Obese people must know the warning signs when hiring a personal trainer or they’ll waste their money and never lose weight.
Here’s how you can know how to choose a personal trainer. I’m a former certified personal trainer and I’ve had many obese clients.
If you’re obese and have decided to hire a personal trainer, here are some warning signs that a particular personal trainer is not right for you:
1. The personal trainer is significantly overweight.
Though on one hand, the obese client may feel that such a personal trainer “knows what I’m struggling with,” ask yourself if this particular instructor knows how to successfully keep excess weight off.
In theory, he or she does. But it will really help the plus size client if the personal trainer shows evidence of firsthand experience with weight control.
This includes a personal trainer who was once “fat” or even moderately overweight, and is now at a healthy weight.
Otherwise, ask yourself why would you want to pay this person to help you lose weight?
At the same time, be aware that a thin instructor may be thin due to youth or an anomalous metabolism, and may have no firsthand experience with adhering to healthy eating or even much exercise.
Choose a trainer who sticks to healthy eating and whose physique indicates commitment to exercise.
Or to put it another way, you can easily picture that person effortlessly shoveling snow and then working out at the gym later that day without a hitch.
Also, a little extra weight on a personal trainer is fine if the bigger picture looks good. Look at the entire picture; they may be thick in the waist, but how’s the rest of the body?
- Is it strong looking, or out-of-shape looking?
- Muscular (or toned) arms, or shapeless soft arms?
- Perhaps this “solid” trainer can actually do pull-ups or perform jumping routines like a kangaroo.
2. Personal trainers who don’t seem comfortable answering a lot of your questions…
…and seem to have a one-size-fits-all response to why you’re obese.
Multiple factors contribute to obesity; though, in my professional opinion, the mainstay in obesity is lack of exercise and too much processed food.
A good personal trainer will ask the prospective overweight client about sleeping habits, any diagnosed medical conditions, and what kind of exercise the individual has already been doing that isn’t getting the job done.
3. A personal trainer who has very plus-size clients doing strange, oddball routines.
These routines appear to be more of an attempt to get the attention of other gym members (and possibly more clients), or an attempt to just jump on the bandwagon of the latest fad in exercise programming: balance drills combined with weightlifting.
I recently observed a personal trainer have his obese, middle-aged female client standing on a very unstable wobble board, while at the same time she was pulling the handles of a pulley machine towards her.
The resistance was the pull-towards aspect. She was so unsteady on the board that she had trouble pulling the handles towards her, and eventually fell off the board and onto the floor!
The very heavy person should observe how personal trainers work with their clients of all sizes.
Funky-looking drills, moves that require strange balancing acts, one-footed hopping and other unconventional routines, should be red flags.
These have not been proven by science to be more effective than traditional exercise at burning fat or improving fitness and health.
4. Personal trainers who engage clients in conversation while the client is performing the routine.
An obese person needs to focus on good form and good breathing habits. This won’t happen if the client is enmeshed in socializing while doing a routine.
If you have a lot of weight to lose, there is a personal trainer who is just right for you. Shop around and be patient in your search. Don’t feel you must hire the first instructor you see.
Lorra Garrick is a former personal trainer certified through the American Council on Exercise. At Bally Total Fitness she trained women and men of all ages for fat loss, muscle building, fitness and improved health.