How to find the right personal trainer (why Nina Shantel dba Fit Girl is different)

_L5A0928_Lightroom_Export_Full_Size_JPEG_300dpi_sRGBHow to find the right or best personal trainer for you depends on a lot of factors such as price, personality, adaptability and experience. Am I the best certified personal trainer? Nope! There’s lots of trainers who have more experience and more certifications than I do (they also typically charge a lot more too), but I know I’m superior than a lot of other trainers because I’ve seen other trainers make their clients perform risky exercises, not correcting form, making them lift too heavy too soon, prioritizing cardio and wasting time with exercises that don’t burn many calories.

What makes me different from other personal trainers is that I have worked with over 20 trainers for eight consistent years. Most of those trainers were okay, some were awful, and a small handful were fantastic; I learned something from each and every one of them. I learned not just how to do the exercises properly, but I also figured out what I liked and what I hated about personal trainers, which makes me a much better trainer.

I liked it when my trainers shared a little bit about themselves, and asked about my life outside of training; getting to know the person is really important when you’re trusting them with weights and new exercises.

One of my trainers that I liked used to ask me at the beginning of every training session if anything hurt, or if anything was sore. I ask all my clients these very same questions at the beginning of each session. If my client just got over a cold, I lower the intensity. If my client has specific muscles that are sore, that’s information I need to know because it’s important to let muscles recuperate in order to rebuild. Rest is necessary; you don’t want to keep breaking down muscle.

I liked working with knowledgeable trainers who wanted to teach me as much as they could about gaining strength, losing weight, and proper nutrition. At every session, my clients come away with new information to help them get stronger and healthier.

I fired the trainers who refused to stop and talk, said to avoid all carbs, and equated health with extreme leanness (which is a falsehood). My clients get to learn a little about me, but my focus is on them, as this is their time to exercise and ask questions.

I couldn’t stand the trainers who showed off how awesome they were, or those who made any excuse to lift up their shirt to show me their six-pack abs (how obnoxious).

Many clients envy that I can do exercises with great form with ease, but I remind them that I’ve been doing this for over ten years, and it’s my career. I don’t flaunt how lean I am; if I overeat, I gain fat too.

I appreciated the trainers who showed up on time and ended the sessions on time. Some trainers tried to end the training sessions early because they had some place they needed to go, but if I’m paying for their time, they better spend every minute of that time with me.

I had a trainer who extended many sessions an additional 30 minutes, but that stressed me out because I would end up getting to work late. If I have extra time available to spend with a client, I ask them if they would like to go over their allotted hour. Time is a precious commodity, and it’s important to respect that.

I had one trainer, who wouldn’t progress me to other exercises unless I got the form down perfectly. I don’t know anyone who performs an exercise perfectly all the time.

Another trainer I worked with gave me the same routine every time, which was boring. I switch up my clients’ workouts to make it fun, and to progress quicker.

There were exercises I despised that my trainers made me do anyway. Sometimes I appreciated that they made me do the hard exercises, but some exercises that I tried that I was leery of, I actually got hurt from doing.  I weigh risk versus reward; some exercises are too risky to try, since the chances of getting injured are high. I don’t have my clients do exercises that are likely to cause injury.

If a client doesn’t want to do a certain exercise, first, I find out why. If it’s something they’ve never done, I ask they try it, and if they hate it, we never need to do that exercise again. There’s so many exercises, there’s no reason to be forced to do an exercise that doesn’t feel good.

After working with numerous trainers, I found that most of them either never, or rarely, had me do calf raises, ab exercises or stretches. I make sure to have my clients perform exercises to work the entire body. No muscle should be left behind!

Every training session with me ends with gentle stretches to cool down and aid in recovery. A tight muscle is more likely to get pulled or torn, than a flexible one.

Some trainers have no formal education, but taking courses and passing them is important to keep clients safe. Knowing what to do, when and how to do it, and what exercises not to do for certain clients or age groups, knowing when to progress, and protecting the low back and spine, are just some of the reasons why it’s important to work with a trainer that’s certified and knowledgeable.

I apply what I have learned from my personal trainer certification (CPT), certification in fitness nutrition, and strength and conditioning certifications, and expert trainers.

Exercise is one part of health, but diet is a huge part of it too, so I sprinkle in nutritional information with training sessions.

I also offer diet analysis and am happy to answer questions regarding fat loss and nutrition.

If you’re interested in training with me, Nina Shantel dba Fit Girl, contact me for a complimentary consultation. I can train you in-person in Rancho Penasquitos, San Diego, California, or virtually.

If you are looking for a certified personal trainer, search for one who really cares, has a lot of knowledge, and will help you reach your goals quickly.

FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

Q. How long are training sessions?

A. Sessions last from 45 to 60 minutes, depending on which one you choose

Q. Do you offer on-line or in-person training sessions?

A. If you can travel to Rancho Penaquitos in San Diego, California, we can train in person at the nearby park, or we can train virtually via Zoom or Facetime with your computer or iPhone.

Q. Do you offer a discount if I buy several sessions at one time?

A. Yes, I offer a discount if you purchase a pack of 10. Contact me for current pricing.

Q. Can I just purchase one session at a time?

A. Yes, you can purchase as few or as many sessions as you like; there’s no monthly or weekly subscription requirements to train with me.

Q. How do I pay you?

A. I can email or text you a link where you enter in a credit card or debit card before the training session.

Q. Are training fees collected in advance or at the end of the training session?

A. Training fees are collected at least 1-day prior to training.

Q. Are there cancellation fees?

A. As long as you text me at least 24-hours before your training session, you will not be charged a cancellation fee.

Q. What if I need to reschedule?

A. If you need to reschedule, just text me at least 24-hours before your training session.

Below is the park I train my clients at if they decide to train in person instead of virtually

Nina Shantel performing a lat pull-down at Crunch Gym

I’m accepting new clients and am looking forward to helping you. Contact me via the form above with your name, email address, how I can help you, your phone number, and the best time to call you back.

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