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Thread: The Importance of Trainers and Training Partners page 2

  1. #11
    ennasirk's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Al_Kavadlo View Post


    I haven't gotten into this on my blog, but I do discuss it a bit in my book...which everyone should get a copy of.

    I'd like to hear your story though if you want to tell us.
    Hah! Nice pimping.

    TL, DR Version: Figure out what you want, interview trainers till you find it, repeat if the first one doesn't work out.

    Long version: I knew by the point that I was looking for a trainer what I didn't want. I didn't want a big corporate gym trainer, where all they did was show me how to use machines I already knew how to use. In fact, I didn't want a gym setting at all (when I say gym in this context, I mean a 24 Hour Fitness/Golds/local equivalent type of gym). After years of going to those types of gyms, I knew that was part of my motivational problem - doing treadmill/elliptical/weight machines was boring as hell and not at all motivating. I liked the idea of body weight, ropes, kettle bells, free weights and all the other stuff I didn't even know about (or at least have any clue about using) before I started training (ginormous tires! heavy bags and boxing gloves! hurdles! med balls! Bosu! the stairs in the building next door! suspension trainers!)

    What I did want: someone I enjoyed spending time with, who had a good sense of humor and could actually hold a conversation, since I figured we'd be spending a lot of time together. I wanted variety - both to help meet my fitness goals but also to keep me from getting bored. I wanted someone who was going to respect me, but also challenge me - I was perfectly aware that I was 280 lbs and far from peak physical condition when I started; I didn't need someone whose motivational strategy was to call me fat and humiliate me. At the same time, if I'm spending the money, I expected to be challenged to do better. My goals were pretty simple - to lose weight, build strength, and build endurance, and have fun while doing it. If I was at all bored, I wasn't going to keep coming back.

    There were, of course, practical concerns - I wanted to go somewhere I could get to within 15 minutes, 10 would be even better (didn't matter if that was walking or driving, I just knew that if it wasn't quick to get to, it wasn't going to be sustainable). I needed someone with early morning availability.

    That's about all that I knew that I wanted, so with that in mind, I googled and yelped and found a list of about 5 or 6 places to interview. Sadly, the place that's a 7 minute walk from my apartment was a total dud - took a while to get back to me and when they did, the questions they asked were rote and I could just tell it was not going to be a good match. Interviewed a couple other folks on the phone that just didn't click, and ultimately wound up meeting two different trainers in person.

    Either of those two probably would have been good, but I ended up going with the one who was a hair closer, a hair cheaper, and who had better morning availability (the other guy would have put me with one of his staff, who I hadn't had a chance to meet). And there was just something about my trainer's dry and obnoxious sense of humor that I saw even in our first interview that I liked. To some extent, it was gut instinct, and I'm fortunate that it worked and I didn't have to go find someone else after a false start (but really, my advice would be if you're not clicking after a few sessions ... talk about it and/or move on ... you're paying too much for it not to be the right fit).

    Absolutely no regrets - it's been exactly the right place for me. For about the first year, he was still building the business and running a solo shop; since then he's added two trainers - lately I work with them more than him, but I like them all (he's done a good job of picking people who click with both him and his clients - he had one guy that just wasn't working and he was gone pretty quickly).

    Things that I've discovered after starting are important to me, personally:

    --Having a trainer who gets to know each client well enough to know when they're just being whiny and when they're really not able to do something on a given day. My trainer (and his team, now) do a great job at that. Just being whiny - push my ass. Really don't have it that day - remind me that not every day is an A day and do what we can and keep me moving and in a consistent pattern of working out even if we scale back the intensity a hair that day. Related to that is how great they've been dealing with my recent injury "Does it really not hurt or are you just saying that because you don't want to be a wuss?" and tailoring the exercises based on where I was with my physical therapy (e.g., we didn't restart lateral moves till my PT had restarted lateral moves, didn't restart impact moves till my PT had restarted impact moves).

    --Having a trainer who is good at reminding me how far I've come when I get discouraged about how far I still have to go. Usually it's with that sarcastic humor I've come to love "Uh, hello, you just did 20 overhead throws with a 16 lb medicine ball. Remember Day 1 when I almost made you pass out on 10 throws with an 8 lb ball?"

    --Having a trainer who "rewards" his consistent, reliable client with the prime times (that would be me - I've never taken a whole week off unless I've been out of town on vacation, I've never missed a scheduled session, and I've never entirely canceled - always rescheduled, but even that's pretty rare). What that means is if I want a 7 or 730 a.m. timeslot, I've got it. Helps that on most weeks I'm pretty flexible on days, but I know how popular those times are and it's nice to know they're mine, consistently.

    --Having a trainer who's willing to work with me during the times when I can't come in 2-3x/week. I went through a several-month stretch where I was out of town for 4 of 5 weekdays, so I'd do Friday sessions and we'd talk about what I'd been doing the rest of the week and he'd offer me ideas for what I could do in the hotel gym with limited equipment and put together "chinese menu" type workout lists for me (one from column A, one from column B, etc.). We'd talk about how I'd done that week and plan a strategy for the following week.
    Last edited by ennasirk; 03-14-2011 at 03:49 PM.
    "Sometimes, you need to make sure the angel on your shoulder has a wingman." -Me

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  2. #12
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    I was working with a good trainer for awhile last year and loved it, mostly for the variety and the ability to have someone else do the mental pushing. Unfortunately he is no longer available to train and I really cant afford training right now.

    But I have had bad experiences as well. I find it really difficult in a small town to find a good trainer. I most often run up against the "This is my canned routine I do for everyone" type trainer and trainers with horrendous form.

    My worst trainer was when I met with a trainer with the clear instructions "I want to lift heavy that is what I want you for. I have nutrition covered, I have cardio covered. I'm here to lift". Basically I was willing to pay for a spotter and for program help. He kept starting me with cardio with pink barbie weights. I kept thinking it was the warmup and saying "I warmed up before the session". He kept harping "we need to develop your cardio and your endurance base before you can lift heavy". ?? I had qualified for Boston Marathon the month before and he knew that.

    I love having training partners because it gets me to the gym but currently I am struggling with a partner who has become too dependent on me. I realized as I left the gym this morning how often I sacrifice my own workout to bring it down to her level. That was ok when I used to live in the gym, but I dont right now. I miss having running partners, but I cant run at the level I used to right now. (Or dont want to, not sure which)
    MTA: because it is rare I dont have more to say

    "When I got too tired to run anymore I just pretended I wasnt tired and kept running anyway" - my daughter Age 7

  3. #13
    ennasirk's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by runnergal View Post
    He kept starting me with cardio with pink barbie weights. I kept thinking it was the warmup and saying "I warmed up before the session".
    Hah! My trainer doesn't believe in weights below 10 lbs ("The only thing they're good for is rehabbing a wrist injury. And even then not for long."). And definitely no pink (though I did notice a pair of pink boxing gloves have made their way in to the gym, but since one of the trainers is a bad-ass female MMA fighter, pink boxing gloves are actually a symbol of girl power, not girl wussiness!).
    "Sometimes, you need to make sure the angel on your shoulder has a wingman." -Me

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  4. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by ennasirk View Post
    Hah! My trainer doesn't believe in weights below 10 lbs ("The only thing they're good for is rehabbing a wrist injury. And even then not for long."). And definitely no pink (though I did notice a pair of pink boxing gloves have made their way in to the gym, but since one of the trainers is a bad-ass female MMA fighter, pink boxing gloves are actually a symbol of girl power, not girl wussiness!).
    Mine seemed to have recurrent amnesia..I'd brow beat him into working me out and then the next session it was back to barbie weights.

    Although you made me laugh because after my car accident I was doing shoulder rehab with 1 lb weights and the TrainerWithBadForm actually started making fun of me. Good way to attract clients. He also made fun of me during rehab when I was doing yoga with blocks to take weight off my upper body and support the hand in the splint. Even with my injuries I could have kicked his yoga butt**. He's so muscle bound he cant even see his toes.

    ** of course realizing that yoga is a completely non competitive environment and I dont need bad zen kharmic whatzamadoozy
    MTA: because it is rare I dont have more to say

    "When I got too tired to run anymore I just pretended I wasnt tired and kept running anyway" - my daughter Age 7

  5. #15
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    Six years ago I found myself almost at 200 lbs (I'm 5"6!! female!! this was bad!) after a stressful few years. I decided I needed a trainer, and went to my sterile corporate NYC gym and told them I wanted to train with someone who knew something about boxing. I believe I was thinking I'd be more apt to take workouts seriously if I was learning how to do something.

    Enter Elvin. He was THE BEST. He got me eating clean (in a CW sort of way, but whatever, it was an improvement). He got me doing cardio (not a crazy amount) and calisthenics every day. He weighed me every week, and kept the numbers in a graphing system that showed I lost one pound every single week--never more, never less--for eight months. More importantly, I began to see myself as strong, see myself as an athlete. At the end of eight months (this was expensive as hell) I left him for a boxing gym.

    I think I could say that, more than anyone I've known, Elvin helped me change my perception of myself for the better. And although the weight has been a bit up and down since then (mostly due to two years of full-time school and work--it's now back to Elvin-era), the perception of myself that Elvin helped me develop has not changed.

    A really good trainer is better than a good therapist, because the experience changes you, but you don't have to do any of that icky self-reflection stuff.

  6. #16
    Al_Kavadlo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ennasirk View Post
    Hah! My trainer doesn't believe in weights below 10 lbs ("The only thing they're good for is rehabbing a wrist injury. And even then not for long."). And definitely no pink (though I did notice a pair of pink boxing gloves have made their way in to the gym, but since one of the trainers is a bad-ass female MMA fighter, pink boxing gloves are actually a symbol of girl power, not girl wussiness!).
    It sounds like you've got a great trainer! You also sound like a great client - serious, dedicated and foucsed. (I read your long post but didn't feel the need to quote it all.)

    Quote Originally Posted by runnergal View Post
    I was working with a good trainer for awhile last year and loved it, mostly for the variety and the ability to have someone else do the mental pushing. Unfortunately he is no longer available to train and I really cant afford training right now.

    But I have had bad experiences as well. I find it really difficult in a small town to find a good trainer. I most often run up against the "This is my canned routine I do for everyone" type trainer and trainers with horrendous form.

    My worst trainer was when I met with a trainer with the clear instructions "I want to lift heavy that is what I want you for. I have nutrition covered, I have cardio covered. I'm here to lift". Basically I was willing to pay for a spotter and for program help. He kept starting me with cardio with pink barbie weights. I kept thinking it was the warmup and saying "I warmed up before the session". He kept harping "we need to develop your cardio and your endurance base before you can lift heavy". ?? I had qualified for Boston Marathon the month before and he knew that.

    I love having training partners because it gets me to the gym but currently I am struggling with a partner who has become too dependent on me. I realized as I left the gym this morning how often I sacrifice my own workout to bring it down to her level. That was ok when I used to live in the gym, but I dont right now. I miss having running partners, but I cant run at the level I used to right now. (Or dont want to, not sure which)
    I've had people come to train with me who've run marathons but couldn't do a squat. I don't blame him for taking it easy on you in the very beginning. But once it was obvious that you could handle more - and wanted to - he should have stepped it up. It probably wouldn't have taken me very long to figure it out, but I understand that initial instinct to want to ease someone in.

    Too bad about your current training partner. Maybe you could find someone else who can join you two who might liven things up. Or you could ditch her on a treadmill while you go work out.



    Quote Originally Posted by frances View Post
    Six years ago I found myself almost at 200 lbs (I'm 5"6!! female!! this was bad!) after a stressful few years. I decided I needed a trainer, and went to my sterile corporate NYC gym and told them I wanted to train with someone who knew something about boxing. I believe I was thinking I'd be more apt to take workouts seriously if I was learning how to do something.

    Enter Elvin. He was THE BEST. He got me eating clean (in a CW sort of way, but whatever, it was an improvement). He got me doing cardio (not a crazy amount) and calisthenics every day. He weighed me every week, and kept the numbers in a graphing system that showed I lost one pound every single week--never more, never less--for eight months. More importantly, I began to see myself as strong, see myself as an athlete. At the end of eight months (this was expensive as hell) I left him for a boxing gym.

    I think I could say that, more than anyone I've known, Elvin helped me change my perception of myself for the better. And although the weight has been a bit up and down since then (mostly due to two years of full-time school and work--it's now back to Elvin-era), the perception of myself that Elvin helped me develop has not changed.

    A really good trainer is better than a good therapist, because the experience changes you, but you don't have to do any of that icky self-reflection stuff.
    You're lucky to have walked right in and gotten matched up with someone good. Congrats on your growth and progress. I hope to see you at my Saturday bootcamp one of these days!
    "In theory, theory and practice are the same. In practice, they couldn't be more different."

    "You can have anything you want, but you can't have everything you want."

    My blog: http://www.AlKavadlo.com


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