Qualities and Skills to Look for in a Fitness Trainer
Rick Lademann and Jay Weitzner
The number of personal trainers in America will jump 24 percent by 2020, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. As the field of fitness expands, so does the challenge of finding the right personal trainer. “It’s already difficult and confusing because the market is diluted now,” says Rick Lademann, co-owner of Beyond Motion, in Naples. Lademann, who began learning about the science and art behind how the body becomes bigger, faster and stronger in his 20s, has more than 18 years of performance enhancement experience. He also has several important “make sures” for everyone’s fitness trainer wish list.
“A weekend certification for personal fitness trainer is easy to obtain, so make sure you select a trainer that has the proper schooling and experience behind them. You’ll want to put your trust in someone whose passion is health and wellness, which is why their background should coincide with that. A degree in exercise science, as well as past experience, is essential,” says Lademann.
The best trainer is not always the cheapest one. It’s important to invest in yourself; therefore, be ready to make a personal and financial commitment. Be ready to train at least twice a week. A good trainer motivates clients by creating change and helping them to achieve and surpass all of their goals. In order to do this, consistency is essential.
Jay Weitzner’s business is the mechanics and physiology of exercise. The owner of Symmetry Precision Fitness, in Naples, is a resistance training and muscle system specialist with 11 years experience in muscle activation techniques (MAT). Weitzner, who knows the science of the body’s muscular system, evaluates and treats muscle systems to improve and restore function.
Weitzner recommends that a personal trainer should be extremely competent in the study of forces; have an absolute understanding of where muscles attach, the joints they cross and which sides of the axis they lie; and possess a high competency in human physiology. “With this type of background, knowledge and experience, your trainer will be able choose the best exercises that are right for your body. Also, make sure they are committed to continuing education,” he says.
“Knowing the science allows the trainer to understand the client on a level beneath the skin. It’s more than how the trainer sees the client move, it’s about what’s happening inside. You’re not exercising at your full potential if all of your muscles aren’t communicating effectively with your brain. If only 50 percent of your muscles are functioning, then you could literally double your strength with MAT,” advises Weitzner.
Both Lademann and Weitzner agree that trends and the latest fads are not the best form of training. In fact, Weitzner is so adamant about this that the tag line for Symmetry Precision Fitness is, “No Fads. All Fitness.”
“The masses unfortunately don’t always get it right. They try to find the easiest way they can, rather than looking for an individualized plan that focuses on an individual’s specific needs. I tell all my clients to look at the elliptical or treadmill user in front of you next time you’re at the gym. Has the person you’ve seen on that machine changed their body composition? If they look the same, it’s because they need a combination of cardio and strength training to create ultimate change, and their trainer didn’t put that in their plan. You have to be prepared to use both modalities to see real change,” notes Lademann.
Both Lademann and Weitzner emphasize that there is no fast track to optimal fitness. “It’s a marathon, not a sprint. The key is finding someone you want to do that journey with,” they say.