12 things personal trainers always tell beginners

  • Every personal trainer has their own set of guidelines for their clients.
  • Fitness trainers oversee their client’s physical progress, but will also offer health tips to help them succeed outside the gym, too.
  • Personal trainers will also offer emotional guidance as well.
  • Visit INSIDER’s homepage for more.

There are so many components that go into a solid fitness routine and healthy lifestyle, that sometimes it can be challenging to make sense of it all. Unfortunately, not everyone can afford a personal trainer to help them connect the dots, but the advice a trainer has to offer new clients can be priceless.

Here are some of the things fitness trainers always tell new clients to help them achieve their goals.

Quick fixes don’t yield long-term results

There’s an age-old saying that goes “if you give a man a fish, he’ll eat for a day, but if you teach a man to fish, he’ll never go hungry.” Essentially that’s the golden rule of thumb Ben Williamson, certified trainer and founder of Crush Fit, encourages his clients to live by; that quick fixes won’t yield the long-term results you aspire to.

“If you lose weight fast, you will gain it fast. If you lose weight over time, slowly with proper nutrition and training, you will have a harder time gaining the weight back,” Williamson told INSIDER. “Slow and steady certainly always wins the race. Quick fixes lead to rapid weight loss and require strict and demanding lifestyle changes that will 99.99% of the time result in complete failure.”

Your ‘why’ should be your driving force

Betina Gozo, a Nike global master trainer, told INSIDER the first thing she asks her clients is what motivated them to start training. After she receives stereotypical answers like “I want to get in shape,” she encourages them to dive a little deeper, to identify their “why” so they can write it down so that they can remind themselves of their initial motivation throughout their journey.

“When starting out, [it’s important to] remember that you are doing something that A LOT of people in the WORLD don’t do, and that in itself is an amazing accomplishment,” Gozo said. “Instead of thinking of how challenging it is, celebrate how far you come and remember that this is a JOURNEY and it takes time!”

You’re responsible for your own progress

While a trainer’s job is to motivate you in the gym, and offer tips to help you meet your goals outside your workouts, Gerren Liles, Hyperwear trainer, made a fair point when he told INSIDER that there are 168 hours in a week. Only two or three of them are spent with clients.

“Therefore, what [clients] do the remaining time is infinitely more important to helping them reach their goals,” Liles said. “So it’s not about changing just the workout, it’s about changing your lifestyle to generate results!”

Don’t compare your journey to someone else’s path

Every fitness journey is as unique as the individual pursuing it which is why Justin Gelband, a fitness expert and certified trainer who works with celebrities like Miranda Kerr, Karlie Kloss, and Candice Swanepoel, encourages his clients not to avoid comparisons.

“I always say, ‘Be the best that you can be with the body you have been given because everybody is different and every body is different, so what’s good for one isn’t necessary good for the next,'” Gelband told INSIDER.

Fear is normal

Eric Rakofsky, CEO and founder of PBE Fitness and coach for personal training platform,Ladder told INSIDER that new clients often feel a little nervous when they start their training, and it’s completely understandable. To ease their minds, Rakofsky reminds clients that they have a choice: to let that fear hold them back, or use it as a tool to make them better.

“There’s a fine line between fear and success, and often times it’s hard to walk that line,” Rakofsky explained. “I tell them that it will take courage and patience to overcome whatever fears they have of the process, but that I can also help give them the proper tools to overcome them.”

Don’t be ashamed to modify a movement

A common misconception people make about fitness is that modified movements, also referred to as “scaling options,” are a regression, or a sign of weakness, Courtney Roselle, certified strength and conditioning specialist, personal trainer and founder of personal fitness brand Iron.Grace told INSIDER.

Roselle said she makes sure to tell clarify to her clients that, in fact, modifications are a sign of progression that shows you’re working towards a movement you will get better at overtime.

Running marathoniStockEveryone works out differently.

Numbers on a scale don’t always represent your progress

Like age, weight is just a number, but it’s easy to forget that concept if you put a lot of value on the numbers blinking up at you from the scale.

The truth is, your weight can fluctuate up to 8 pounds as you eat and drink throughout the day, Godfred Anyang, strength and conditioning coach at Gloveworx, told INSIDER. So rather than relying on the scare to track your progress, Anyang said it’s best to take before and after pictures for a more accurate depiction of your changes.

Exercise should be enjoyable, so find a routine you can have fun with

Your fitness routine shouldn’t feel like a chore. Unfortunately Eric Johnson, a personal trainer and co-founder of HOMAGE, told INSIDER that enjoyment is typically a missing piece of the puzzle.

“There are too many things in our lives that we may not be particularly fond of,” Johnson said. “However, your fitness endeavours do not need to include anything you despise.”

Johnson stresses to clients there aren’t any requirements to check off on your individual journey. In other words, you should be finding exercises you enjoy, and throw all your efforts and energies into those activities.

“The process will be uncomfortable in order to create change but that doesn’t mean that you have to loathe any of it.”

Celebrate every victory, no matter how small

Woman Lifting Weights for CrossFitJustin Sullivan/Getty ImagesSmall victories can lead to big progress.

Johnson told INSIDER that in addition to stressing the importance of enjoyment, he also makes sure clients are encouraged to both acknowledge and appreciate what he referred to as “imperfect progress.”

“Maybe it’s nailing the execution of a hip hinge and learning how to deadlift properly. It could even be pushing yourself to hit that workout or listening to your body and taking a much needed rest day,” Johnson explained.

In other words, while the big picture outcomes are important, until you reach those goals, it’s actually more beneficial to shift your focus to habit-based behaviours.

Don’t underestimate the importance of a warm-up

Some people feel that warm ups are an unnecessary component of a workout, but Mary Nnamani, personal trainer at Blink Fitness told INSIDER that their actually super important, and can be as simple as a light jog on the treadmill, or 20-minutes of full-body stretching.

“[A warm up is the] determining factor of how successful your workout will be,” Nnamani explained. “It prepares your body for activity, prevents injuries, and increases blood flow and oxygen to muscle.”

Make it a point to never miss a workout twice

Obviously there are exceptions to this rule, such as if you’re sick, but during an interview with INSIDER, Corey Phelps, a NASM-CPT based out of Washington, D.C. said that if you make it a rule for yourself to never miss a workout twice, chances are it will eventually become a habit.

Be kind to yourself

It’s one thing to be determined and hard-working. It’s another to be too hard on yourself.

“Work hard and show up, these are things you need to be accountable for. But if you are doing these things, and you are following your workouts, and you are eating well, then you have every reason to be happy and proud of yourself,” Phil Catudal, certified personal trainer for the National Academy of Sports Medicine and author of “Just Your Type,” told INSIDER.

“Even if you are not at the end goal, you are headed in the right direction. Staying optimistic and motivated intrinsically are everything because every external motivation will eventually fade,” Catudal said.

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