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7 Questions You Should Ask Any Spokane, WA Fitness Trainer/Sports Performance Coach Before Committing To Their Services


7 Questions You Should Ask Any Spokane, WA Fitness Trainer/Sports Performance Coach Before Committing To Their Services

Kristal Hayek

You obviously want the best results possible from the gym or trainer you choose, so it’s vital that you ask these 7 questions of any Spokane gym or trainer before getting started.

1.  Qualifications – The industry is unfortunately very un-regulated.  Anybody can call themselves a personal trainer, even without a certification and anybody can create a course and “certify” trainers.  Whether you want to improve speed, build muscle or shed a few pounds, you’ll want to work with someone you can trust. 

Here are the main things to consider when it comes to determining their qualifications:

  • Do they hold a degree in exercise science, kinesiology, or a related field?  This shows they should have some baseline knowledge and have at least committed enough time in the field to finish their schooling.
  • Next you should look at the certification they hold.  As stated earlier, certifications are unregulated, but those that are NCCA approved are definitely ones you should be looking for.  Some popular ones to look for are NSCA, ACSM, NASM, CFSC just to name a few.
  • Experience in the field.  There is definitely something to the whole 10,000 hour theory but when it comes to learning a skill, it’s the quality of time spent practicing, not just the number of hours logged that transforms them from a novice to an expert.  It’s hours in the trenches where they learn whether or not their methodologies work in real time, making adjustments along the way to help clients reach their goals. A trainer who has been teaching proper technique for a long time has likely gotten better and better at providing the right cues to help one get the most out of every single rep.  In this way, the more experience the trainer has the better.
  • An ideal scenario would be to find a trainer/sports performance coach that meets all three of these criteria.  There are plenty of good ones out there, don’t just settle for less.

2.   Passion – The best trainers/coaches love what they do.  It pours out of them in excitement and enthusiasm.  And loving what they do often translates into always wanting to improve and expand their knowledge so they can keep getting better at their job. They should be excited about educating themselves.  Learning the latest information and techniques should be a joy, not just a “requirement”.  Pursuit of ongoing growth is a must!  If they don’t put time into themselves, they won’t put it into you either.

3.   Experience – Extensive knowledge and expertise is one of the main reasons why people want to work with trainers/performance coaches.  They should be able to speak about a variety of training styles and the advantages and drawbacks of each.  Most have their own opinion about what gets results, but the best ones aren’t so married to one particular modality that they won’t be versatile in their programming.  They must know the “why” behind your workout and how specific exercises will help you to reach your goals.

Whether you are brand new to working out or an experienced athlete looking for sports-specific training, you will want to know they have experience with someone like you. You should be 100% confident they can effectively manage all aspects of your program.  If you mention a chronic problem they should show they have experience, knowledge and are able to work with or around it.  In addition, they should be willing to work with other health providers (chiropractor, physical therapists, massage therapist, dietician, etc.) if necessary.

4.   Sound Program Design – They must know your story first.  All trainers/coaches should get a clear medical history and perform a number of pre-exercise evaluations such as postural assessments, flexibility test, body composition, cardiovascular efficiency and more.  Without these, they cannot be sure your program will be both safe and effective.

They should emphasize workout programs that have “injury prevention” as the primary goal and metric improvement as the secondary goal.  Many of us deal with nagging aches and pains or recurring injuries and we’re unsure how to get a great workout without causing a flare-up.  If you’re nursing an old injury, your trainer/coach should be capable of adjusting your training to work around it.

Training is simple, just not easy.  Great trainers/coaches know that programs need to be as simple as possible, and as complicated as necessary.  Fancy equipment, tools, gadgets, etc. are almost never needed.

Trainers/coaches should not only be able to make a personalized training program based on your goals and fitness level, but also track your progress to see how your hard work is paying off, and where to make adjustments as needed. This might mean workouts to help you PR at your 5K, or a program to drop a few pounds.

5.   Personality – Hiring someone with superior training knowledge is worthless if you don’t feel comfortable.  You need to trust, respect and feel at ease with them.  You’ll be spending a lot of important hours with this person, so your comfort and ease of communication are paramount.

Choose a trainer/coach who will cater to your personal needs and learning preferences.  While some people want to be pushed to their limits by a drill sergeant type, others are going to work better with positive reinforcement and gentle encouragement.  Your trainer/coach should fit your personality and motivation style.

You want to feel comfortable and trust they have your best interest in mind.  There needs to be a level of professionalism.  The attention should be on the client. Trust your instincts. 

6.   Practice what they Preach – The first thing that you’ll do is unconsciously judge a potential trainer/coach based on his or her appearance.  A person with a flawless-looking body may not know the first thing about safely teaching you how to achieve your own goals.  The person you hire will be teaching you skills and lifestyle habits and doesn’t need to look like a model in a fitness magazine. The most important thing is that they are practicing what they preach.  They should never expect clients do something they haven’t done, or aren’t willing to do themselves.

You’re different in everything from your daily commitments to body type.  Even genetics has a large effect on adaptation to exercise.  What matters is that the coach has experience in helping people with whatever it is you want to achieve.  They don’t necessarily need to be better than you in that one specific thing (Tiger Woods has a golf coach who I’m fairly confident is not a better golfer than him).  Or Olympic sprinters, for example, are most likely faster than their coach.  The key is that they are able to tell you what you need to do in order to achieve your goals and what it takes to get through each step.

7.   Cost Although cost can vary significantly around the country, in most markets there is a typical rate that you can expect to pay.  If that is the case, make sure to do your homework and find the trainer (or facility) that is the right fit for you.  It’s not worth saving a few bucks.  You get what you pay for when you just look for the cheapest.  Do you want the best, or do you want to the cheapest?

To be a great trainer takes a significant amount of nuanced knowledge.  The job is not just instructing sets and reps or understanding the physiology of adaptation – a fair amount of psychology gained both from study and on-the-job experience is required.

Look for a trainer who understands the importance of coaching.  They should be able to meet you where you’re at and challenge you to grow both mentally and physically.

Many times people get caught up in the “toys” and the “gym” where the training occurs.  Get knowledge first about who is doing the training.  One can have the most expensive work-out facility, but if the person doing the training doesn’t know what they are doing, then you’re paying for poor quality.  Some of the best sports performance training is done at the highest level with very simple equipment.

 I hope you find this information helpful.  You might also want to consider looking at facilities like Complete Athlete, where we have a group of trainers/coaches that work together in more of a team approach to meet the needs of our clients.  In this setting we have a very high standard and have basically done all the prescreening for you.  And, as a team we constantly push each other to get better and provide a great service for our clients.  We also have a team of health professionals (chiropractor, physical therapist, dietician, etc.) on site making it a one-stop shop for all your health, fitness and performance needs.

 If you would like to learn more about Complete Athlete and how we might be a fit for you, please visit our web-site at, or call 509-808-2716.