches to training.

Additionally, if you notice that all their training logs have a group of exercises pre-printed on them, leave. Again, following the path of least effort, most trainers use these pre-printed training logs with every one of their clients. And even though the training log may list up to 15 20 exercises, this will cost you money.  In general, the human body adapts to any training program within 4 weeks. After which, the client will need a totally different training program, including the number of reps, sets and exercises.  I have clients that adapt so quickly, that I have to design a new training program every 2 weeks!  How effective will your training sessions be if you perform the same group of exercises, week after week, month after month?

When I design a training program, I have a database of over 800 exercises to choose from. For example, with the leg curl, I have over 60 different variations available.

My clients can go up to a year without repeating the same exercise.

Next installment, we’ll cover one of my biggest pet peeves…terminology.

Earlier installments – Part 2: Machines vs. Free weights

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