During your first few days in a gym, trainers will approach you or be assigned to you for an induction process. Part of their job is to help you figure out how to use machines, correct your form, and in some cases even help organize your weekly routine, at least initially, while you’re still a newbie. Basically, they are supposed to prevent you from feeling lost when entering the gym. You can also hire a trainer for more personal training. You could be a master at figuring out your plan or you could be a newbie, but choosing a coach could still make a world of difference in how you achieve your goals. With the deadly second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic, nobody will be going to the gym soon, but what I’m talking about here also applies to online trainers.
In the past few years I have used gyms all over the country, from Chembur in Mumbai to Pune and Delhi. I have trained with gym owners who claim to be qualified trainers. Your only advice is to eat a lot. I also trained with calisthenics trainers who taught me how to build muscle, turn 360 degrees in the air, grab the bar again, and do some more muscle building. I did boxing training and learned CrossFit moves in basements in Delhi with industry leaders. Some of these experiences were amazing and some were quite unsettling. Harshwardhan Rathore, who went to the gym with me in Pune, went through the same cycle of trial and error until he met a trainer who took him from 78kg to 65kg and monitored a 7kg increase in muscle mass in his body. The trainer he had earlier ignored his complaints that he had asthma and made him do so much cardio that he passed out.
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Choosing the right trainer is far more important than you might think: you are entrusting your body to its expertise, and there is no greater responsibility to delegate to a stranger. How do you choose a trainer?
“The most important question you need to ask a trainer when they approach you about their services is what their specialty is. A generic answer is a red flag. Every trainer has a USP – they’re good at one thing or another – some are great at teaching calisthenics, some use powerlifting to get you to your goals, and some are especially good at combining muscle gain with weight loss ” says Tejaswini Pandit, an IFBB (International Federation of Bodybuilding and Fitness) professional athlete who works with coaches to prepare them for a career full of unique challenges.
“Ask her: What do you give me that another coach can’t? Why should I choose you?” She says.
There is no easy way to have this conversation. The trainers are also taught as sales professionals and try to control this conversation. However, you need to remember that you are conducting an interview. You hire someone to help you achieve your goals.
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Coaches tend to “outbid” themselves, says Pandit, and that means you can’t blindly step into the process. Before even thinking about any personal training, it’s important to understand your body, what it’s capable of, what schedule it’s on, previous injuries, and a basic understanding of fitness.
“You can’t rely entirely on the trainer. There will be people selling you stuff to help you achieve your goals. You need to educate yourself on nutrition and exercise. Watch the right videos, read the right articles and prepare to ask the right questions. For example, if someone asks you to have a drink before a workout, what is your caffeine tolerance? These are things you may need to find out for yourself, “says Dubey He worked with three coaches for three years before finally choosing what he calls his “brother and mentor”.
Trainers also have different styles that ideally they should be flexible with. Some people like a completely hands-on approach of waking them up every morning and telling them to go to the gym. Others want their trainers to be accommodating in the planning. You need to understand the type of motivation you need and decide accordingly what level of engagement you are looking for.
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“When you talk to them, there needs to be a clear plan and a broader strategy for how you can achieve your goals. Trainers need to understand your barriers to achieving these goals, what can prevent you from getting there, and what can help you get there faster. Someone with experience can understand what you see as a challenge and motivate you to pass them, ”says Pandit.
The key is clear communication. Always do the two or three tries that most trainers offer, and while it is understandable that this is when they do their best, at least you will get an idea of what the routine will be like when you start in earnest.
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The other factor that potential customers always worry about is trainers suggesting the use of a wide variety of nutritional supplements. “Draw a line that you will not cross, and then you will understand their ethical limits. And always speak one-on-one with them so that other trainers cannot put indirect pressure on them to say yes to a particular trainer”, says Pandit.
Do not be afraid to take a stronger position in these communications. After all, it is your body that is at stake and that thought alone should keep you more confident when dealing with offers from trainers to get you to sign up.
Pulasta Dhar is a football commentator and writer.