Any views or opinions presented in this blog are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of the company. This blog is a unique perspective of one persons journey into fitness. Not all clients and participants at Parsons Training undergo the same training, and each person makes his or her own decisions regarding dietary discretions.
By Steve Sharpton, Parsons Training Center, Tucson, Arizona
December 18, 2017
Back when I decided to take the plunge and get into this whole fitness craze, I really had no idea what I was stepping into. I had my own personal view of personal trainers, for the media and Hollywood had shaped my viewpoint in a rather haphazard and substandard way. Trainers were typically too far reaching into one emotional spectrum, too much into powdered protein mush and probably liked showing off their swole way too much. I imagined a version of Gunnery Sergeant Hartman from “Full Metal Jacket” mixed with an ice skating announcer, only they usually would be judging their personal best squat rather than yours with over the top schmaltziness. So yes, I stayed away from this world mainly because I was poorly informed and also because deep down I thought I could do it myself. I was wrong on all counts to say the least, but for the most part I have been extremely lucky. When I first met Jon and his wife Christa, they were both way too cheery and I could sense this was going to be exactly like the movies. All I had to do was wait for the special whey protein pitch the gym just randomly “sold.” You could say I was at Parsons Training due to an intervention, so I figured I would have to struggle through this and make it work for me. Well, as life moved on, I leaned you can’t believe everything with you see depicted by pop culture. Whether I worked with Jon or Christa, I quickly understood that being a personal trainer is more about you and not about the trainer. No matter who I worked with and what kind of background they had, I learned to be successful in the business that you not only had to be knowledgable, you also had to have a good eye. One trainer pointed out my wobbly feet and suggested some exercises. Another trainer pointed out that I needed to do some specific stretches to help with my feet and calves. And of course, Jon started getting me into Olympic Training when he felt it was time for me to start doing some different techniques, forcing me to work my entire body. All of these things were far different than what I expected. I expect trainers to be predators at a gym, lunging at fresh meat that was doing their curls wrong (namely women) and either getting a little too touchy feely (also primarily with women) or a little too condescending (with the men). But man, was I ever wrong.
First and foremost, choosing your personal trainer could be a long and drawn out process. For me, I was quite lucky when I walked into my situation, for I already had a referral from my parents and my aunt and uncle. But what about the people that were not quite as fortunate as me? Well, this is the million dollar question, and you have to be a good consumer to really know how to go about the process. Fortunately for me, Jon had a very strong background in training, from training Marines, school age kids and then adults while even teaching potential trainers at one point at Pima Community College here in Tucson. He also added the Olympic Certifications (along with fellow trainer John Shaver) to his repertoire. Now of course, all of this gives me the incentive to really listen to him, even though some publications state that certifications are not always the true definition of a personal trainer. https://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/5-things-you-dont-know-about-personal-training-certs.html Most people can get certified if you have the right amount of money and time. The true measure of a personal trainer and choosing one is largely based on their willingness to learn and adapt their teaching methods, and also the ability to make changes to their own regimen. Jon rarely taught anyone Olympic style weight lifting when I first started in 2012. Now with the right equipment and certification, he pushes long time clients to get into this methodology when he feels they are ready. And you know he has to stay on top of this, because this is a certification that needs renewal every couple years. It also helps that he tries to stay on top of trends and try new workout combinations to see if they are effective or not. Someone that is good with variety and quality is a good personal trainer to work with. And also, don’t always look at the exterior. Sure, we expect trainers to be in good shape but if they do not have bulging veins and perfectly cut muscle, this is not exactly a bad thing. Mostly means they are working with clients as opposed to fixating on themselves all the time, not to say you have some trainers that looked like they belong in a fitness magazine even without the touch of Photoshop.
When looking for that trainer, you are going to get a lot of suggestions on how to do it. It seems rather sexist, but women’s magazines and websites seem to treat looking for a personal trainer a little differently, probably out of personal safety and such since personal training is a field heavily dominated by men. https://www.womenshealthmag.com/fitness/first-personal-training-session I found this part of the research rather interesting, for the differences that go between the sexes is a little startling. One good example I found amongst the men’s searches seem more clinical. https://www.menshealth.com/fitness/7-things-you-need-to-know-before-hiring-a-personal-trainer/slide/7 Now, I’m just gonna go through all of the best points I gathered from some of the articles I looked at and ask yourself these questions about the person you potentially want to start a gym-mance with (see Webster’s I create stupid words as well). 1.) Does their training style mesh with the goals you want to work on? 2.) Is the trainer actually listening to what you want from the relationship? 3.) And are you willing and capable of letting someone push, prod and sometimes psychologically evaluate you from time to time? You have to remember this, you are going to be put into a vulnerable position and you have to feel comfortable with that said person. Are you willing to let another human being experience your failures, scold you when not following the program and also genuinely want you to succeed? (when I say scold, I mean they get on you when you tell them you ate two pizzas and drank a frat house worth of beer the previous night because your alma mater was whooping the rival or you decided to fully encapsulate yourself into the old school Irish wake) So this really leads to the first question, the one you must really ask yourself….am I willing to go through this and make my money count? Personal training can be expensive, but it is also an investment into your future. It is an investment to save you doctor visits due to lack of flexibility and strength in your body. It is an investment to aid in feeling better about yourself and how you look. It is also an investment to create good habits, which can allow you to stay healthier lats in life. So would you rather pay now while you are still somewhat healthy or pay later due to the fact you never asked the question to begin with.
One of the great things about Parsons is they do have a special gym membership that allows you to get pre-made workouts that you can modify if necessary. You also have an actual trainer at your disposal if you have any questions. This is also a good way feel out not only the process but also get a look at the potential trainer you might want to work with. Sometimes a little investment such as a monthly membership might aid you in the search for the elusive personal trainer. Much like searching for a good mechanic or hair stylist, always look around and keep your options open.
Check out my YouTube Blog as well!:
About Parsons Training
Parsons Training is a Tucson leader in fitness and personal wellness training. Every personal trainer with this company designs and implements effective fitness programs for their clients; these programs serve as the foundation for good health, fitness, and wellness. Additional information about Parsons Training is available at http://www.parsonspersonaltraining.com
Any views or opinions presented in this blog are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of the company.
About Our Blog
Steve, a Parsons Training Client, went from 400 pounds to Running half-marathons, from lifting pizzas to lifting hundreds of pounds through training with us.