why I’m different from other trainers


_L5A0928_Lightroom_Export_Full_Size_JPEG_300dpi_sRGBAm 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). I also know that I’m a superior trainer, than a lot of other trainers, because I’ve seen them work with clients, doing risky exercises, not correcting form, making them lift too heavy too soon, prioritizing cardio, and wasting clients time with exercises that don’t burn many calories, and should be performed last.

What makes me different from other personal trainers is that I worked with over 20 trainers for 8 consistent years. Most of those trainers were okay, some were awful, and a small handful that were impressive; 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, and their methods.

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 heavy weights. 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. It was my favorite question because he wanted to hear about how I was feeling so he could help me feel better via various stretches. I ask all my clients this very same question: “How are you? Any thing hurt? Anything sore?” If a client is tired, stressed, or just got over a cold, I can lower the intensity. If my client has a tight back, we may start with foam rolling. If my client’s quads are still sore from a previous session, I’ll take out exercises that target the quadriceps so my client can recover. It’s important to let muscles recuperate, to rebuild; you don’t want to keep breaking down muscle. If my client injured themselves, it’s a reminder for them to tell me right then and there.

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 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 (I should hope they know how to lift..it’s their job), 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; I admit, that if I don’t watch what I eat, I gain fat really easily. Maintaining and losing weight is constant challenge for me 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 had to leave to go straight to work. 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. If an exercise is too advanced for a client, I’ll have them try different exercises that work those same muscles, and come back to that exercise at a later date when they’re stronger.

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.  It’s also important to weigh the risk versus reward factor; some exercises are too risky to try, since the chances of getting injured are high.

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 one set, and if they hate it, we never need to do it 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 every week. No muscle should be left behind!

Every training session ends with five minutes of 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, they’ve been lifting for years, but taking courses is really important to keep clients safe. Knowing what to do when, how to do it, understanding the latest research, what exercises not to do for certain clients, the proper sequence of exercises, knowing when to push a client to lift more or do more advanced exercises, and protecting the spine, are just some of the reasons why it’s important to work with a trainer that’s certified. I’m constantly reading and researching. I have earned my personal trainer certification, certification in fitness nutrition, and strength and conditioning certifications. I’m presently reading several textbooks on strength and rehabilitation, and plan to earn many more certifications in the years to come.

Exercise is part of health, but diet is a huge part of it too. My clients are given healthy recipes, diet and exercise worksheets, and if they are interested in learning more about me, nutrition, the pros and cons of various diets, tips and motivation to reduce calories, they can purchase my book, The High-Five Diet. I offer diet analysis and a customized, flexible eating guide to those ready to make dietary changes.

Some people overdo it with exercise, but many people don’t do enough exercise. I let my clients know what exercises, and for how long, and on which days, I recommend they do outside of their training sessions. For those that will only come to the gym to train with me, I send them videos they can exercise to at home for no extra charge.

If you’re interested in training with me, and you live in San Diego, contact me for a complimentary consultation. Trainers are NOT a dime a dozen. They are some awful ones, ones that are just okay, and other trainers that really care, have a lot of knowledge, and will help you reach your goals a lot faster.

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