A male personal trainer may be just what the doctor ordered for a woman who thinks that only a female trainer could help her reach her fitness or weight loss goals.
When a woman decided to hire me as a personal trainer, I’d like to think it was because she observed me working with other clients and was impressed, or because she heard great things about me, or because she liked my style when I took her through a complimentary session.
I’d like to think that being female had nothing to do with these women choosing me as their personal trainer.
If you’re a woman seeking a personal trainer, don’t rule out a male instructor.
You may think that only a woman knows your struggles, but let me ask you this:
Who might know your weight loss struggles more? A female trainer who has always been a size 6?
Or a male trainer who, five years ago, began transforming his obese body into the lean buff machine you see today?
I’m not suggesting you dig into the background of every personal trainer.
But you shouldn’t automatically assume that a trainer, by virtue of her gender, will “understand” you more.
You should look at personal trainers on a case by case basis.
Chemistry is a big issue; do you hit it off and feel comfortable around that male instructor, even though he has never had chunky thighs?
Never mind personal experience; he may know all the science behind how to best lean out heavy thighs.
And the woman trainer with the perfect body may know only the bare minimum of exercise science to pass her personal trainer certification exam.
There are male trainers who will take it easy on a female client, yet really work over a male client.
The female client will not be getting her money’s worth; she will be short-changed, so be leery of any men who seem to patronize their women clientele.
But interestingly, I’ve seen so many female personal trainers take it too easy on their female—and male—clients. A lot of it has to do with personality, not gender.
I know a male trainer who is wasting his MALE client’s money. I don’t know if he feels sorry for the client because he’s visually impaired enough to require a cane, or if he’s like this with all or most of his other clients.
He allows the client to talk endlessly during sessions and never pushes him, and after a few years, the pear-shaped client still looks about the same.
There’s a female trainer who has a bunch of certifications plus a relevant college degree, yet she allows one of her female clients to talk endlessly DURING strength training sets, and rest times between sets are excessive due to the compulsive talking—all while the trainer says very little. This is not a leader.
Look for a trainer who’s a leader and not afraid to make the client hurt—in a good sense, of course.
We don’t want a trainer who insists you jump on your sprained ankle, but one who realizes the importance of taking you well out of your comfort zone—with safety in mind.
If you want to whip your butt into shape and develop a lot of upper body strength, I don’t recommend you choose a female personal trainer—or male—who has a mousy voice and gives their clients easy work.
Make sure the instructor’s temperament works well with yours. If you want someone shouting in your face, this approach comes in both genders.
What do you want in a personal trainer, and see which one at your gym has these traits; don’t make assumptions simply based on their gender.
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.