≡ Menu

How to Choose the Right Personal Trainer

Hey What’s up I’m Mike. I have been working as personal and group trainer for the past 7 years. This post is for people who are looking for a personal trainer or coach. Here are some tips on how to choose the right personal trainer for you.

1. Do a test-run meeting/workout

Most trainers offer the first session/consultation for free. This gives you a chance to try the training out and see if you like it.

I do the first session for free with all new clients. This gives them a chance to try the training, and gives me a chance to evaluate the client.

2. When you meet your trainer, listen to your gut instinct.

Right away as a personal trainer and client you guys have to connect a bit. It doesn’t mean you have to be buddies but you have to be able to communicate with each other and be on the same page.

Personal Example
This one dude wanted me to train his 2 sons (age 10 and 12) as a supplement to their tennis training. He was working the kids really hard in tennis and wanted me to “push them further”. He kept saying he really wanted me to “put pressure on them” and that he couldn’t be mean enough to them because he was their dad.

Not my favorite motivational style. I don't think being aggressive towards your client is necessary.

Not my favorite motivational style. I don’t think being aggressive towards your client is necessary.

I trained them for a bit but it didn’t really work out. I don’t have the “military style” or “screaming trainer” style in me.

I try to motivate my clients in a positive way. But anyway, the kids would basically be screaming and crying during the training sessions because they didn’t want to be there. It didn’t feel like the right fit for me so the relationship ended after a few weeks.

3. Is the trainer attentive while working out with you? Does he/she seem like he/she cares?

Even if you have an in-experienced new trainer but he/she cares about you and works their butt off to help you then that’s good. That inexperienced trainer will learn and improve.

If you have a super good trainer with a super duper reputation but he doesn’t pay attention to you or doesn’t seem to care that much, you may get poor results.

Personal Example:
There was a trainer who worked at my gym in Richmond Hill. He would literally eat a sandwhich (sitting down) while training somebody. Dude…what?

He also made people go to the cardio machine for 15 minutes in the middle of their session while he sat in the office. That is really shitty service and a bad example.

Mainly the trainer has to be looking at you while you exercise to make sure your form is good and you don’t get injured.

Phone checking should be minimum too. I do it sometimes but usually just when the client is in the washroom. In my experience checking your texts in front of a client will really piss them off.

4. Do your schedules match?
Training works best when it is consistent. Try to pick 1-3 days per week that you will see the trainer, every week.

When you have to go by the seat of your pants each week and kind of try to fit the workout in you will often miss workouts.

The best way to get results is by being consistent. Pick 1-3 days per week that you’ll be seeing your trainer and stick to those times. See if your schedules match. This is important.

Personal Example:
This summer I am pretty busy with clients and my schedule is almost full. I took a new client on because a current client of mine referred them.

We had trouble setting up the first session because our schedules didn’t match. Finally we barely found a time that worked for both of us.

The training went well and the client enjoyed it but for the next few weeks we struggled to find a time to train consistently. It was a strain on me and a strain on them. The relationship didn’t work out.

Lesson: Even if you enjoy the training, make sure you can find 1-3x per week that you two can stick to consistently.

5. I would try more than 1 trainer before deciding. Especially if you’ve never done personal training before.

This may not be doable if you signed up for training at a gym. If you are getting private personal training you can try a few trainers out. It will help you compare and show you what’s out there and for how much.

Personal Example:

The shitty trainer I was telling you about earlier, his clients probably thought that was the norm and accepted his behavior. IF they had worked with other trainers they would know that eating in front of clients or sending them off on their own for 15 minutes during an hour which they paid for is ridiculous.

Hope that helps you find a trainer that’s right for you! If you have any questions please post it in the comments below and I’ll answer them.


You Can Get In Shape Doing Anything

I was thinking about this topic because this is one of the first things I tell a new client I am working with. Especially if they are new to exercising.

What You Do Doesn’t Really Matter

I have seen people get in shape: boxing, running, swimming, doing zumba classes, doing fitness classes at the gym, lifting weights, bodyweight exercises, yoga etc…

It’s not that important what activity you choose to perform.
Hint: Pick something you enjoy doing. You’ll be more likely to stick to it and put the work in. If you are not sure what you like then be open to trying a bunch of different stuff.

How You Do It Will Largely Determine Your Results

“How” means:
– How often do you workout? Are you doing it consistently?
– How hard are you pushing yourself during the workouts?

You should definitely go at your own pace but each workout you should try to improve a little bit. For example: if you took less breaks you improved, if you lifted more weight, went for longer, etc…

Try to Make Small Progress Each Workout

After a year of consistently working out and trying to improve you will be amazed by the results.

Personal Example:
I started working out when I was 6. My dad would lock me in the basement (where our home gym was). At first I played gameboy for the whole time. After a while I jsut started doing random exercises.

Then I did boxing for a few years. Now I do brazilian jiu jitsu. I like combat sports so it’s fun for me. I train about 4x per week consistently. Each workout I try to push myself a bit.

I have been doing this simple routine since I was 6. I never remember being out of shape. If anything I was skinny but I was always lean/athletic.

Imagine doing it for 5 years, 10 years. If you workout 3-4x per week consistently and each time you try to push yourself in 1-5 years you will be in better shape then 90%-99% of humans.

Main Points:
– You can get in shape doing anything. What you do doesn’t matter
– Try to pick an activity that you like. If you’re not sure then try a bunch first.
– How you do the activity is what matters (be consistent and try improve a bit each time)
– Do this for 1-5 years and you will be in better shape than most people that you meet (not an exaggeration at all. 100% fact).


Consistency More Important Than Any One Workout


I was working out today and it gave me an idea for this blog post.

I happened to be on lower than average sleep and the workout was literally feeling like torture. It was a fast paced conditioning workout from Never Gymless).

I still pushed through the workout and got it done but it felt really uncomfortable. I felt like I “survived” the workout. I didn’t feel like I “destroyed” the workout.

If you are constantly challenging yourself to improve eventually you will run into workouts/days when you don’t feel good and you just literally have to “survive” the workout.

The most important thing is the consistency. Working out regularly over a long period of time. What happens in any one workout (or any 10 workouts) isn’t that important.

Some of the clients I currently train are already in very good shape. And I notice that they are super consistent. They will show up even when there are a ton of things going on in their lives.

Main Point: You won’t be able to dominate every single workout. That’s fine. Some workouts you will literally just have to “survive” and get through.

Just stay consistent and stay on track. Don’t take too many breaks from training. Always try to improve a little in each workout. After 6-12 months you will notice a big difference.

If you have any questions please leave it in the comments section below and I’ll answer it. Thank you!


Abner Mares Overcomes Adversity

Abner’s story is truly inspirational. If you think you are going through hard times, I suggest reading this post.

Abner Mares is now 25 years old, married, and a proud father of a little girl. He is undefeated and a world champion at 122 pounds.

Abner’s life was anything but easy. At six years old his mother had split from his father and took him and 6 of his siblings to Tijuana and eventually into the U.S. They had illegally crossed the border and ended up in Hawaiian Gardens, California.

Abner and all of his siblings lived in a one room apartment where they all slept on the floor. There were a lot of days when he and his siblings did not eat. They had no money and would often resort to eating out of dumpsters (until one of his brothers got sick from drinking bad milk).

Abner started boxing when he was 11 and it was clear that he was a natural. He began winning tournaments and rising through the amateur ranks. Outside of boxing he was getting deeply involved in the gang culture.

Fortunately Abner managed to stay on course and even went to the Olympics representing Mexico (because he wasn’t a U.S. citizen). Now Abner is obviously doing a lot better. He’s getting paid a lot more money for his fights now that he’s a world champion and he is able to provide for his mother and siblings.

However he doesn’t forget where he came from:

“I guess you can say I have a lot bottled up inside. People that know me say that I’m two totally different people: one inside the ring and another outside the ring. Its in the ring that I remember everything I went through. Believe me, some of that stuff never goes away. When I’m fighting, I go back to everything, what my family and I lived through and what I hat to do to live. I suppose it’s why it looks like I’m fighting to the death when I fight. I’m fighting for my family’s meal ticket. I mean that literally. I know what it’s like to be hungry.”


Carry On

Here is a video from a recent (ESPN) Outside The Lines episode. Words cannot do justice to the power and significance of the story. I will not even try.

Stories such as this really put our own daily dilemmas into perspective. It is safe to say that we can all learn from the courage and perseverance displayed by these two young men.

“Self-pity is easily the most destructive of the nonpharmaceutical narcotics; it is addictive, gives momentary pleasure and separates the victim from reality.”

-John Gardner

“Self-pity will parch your attitudes, it will paralyze your abilities, and it will put off your achievements. It prohibits excellence and prevents expansion.”

Dartanyon Crockett and Leroy Sutton have both found excellence and continue to expand.


Zach Krych Comeback Story

Below is a video featuring the return of Zach Krych after a devastating training injury. The video shows the injury and the steps that were taken to change the initial prognosis provided by his surgeon. The video is just under six minutes and well worth your time. Incredible is an understatement.


Fat Burning Bodyweight Circuit

As I’ve mentioned before. Current research shows that aerobic work is not ideal for fat loss. Here is one alternative. It’s a bodyweight circuit which requires no equipment (other than a pull up bar). The entire workout only takes 15 minutes and the fat burning benefits are huge.

Research confirms that fat loss is not dependent on the fuel source used during the activity (Hickson 1976). It’s actually more important to focus on the events that take place after your workout. After intense exercise sessions, resting metabolic rate will remain elevated for many hours. This means the body burns calories long after the workout.

Additional research has noted a relationship between fat expenditure through intense exercise and growth hormone release. Growth hormone influences lipolysis (fancy name for breakdown of fat stored in fat cells).

So what does this all mean? Simply that short intense circuits and intervals burn more fat, get you leaner, and conserve muscle better than long, low-intensity aerobic work.

Sample circuit:

5 Pull Ups
8 Clap Push Ups
10 Burpees
20 Jumping jacks

Rest 45 seconds. Repeat circuit 10x.

If some of the exercises are too hard, make it easier. For example, instead of doing 10 burpees, do 5. Instead of clap push ups, do regular push ups. Adjust the workout to your level of fitness.

This workout is a great one for building muscular and explosive endurance. A great benefit to any athlete would be the ability to explode with power late in the game/match/fight. (ex. A boxer who finishes strong in the last 2 rounds).


Hill Sprint Your Way to Success!

Looking to lose fat (while retaining your muscle)? Want to build more explosive power in your hips and legs? Look no further than your closest steep hill.

Hill Sprints by themselves are an amazing workout. It’s a great alternative to aerobic work and traditional cardio if you’re trying to lose fat. It’s also something that would benefit 99% of athletes. Who wouldn’t want more explosive power and endurance in their legs?

Time: You can complete a hill sprint workout with full benefits in less than 10 minutes! Does this mean hill sprints are easy? No. Try it and find out 🙂

How to do them: Find a hill near your house. The steeper and bigger, the better. Warm up by jogging for a few minutes. Position yourself at the bottom of the hill and sprint up as fast as you can all the way to the top. Jog down and catch your breath. As soon as you reach the bottom of the hill, turn around and explode right back up.

How many times: It depends on the size of the hill and your level of fitness. If you’re a beginner then try to work your way up to 10 hill sprints. Again, it depends on the size of the hill. If you’re an advanced athlete and you can do 10 hill sprints no problem, challenge yourself by doing a set of 10 burpees or 10 clap push ups at the top of each sprint.

Here’s a video of me running some hills:

This hill was particularly huge and nasty. Doing hill sprints in the cold builds character 🙂 (Note: If you are actually crazy enough like me to do hill sprints in the cold weather, make sure you warm up properly.)