Choosing the right personal trainer is a difficult decision that too many people take lightly.
After all, the person you hire as your trainer is responsible for keeping you safe, giving you the appropriate level of challenge, and pushing you toward your goals. If your personal trainer isn’t doing that, that’s a big problem.
Here’s a snippet of what Andy had to say on the matter:
If you hire a coach, you’re hiring them to be responsible for finding the right level and the right things for you to do.
In this episode, Ryan and Andy draw inspiration from a recent article posted by a friend of ours (link to the article is below) on choosing a personal trainer, and add their own ideas into the mix.
They also touch on some ideas regarding some great conditioning exercises.
Be sure to catch the next episode by subscribing to the GMB Show:
- (01:44) Most of this episode is inspired by this recent post by Benny Fergusson on how to choose a good trainer.
- (03:08) A review from a super cool guy from Chile
- (04:36) What does Ryan think of jumping rope?
Just watch out for light fixtures when jumping rope indoors…
- (07:26) Sprints are great for conditioning but how can you get started with sprints?
- (08:20) Why you shouldn’t use sprints as a “finisher”
- (08:40) Programming recommendations for sprinting
- (09:48) Don’t push yourself so hard you’re afraid you’re going to pull something
- (10:11) In the beginning especially, it’s really not a competition with anyone, including yourself
- (10:38) Focus on your breathing
You should be able to get your breathing under control within 20 seconds after a sprint.
- (12:07) Verity Bradford, one of our GMB Trainer candidates, recently wrote about finding us and joining our trainers’ program on her blog.
- (12:20) Ryan’s recent interview with Benny Fergusson
- (12:39) “11 Brilliant Tips to Find Super Personal Training in Melbourne”
- (13:15) Your coach should have a process that leads toward results
- (14:25) Some people are great coaches at some things and not others – choose carefully based on your goals
It’s most important that the trainer has a set of experiences they want you to go through.
- (17:11) Our programs are not very rigid. They depend a lot on autoregulation.
- (18:12) If you’re working with someone as your trainer, you want to make sure they’re making adjustments individually for you
- (20:10) The coach should have a consistent focus toward a particular goal
- (21:05) A lot of novice trainers want to show off by throwing lots of new exercises at you
There’s a billion gadgets in the gym – you don’t have to use all of them.
- (23:05) Drywall
- (24:23) What the GMB Trainer Apprenticeship is all about
- (25:59) “It’s not just the skills, it’s not just the training, it’s also the business”
- (29:09) You wouldn’t go to an olympic swimming coach if you want to learn handstands
Be sure to catch the next episode by subscribing to the GMB Show:
Andy: All right. Breaker, breaker one-niner at the interweb. Get your ears on and get your eyes on for the GMB Fitness Skills Show. Hopefully you’re not too freaked out by Ryan’s snake charmer.
So over the next 25 minutes plus or minus, we’re going to be talking about all kinds of good stuff, how to get strong, how to get agile, how to do it in a way that you actually enjoy. Go figure, you can actually enjoy this stuff and yeah, so that’s it. My name is Andy, here with Ryan, head coach for GMB and apparently he has had his caffeine today.
Ryan: I actually just – I just had my caffeine.
Ryan: Actually, what it is, is it’s all of the barbecue that I had last night for dinner. My folks are in town and I will tell you what, we hit the barbecue last night. It was so good. So yeah, I’m good to go today. Ready for my workout later.
Andy: Man …
Ryan: Hercules, Hercules, Hercules.
Andy: I miss the barbecue.
Ryan: Barbecue, that’s some good stuff man, and yeah. So what’s up man? What’s going on?
Andy: Today we’re going to be talking about – this is actually the first time we’ve ever done a show like this. Most of what we’re going to be talking today is inspired by a blog post by somebody who doesn’t even really blog much. But your friend Benny from Cohesion Gym in Melbourne wrote this really great post on what to look for in a trainer.
So we’re going to be talking about some ideas based on that and some of our experience too because we think it’s a really important topic. If you’re looking for advice of any sort in health or fitness or really in anything, sort of some of the things that you should be thinking about, yeah, that’s basically what we’re going to talk about.
But before that, it’s Q and A time!
Ryan: Q and A!
Andy: You ready?
Ryan: Oh, I’m always ready.
Ryan: Always nervous about the question that is, yes.
Andy: Well, to enhance your sense of nervousness, I’m actually going to delay the question by reading a review. I apologize. We haven’t actually checked all of the reviews. When you go to iTunes and you look at reviews, like you see the reviews for the country that you’re in and it’s really kind of a pain to check other countries. But I finally got around to it and so I want to just shout out to people who have left some reviews.
Here’s one from Janumanji. I’m totally probably screwing that up but I apologize. Anyway, thank you.
Ryan: It’s quite possibly the coolest name I’ve ever heard in my life, by the way.
Andy: It may very well be. Rating five stars, he says, “I’ve been following GMB for a while after two programs, and checking the Posse blog all the time. Funny enough, I didn’t catch the podcast. Finally I found the link, picked a random episode. Funny again you guys are saying that nobody fro Chile or Japan has written any reviews. Well, boom, I’m from Chile and I’m writing this from Japan right now. Mic dropped. The show has great info.”
Ryan: Dude, how cool is that.
Andy: A clear point of view about some movement, great energy. I haven’t listened to them all yet but I will. Keep going.
Thank you! Thank you Janumanji. Man, so glad that you found the podcast after following our stuff for so long and we knocked Chile and Japan right out of the …
Ryan: Done! Done!
Andy: Boom, done.
Ryan: That’s awesome.
Andy: I’m clicking the box right now. Out! All right. Chile and Japan, done with. Thank you.
So yeah, if you like this, leave us a review on iTunes because it helps people find us and it makes us feel important about ourselves.
Andy: All right. So questions.
Andy: Does that heighten your sense of nervous anticipation?
Andy: Your anxiety?
Ryan: I’m sweating bullets.
Andy: All right, good. Let me ask you this. Because we get this occasionally from people. What do you think about jumping rope?
Ryan: Jumping rope I think is great. My daughter is awesome at jumping rope. That’s what I think. Yeah, I actually really, really like jumping rope and I actually use that every once in a while in my own workouts. I might use it for warm-up or I actually just might use it just for my cardio.
Andy: Which we always love the cardio.
Ryan: We already covered that, but yeah, I mean I really like it. I have an awesome, awesome rope. It’s a leather rope with …
Andy: Get the leather ones if you can find them.
Ryan: Leather is awesome with the ball bearings in it for the speed grips and you got to love jumping, skipping, wherever you are in the world and want to call it. Yeah, I like to mix it up a little bit, pretend that I’m a boxer. But I use it again for warm-up sometimes, to get the blood going, and then sometimes whatever I’m doing afterwards, I will just skip. I will just maybe just go for like five minutes or something like that, which actually is a quite long – it’s quite long for – if you’re not used to it.
But I think it’s a really good way to do it. It’s also great because if there are – if you can’t, heaven forbid, run – I hate to say that but if you do sprints or you’re used to running or something like that and you don’t have the opportunity to do it because maybe it’s raining or you’re in a hotel room or something like that, take a jump rope with you.
Andy: Just watch out for light fixtures. That’s one I found out the hard way. Watch out for light fixtures when you’re jump roping indoors.
Ryan: That’s a very good point, very good point, especially in Japan.
Ryan: Yeah, I love skipping. I love it. I love it. Jarlo actually, he was skipping for a while. I don’t – well, actually because he was getting read for the big climb. He actually put that on hold but I assume he will probably go back to skipping a bit. So, good stuff, good stuff.
Andy: Yeah. One thing I like about jumping rope is that I can’t think about anything while I’m doing it. It screws my timing straight up. So it’s like an instant meditative kind of practice, right? Like I can’t think about stuff and keep my rhythm. So it helps me kind of like clear out the thoughts. I don’t know.
Ryan: Go white boy! Go white boy!
Andy: So – yeah, right. So definitely yeah, get a good jump rope and try it out. I mean it’s not going to be like the one thing that will change your life or anything. But yeah, I highly recommend anyone do it.
Ryan: I’m glad you brought that up. I’m going to skip today, I decided. I’m going to do some of that.
Andy: And since you mentioned it too, we get questions sometimes about sprints and we’ve said before and we write it in all of our programs too that sprints are a great exercise. It’s probably one of the best things you can do for conditioning.
But how can someone get started with sprints? Because a lot of times, you will see sprint programs and it will just be like yeah, just do – basically just starting in the middle. It’s starting with somebody who has already been doing sprints. How would you suggest somebody who maybe does not have a lot of cardio capacity, someone who has not done much running, whose probably form is terrible? How would suggest somebody start sprinting to add into a program?
Ryan: Yeah. I would suggest doing it at the end of your program and rather than think about it being like a finisher – a lot of people talk about finishers. So it’s just going to completely just kill you. I wouldn’t do that. I would actually take it down a couple of notches and instead of trying to run as fast as you can, just pick a distance.
It could be 10 yards. I mean it could just be a very short distance but just aim for that distance and complete it, so that you’re breathing hard but not to the point where you think you’re going to throw up.
Then I would suggest only doing it maybe a total of three times, making sure you give yourself a break in between. It’s about …
Andy: Yeah, definitely take those breaks in the beginning too. Yeah.
Ryan: And really don’t go all out at all. I mean just try and complete that distance. Take a break and then try one more and then take a break. If you’re feeling it, then maybe do another one. But I would say about three and then instead of trying to add more sprints to it, I would suggest as you go – and we’re talking over multiple sessions, workouts. Then start to go a little bit faster.
But I would suggest trying to feel what’s going on in your body. So what I mean by that is if you’ve never sprinted before, the next day how do you feel? You’re really going to feel it in the legs obviously.
But if there’s any discomfort to the point where you’re like – I think I – I might pull something if I go a little faster. Then make sure you don’t go that fast. I mean it sounds silly but that’s what it’s about.
Andy: Yeah. It’s kind of like what we talked about before when you’re starting back to a program after injury. Let your first few sessions be like a trial run. Kind of take stock of things and see what level you are at. If you’ve never done it before, you don’t know what level you should be at and the same thing when you’re coming back from injury.
So the first few times, it’s not a competition with anyone or even yourself. It’s just trying to figure it out and like we talk about with all the skill exercises, same thing here. Start out by taking the level down a little bit at first and finding where you can do it comfortably and well. From there, start building up intensity.
Ryan: We talked about breathing in our last show. This is a good opportunity for you to really focus on the breathing. If you’re going to be panting, you’re going to be huffing and puffing after you run your sprint. But again, it shouldn’t be to the point where you can’t catch your breath and you feel like you’re running so hard, that you’re going to pass out. You don’t want that.
Actually, I think you should be able to get your breath back. So get it under control within 20 seconds at the most when you’re first starting out. That’s what I think you should be aiming for and that’s just a rough number. I mean some other people I’m sure will say something different but that’s what I think.
Within 20 seconds, be able to get your breath back in the very beginning and that will allow you to pace yourself.
Andy: Yeah. I think that’s a really good rule of thumb. Another thing that when I coach martial artists a lot is we would be doing conditioning and you would say, “Break time!” and everyone would put their hands on their knees and double over and be – just don’t do that. Don’t ever do that. You know why? It’s like five times harder to breathe.
Andy: Seriously, if you’re trying to catch your breath, stand up like a man or lady. Don’t bend over and screw yourself up. That’s something that if you’re not used to it, you might think that that – it might feel better but it’s not helping.
Andy: So with that said, let’s talk a little bit about finding coaches, finding trainers. It’s kind of interesting because not too long ago, one of our trainer apprentices Verity wrote on her personal blog about how she found you and started working with you and why she decided to become a member of our program and that was really interesting.
Then a couple of weeks ago, I guess, you interviewed Benny for our Alpha Posse interview and then he posted this and you shared it with us. It was just a really great fucking article about – what’s the title of it called? It is 11 Brilliant Tips to Find Super Personal Training in Melbourne and you can just totally get rid of the “in Melbourne” part because all of these apply no matter where you’re at.
We’re going to have the link on the page for this episode. So I highly recommend everyone to click through and read it because it’s really, really good. But specifically, we’re going to talk about a couple of points from it today.
Ryan: Yeah. So instead of covering all 11, there are three actually that we’re going to focus on.
Let’s just get right into it. So we’re also going to look at tip number three and tip number three, what he wrote is that they, meaning the particular coach, have a process to your results. OK? It’s very, very important.
It’s actually related to a tip that we’re going to be talking about in a little bit and so basically what this means is that they’re very clear and they have a process that they want you to go through in order to get your results. So this could be dealing with weight loss. It could be dealing with particular skill acquisition, anything, anything.
There needs to be a very clear process for you and looking at how do they break things down. They might be a great coach but if you don’t understand what they’re talking about, they might not be the good coach for you. So they have to be clear with you and so this is a very individual thing actually.
Andy: Yeah. Yeah. I agree with that. There’s really two parts of it. Have a process and for your results, right? Some people are great coaches at some things but not others.
Some people are really good at teaching some things and not others and that might – some people might resist a statement like that, but think about it. When you’re talking about teaching, like who’s going to be a great teacher of both math and art? Probably not too many people, if you think about like teaching in school or something.
But it’s the same thing when it comes to fitness or whatever. The people that are maybe specialized in like weight loss may not be the best sport-specific trainers, right? Or somebody who coached a lot of sprinters may not be the very best person to teach you how to lose a little bit of body fat, get a little stronger and be able to just move better for what you want.
So make sure that the person doesn’t just have some process that works for some people and some things, but that it works for your goals and like Ryan said about process, it’s just really important that they have a set of experiences that they want you to go through. It’s not just some theory or some idea or some plan, like, well, we’re just going to lift a lot of weight and hopefully over time, you’re going to get better at it. That’s not really a process. That’s a conjecture and it doesn’t have any plan to progression in it, right?
So you got to make sure there’s a process and that it’s a process that works for what you were trying to do. I think both of those were really important.
Ryan: So, yeah, let’s move on to the next tip. I’m actually going to switch it around a little bit and instead of going in order. So we mentioned that they have that process but it’s also very individual. So looking at what he wrote, tip number seven, they understand your individuality. This is extremely important because there shouldn’t be a cookie cutter program.
So depending on where you go, sometimes you will find where instructors or coaches will put you in a group and you will all do the same thing.
If you’re looking for a good coach and you need individual attention, that means that they should have a program that’s tailored to you and that’s very, very important because we’re all different. That includes nutrition, maybe mobility, stretching, and the actual skill work that you want to accomplish.
Andy: Yeah. That’s why – so we always have to clarify when we talk about this too because working with a coach is different from working on your own and following a program. We also make programs but they’re not very rigid either, right? Because our programs are set up in a way where you learn to auto regulate. You learn to control the amount of intensity and workload for your own progress and your own level.
But they’re also very individual in that we give you not just – we don’t just say do five jumps at this height or whatever. We give you a range of things to work within and that range increases over time but you have to learn how to adjust it to you.
In essence what you’re doing is you’re learning to coach yourself a little bit. But a good coach who you work with in person or online, but someone who’s coaching you directly is going to make probably more changes because they’re going to be looking at your progress after every session. They’re going to be making adjustments as you go along.
So it’s a little different situation but yeah, if you’re going to work with somebody as a trainer, you want to make sure that they’re making those adjustments individually for you.
Ryan: And this is good. I mean to kind of use myself as an example, we have classes here in Japan that I teach. The thing is, is what we’re doing has a basic template. But the thing is, is I’m able – because I’m right there with that person, I can change it up and give them a little bit of advice that matches what they need to accomplish.
So let’s say somebody is, I don’t know, doing – working on the L-sit but they’re not ready for it. Then we take it down and use regressions and so basically match their level.
That’s what you need to look for in a trainer. Are they able to do that? Even in the group setting, are they able to match your level and help you to get where you need to go?
Andy: Yeah. Yeah, they have to be able to look at where you’re at and make sure that the thing that they’re asking you to do is appropriate to where you’re at. That’s the thing.
If you’re following a program that’s already set, then you’re responsible for that and hopefully you found a program that teaches you how to do that well. But if you’re hiring a coach, then that’s what you’re hiring them for, right? To be responsible for finding the right level and finding the right things for you to do, right?
So yeah, if they can’t do that for you, then you kind of wonder what the hell they are there for.
Ryan: Exactly. Good job! You’re doing a great job! Welcome aboard! Yeah.
Ryan: Moving on, yeah, we’re going to go back. Tip number five, this is a good one. They’re not an illusion – illusionist. I messed it up again. Anyway, illusionist.
So basically what he’s saying when he wrote this was that they have a specific goal and the continue to help you work towards that goal instead of maybe going to your session and they change everything up and the next time they change everything up and then they change everything up.
So it’s a consistent focus towards a specific goal and until that is achieved. Now during that time though, a good coach, what they’re going to be able to do, is make slight changes according to what needs to happen. So maybe you get an injury. Maybe it’s not training-related. Maybe you fell down a flight of stairs while you’re drunk. I don’t know.
But what they can do is help you to make slight changes that are still helping you get towards your goal but they’re not completely changing up your program, so that it’s going in another direction.
Andy: Yeah, that’s really important because we say that they should be able to make changes but it doesn’t mean that they’re just like randomly throwing crap out at you all the time because here’s the thing is a lot of novice trainers, they want to show off. Unfortunately, they want to show off. They want to show what a good trainer they are.
Oh, look, I gave you 15 new exercises. It feels great. Oh, look at this. It’s so much fun. Every time, it’s different. But you find that you’re not going anywhere usually with a program like that, because it’s not a program.
So they’re not an illusionist. They’re not entertaining you or trying to show off or show something that maybe isn’t delivering. It’s not a smoke and mirrors thing. They’re giving you progress. That’s what you want. You don’t want something that’s like oh, look, it’s here and now it’s not.
Ryan: Exactly. It’s another thing along those lines is they don’t over-teach. So a lot of times, when you go to a class or even individual private training, it’s just a matter of doing the work. So it might not be very sexy. You go and OK, today, this is what we’re going to do. You do it and it’s not some magic thing that they’re showing you and here’s a new little trick that you can use. It’s going to help you get whatever.
Sometimes simply, get it upside down if you’re working on the handstand and hold it in for longer periods of time and sweating and doing the work. That’s it.
So instead of like Andy said, wowing you with the new special super duper …
Andy: Yeah, there are a billion gadgets in the gym and you don’t have to use all of them. Like we talk about before with my famous food metaphor, just because you have an ingredient in the cupboard does not mean it goes in every dish.
Stop putting paprika in your fucking apple pie. Please. Just don’t do it. OK? It’s the same thing. Like if you’re working on pull-ups, you don’t need to have like – the funniest person in the world of fitness is Drywall. If you don’t know who this is, he’s the guy that trolls CrossFit all the time. I don’t hate CrossFit but Drywall is hilarious. You should look for this guy on Facebook.
He posted this pic a couple of weeks ago of people doing band-assisted weighted pull-ups.
Ryan: Yeah. I didn’t get that.
Andy: What the fuck was that?
Andy: You’re adding resistance and removing resistance. You know what? Just do pull-ups. Just do pull-ups.
Ryan: It might work. It might work. Yeah, I remember that. That is …
Andy: Band-assisted weighted pull-ups. What the hell will they think of next?
Ryan: Yeah. So basically, no magic. I mean there could be some magic of course and that’s a good coach is they – the magic is in the fact that they give you what you need and …
Andy: The magic is that you will make more progress than you could on your own.
Ryan: Now there are a lot of other tips that Benny wrote and really, please check out this article. Again, it doesn’t matter if you’re in Melbourne. This is around the world and it’s also related to online training.
So something else we have, of course we have the trainer, the trainer course, the GMB Trainer Course.
Andy: I don’t even like to call it a course. I always say apprenticeship because …
Ryan: Apprenticeship, thank you.
Andy: It’s like certification seminars and it’s like a two-day thing and you pay your $1500 and you get your paper and your T-shirt and suddenly you’re ready to teach people. But we don’t do it that way because we take education really seriously. So it’s a three-month plus thing. But sorry to interrupt, but I feel it’s really important.
Ryan: No, and thank you for saying that. I mean that’s the thing. It’s not just OK, here’s a six-week course or here’s, like you said, a two-day thing. It’s as much time as it takes. So we will have people who come into our apprenticeship and maybe six months.
Ryan: Yeah. We had one that took a little over six months last year and it wasn’t because he wasn’t strong or ready. It’s just he had a lot of other things going on and it took that time for him to finish up where both he and you were satisfied with where he was at.
Andy: And the thing, it’s interesting because you look at what Benny wrote in here. It’s very actually similar to what we do because even though we’re working on specific skill sets, it’s individual. So I work directly with everyone in making sure that they have – I don’t want to say their specialty but because everybody is coming in here that’s different, we have to figure out different ways to work with them.
Another thing too is it’s not just the skills. It’s not just the theory. It’s also the business and this is something that a lot of places don’t cover. We help our trainers to be – learn how to make a business out of this.
So that’s why it also takes a long time. So it’s not just a matter of OK, you’ve got to get X skill. No, it’s up here too. You got to think about what you want to do with it, how you can help other people. How do you teach other people? How can you – as I mentioned before, not only give people what they want but what they need and that’s why it takes so long because over a weekend, you can’t expect to be able to teach a system, a theory, a method to people in two days or understand it in two days and then teach successfully.
Andy: Yeah. Even the business side of it, it’s not like some magic trick either. It’s mostly about just knowing what you have to offer, how you can express that to other people in the best way and who you want to work with, right?
It’s still the same thing is knowing what goals you have. So that’s really important and sometimes it takes some time. A lot of people – like I said, novice trainers try to like throw every trick in the book into every program. They try to teach everybody. Like, I can train anyone. Well, no. I mean maybe you could but not well.
Ryan: Yeah, exactly.
Andy: You know, and so that’s really important to find out who you want to train. If you are a trainer or if you want to become a trainer, you need to know who you want to help out and we’re not trying to create a bunch of Ryan clones in the GMB trainers either.
Every person who comes through our program is going to be – have their own way of doing things a little bit. It’s going to be based on the same style of instruction, the same theoretical understanding but they’re all going to have their own twist on things, because they all have their own personalities.
So we’re not saying that there’s one right way that everyone should coach everything. But whoever you go to is obviously going to have to have not just personality but also some real expertise as well, if it’s going to be good.
Ryan: Wow, there’s a concept.
Ryan: But that’s another reason why of course we don’t have a lot of trainers. So we could set up a two-day course and we could crank out certified GMB trainers. But we don’t. We’ve got what? Well, only really three that are certified but we’ve got three other people who are working on it right now.
So we’re not trying to crank them. But with that being said, if you are interested in what we do, let us know. We can help you out.
Andy: Yeah, and so just to kind of wrap up, look for these things. No matter what you’re doing, look for somebody that has got a process that’s going to work for your goals. Not just for somebody else’s goals, not just whatever. You wouldn’t go to an Olympic swimming coach if you want to learn how to do handstands. That’s not the best fit.
Find somebody that’s not trying to dazzle you with bullshit and find somebody who’s going to respect that you’re an individual and if you have a tough time with something, I’m not going to say, “Well, you obviously just don’t have what it takes,” or you – what are some of the ones that we hear? If you want it bad enough, you do the work or you have to prioritize or stop bullshitting yourself. Your father didn’t actually die. You should work harder or whatever.
You know, whatever, whatever. They’ve got to respect that you have individual things and not even – it’s not just about excuses. It’s about some people have genuinely like difficult situations. But also don’t think that you need everything so individualized that you can’t get started. Working with a trainer one on one is going to take a big commitment for both of you.
But there are plenty of good programs that you can start with. You could start doing any of like the weight lifting five by five programs on the internet and get started and get strong. You take any of our programs and get started and get working.
You don’t need individualization but if you’re working with somebody, make sure that they’re working with you.
Ryan: Yeah, good point, good point. I think that about sums it up, man. That’s good.
Andy: All right.
Ryan: All right. So until next time.
Andy: Until next time, and hey, if you’ve got anything you would like us to talk about, any questions, whatever, send us a note and we will put it in Ryan’s lighting round next time, like you could answer a question that quickly.
Ryan: Yeah. Uh, more coffee.
Andy: All right.
Ryan: All right.
[End of transcript]
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