Cliché alert: For better or for worse, this is the new normal. All we have now are memories of what seems like a distant past. One aspect of my daily life that I took for granted was the simple act of going to the gym and working with a personal trainer.
It was my sanctuary, my fortress of solitude, and my absolute favorite place to be. My problems all ceased to exist for that hour or two that I was in an exercise class or trying to hoist some ungodly amount of weight above my head. Much like the rest of you, I’ve been forced to rethink my approach to working out. I can’t say that I’ve been all that successful at carving out a new workout routine for myself.
How can gym rats and weekend warriors like me cope with this new reality?
I sat down with Luis Benitez who is a personal trainer, competitive weightlifter, and the host of the Trainers Talk Training podcast to see what he had to say about it.
We covered a wide range of topics, so If you’d prefer to listen to the interview and hear it straight from the horse’s mouth, click play below. If you want to listen to use timestamps and get some extra information, visit the pages for part 1 and part 2.
For the rest of you, I’m going to highlight a few key points of the conversation that resonated with me. I recommend that you listen to the full interview at some point to hear Luis’ advice in detail. If you’re short on time or prefer to read, continue reading. I’ll quickly go over a few key points.
Look for an Online Trainer with These Qualifications
If you are not a self-starter or a fitness guru, you will likely need some help making sure that you’re not just wasting your time. Luis talked about the difference between trainers with face-to-face training experience and their counterparts who lack it. Trainers with face-to-face training experience are better at anticipating and removing potential roadblocks for their clients.
I didn’t think about how important that was until he mentioned it. I’ve signed up for a few online training programs in my day. All I usually got was prerecorded videos with no feedback or personal interaction with the content’s creator.
My key takeaway: Find a trainer with in-person training experience and the proper credentials.
Find a Trainer That Will Interact with You
Exercise programs are not one-size-fits-all. During our conversation, Luis talked about how and why he interacts with his clients so frequently. He’s constantly working to tailor his programs to each client. Whether it’s a phone call, a live 1-on-1 virtual workout, or a Zoom call, he tries to stay in constant contact with his clients.
In this age of e-workouts, contact with your fitness professional is crucial to reaching your goals. This point stood out to me because I’m used to trainers unenthusiastically counting off numbers. They halfway paid attention to my form and progress. But even if they weren’t paying attention to how I did the exercise, I at least had them there to model the exercise for me a few times. Now, it’s imperative to find a trainer who can/will accurately critique your form, level up your workouts, and tailor a program to you.
My key takeaway: Communication is the key to success. If your trainer isn’t willing to give you tailored feedback and actionable advice to help you improve, he/she might not be the trainer for you.
Trainers Are a Good Resource, but Consult an Expert
Most trainers have some idea of how you should or shouldn’t eat. That still doesn’t make them suitable substitutes for a nutritionist. Luis emphasized that even though he has a nutrition certification, he does not consider himself a nutritionist. He explicitly stated that he got the certification to further his own knowledge on the subject. He always refers clients seeking in-depth nutrition information to his network of health professionals.
My key takeaway: Trainers can be a good resource for basic nutrition information. If you’re looking for personalized meal advice and in-depth analysis, you’ll likely be better off consulting a nutritionist.