You Need a Coach, Not a Rep-Counter

“The best personal trainer is yourself because you know your body more than anyone else.”

Last summer, when I was doing self-myofascial release on my outer hip with a foam roller at the Aztec Recreation Center, I watch a personal trainer working with a middle-age, female client. During the ten-minute observation, I noticed that the trainer was not doing something that most other trainers do at other gyms as he was having his client doing bodyweight squats and multi-planar lunges with a medicine ball.

He wasn’t counting reps.

Instead he was giving his client constructive feedback and observing her movements. “When you do the side lunge, keep your feet pointing forward, and hold the medicine ball out in front of you to keep your balance,” he explained as he demonstrated the exercise. I was pretty impressed with his communication skills as I listened.

Since gyms and the personal training industry will be busy within the next three months as millions of people flock to gyms, boot camps and other training centers to get in shape (as opposed to STAY in shape), understand that you do not to hire a REP COUNTER.

Do you really want to pay someone $90 per hour to count for you?

Since 1999, I have heard dozens of trainers in different gyms and outdoor settings stand around with their arms folded across their chests, stare at their client and count reps–forward or backward. “Five…four…three…okay, two more! Two more! ONNNNNNEEEE…Good job, Barbara! Have a cookie!” How many times have you seen or heard this? Is this what clients are paying them to do?


Get a free cookie with every session! We'll count for you!

Modern personal fitness training goes beyond bodybuilding, counting reps or demonstrating exercises. Because the market for gyms and personal training have evolved from bodybuilding in the 1970s to current functional training, corrective exercise and sports performance training, fitness professionals must not only have a strong foundation of human movement, but also must have exceptional — not just good — communication and listening skills, business skills and work ethics.

Hire a fitness professional who understands your needs, follows up with you at least once a week and knows how handle your problem within the scope of practice. If any trainer is pushing you to buy more sessions without explaining why or buy supplements and snack bars, you should get another trainer immediately.

Remember, fitness professionals provide the first line of defense against injury and disease by helping you adopting a more active lifestyle. Ninety percent of us who choose to work in the field do it because we love to help people.

Also, learn to count on your own. We got better things to do.

Like salsa-dancing!


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