At least once a week I see a strange name squeeze itself into my already over-crunched schedule. I go into each of these sessions ambitious and hopeful that the person in front of me, the person who decided to take an hour out of their life and mine, is there to take the first step in fitness: starting a well-planned personal training program. More often than not, however, they say that what they want from the session is a program that they can do on their own. If it worked like that, if I or any other Personal Trainer could deliver a well-versed, comprehensive fitness plan to a complete stranger in under an hour, have them execute it with disciplined self-motivation, and I could somehow monitor their progress from afar, fitness would be easy. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work that way.
Personal Trainers ARE Professionals
Imagine having a complicated legal problem, going to a lawyer for an hour, a FREE hour at that, and asking her to give you a plan to prep for and win a court battle. Sounds absurd, right? That’s not any crazier than going to a Personal Trainer, someone schooled in the ins-and-outs of changing bodies, a professional in their field, and asking them to put into place a program that you can do on your own…all in a complimentary hour of their time.
The Free Session is an Audition for You and Your Trainer
All of that being said, training is expensive. And who wants to commit to 75-sessions with someone they don’t mesh with? Treat your session earnestly. Investigate your trainer. Ask them their experience in the field. Look at how they look. Being a physical industry, judging a trainer on their appearance should be mandatory. Would you take your taxes to an accountant who is being audited? No. Then why would you trust someone who looks any less than what your idea of exceptional is?
Use your session as an audition, both for yourself and for the person working you out. Is this something you want to do, something you can do? Is this someone you want to undergo these challenges with? These are much better questions than the simple, What does this machine do? or the ever-popular, How do I train my core?
Mutual Respect Goes a Long Way
Trainers at big gyms, however exclusive the location may be, are decidedly overworked, seeing upwards of 10 to 15 different clients a day. And those are the members that committed to training. Those 10 to 15 are the people who invested in building a relationship with a professional that will hold them accountable for the plan they put in place.
In the same way that your trainer understands that all of this is new to you, that you’re intimidated, and that you’ve come to them for all kinds of help, you need to understand that however much they want to work with you, however much they have to say, and however far they can take your body, the complimentary training session is only an hour long, if that. It is your responsibility to ensure that you make the most of it.
Make a Free Session Invaluable
Arrive on time. Have a clear vision of what you expect from training. Trainers know that not everyone they work with can afford to pay for fitness, no matter how much they wish they could. At the very least, come in with specific and realistic goals (‘losing 10-pounds’ is specific; ‘toning-up’ is not).
Most importantly, LISTEN! We’ve all seen how infectious exercise is. So many times I see an enthusiastic member I trained the day before, someone who couldn’t afford training, eagerly back for more…doing the same exact exercises we did yesterday…not having rested enough to recover…and futzing on form…I wish she could have afforded training…but what I wish more is that she would have at least listened to me during an hour I didn’t actually have free!!