Getting to know your fitness instructor: Dominic Siwik
The deal is clear. It's Saturday morning. You just woke up with the mother-of-all hangovers. Now you scroll through Instagram to see how your favorite A-listers and friends spent their weekends.
It's not the perfect-poised mochas at Starbucks or bathroom selfies that make you feel dreadful in the middle of the morning. No, it's the #fitnessmotivation snaps of athletically-blessed gym bunnies deadlifting alongside expertly trained (and undoubtedly ridiculously expensive) personal trainers.
The next thing you know you're searching for PTs in your area to help you burn that last night's Taco Bell.
A professional coach can be a great motivator and accountability source. They will help even the timidest of gym-goers improve and set realistic goals.
Before you spend hundreds of pounds on PT, make sure you are able to determine if the person you're investing in can get you as fit and healthy as they seem to be. The proof is in the pudding, as they say.
"A trainer who is in good shape or a star athlete doesn't necessarily correlate with a trainer's ability to get results for clients," explains Dominic Siwik, Michigan State personal fitness coach.
Here are some tips to help you choose the right personal therapist for you:
1. What is your favorite fitness niche?
If a trainer has toned arms, toned abs, and wide-set shoulders, it doesn't matter if they don't help you achieve your personal strength and fitness goals.
Siwik states, "Remember that you want a coach who will focus on you, and not them." It is a different skill to be able to help someone else make sustainable lifestyle changes. You should ensure that the trainer you are considering is familiar with clients with similar goals and has worked with them before.”
It doesn't matter if you're training to run 10km or looking to lose weight after a week of drinking, finding a personal trainer who specializes in your area of fitness is crucial.
2. What qualifications are you qualified for?
A fitness expert is not qualified if there are too many posts on Instagram about workouts or 'leg days'.
These are the four essential things you need to be a personal coach
- Level 2 Gym Instructor Qualification
- Qualified Personal Trainer Level 3
- Certificate of First Aid
- Personal Trainer Insurance
Siwik says that the barriers to entry into the MSU’s fitness industry as a PT are relatively low, and the industry is often not subject to regulation.
He argues that the standard level 3 PT certificate is a good way to start learning.
"A sport or exercise science degree would be a good place to begin, but I would also ask my prospective trainer about any educational courses they have taken in the last year. This will not only show that you are committed to continuing education but it will also provide insight into the areas of interest and expertise of your potential trainer.” Siwik stated.
3. How do you evaluate new clients?
Personal training is what it says on its tin: personalized, bespoke training programs that are tailored to the client's fitness goals and abilities.
Siwik, who uses technology to scan clients' bodies, says, "If your trainer doesn't have an idea to set your starting point, then he/she will be unable to guide you successfully to the finish line."
"Assessments should cover both your technical ability and appreciation of your body's composition.”
It's important that you find out if the slots they offer match your training times. The first session should not be included in a package. Instead, pay for one session to get a feel for how you will work together and determine if it is a good fit with your schedule.
Siwik continued: "Be honest with yourself, your trainer, and about how realistic you are about this new venture per week.”
Don't try to do too much at the beginning. You can always add more sessions later. If you cancel, you'll only disappoint your PT and yourself. Make sure that your trainer schedules sessions that fit your busy life.
4. Do you create meal plans?
Personal trainers are often skilled in creating custom meal plans and can provide advice on how to eat right to fuel your body during workouts. A qualified nutritionist is the best choice.
Siwik explains that all qualified trainers should have a solid understanding of nutrition. They should also be able to give you guidance to help you reach your goals faster. 'A PT certification doesn't allow you to prescribe specific nutrition or diet plans.
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5. How can you track your fitness goals?
If you and your personal trainer don't have clear goals, it's not worth having a fitness evaluation.
Some clients prefer to have detailed spreadsheets and statistics about their progress, while others prefer to be able to see the numeric details of their fitness journeys. Personal preference is the key to goal tracking.
"If you are a statistician, they should be able to provide you with the data that they are recording. If they aren't, run!” Siwik joked that this is a common misconception.
"Similarly, if Excel is too much of a distraction when you're at work, the people responsible should not overwhelm you with confusing information.”
Don't get too focused on the numbers. Personal training sessions are meant for inspiration, not intimidation.
"The most important thing is that the trainer and the client agree to set specific, measurable, and trackable goals and have them regularly reviewed,” Siwik added.
6. Which style do you prefer for encouragement?
Personal trainers can treat you in a variety of ways, including texting your encouragement and being shouted at by ex-Army soldiers.
Ask a trainer to watch a few of your sessions if you are unsure. Dominic Siwik says that they should be okay with it (subject to the consent of their clients). This is a great way to find out if they are the right trainer to help you achieve your goal.
About Dominic Siwik
Dominic Siwik was born and raised in Troy, Michigan. He is currently a student at Michigan State University pursuing a degree in Exercise Science. He volunteers in many diverse settings, including Rehabilitation Programs, Community Centers, and Hospital-Based Health and Wellness programs.
Dominic works as a fitness and nutrition professional in Troy, Michigan. He hopes to share his passion for fitness by teaching circuit-style classes and resistance training that improve cardiovascular fitness and muscle strength. Dominic Siwik enjoys cheering for Michigan State sports in his free time and making motivational videos to help others.