The Nashville Guide to Working With a Personal Trainer

Fitness training comes in many different forms. While some people prefer cardio exercises, others are more interested in calisthenics. Others may spend hours at the local gym, lifting weights as they focus on strength training, while some may enjoy more flexibility exercises like yoga. Regardless of how you achieve physical fitness and your preferred exercise of choice, sooner or later, the same routine can start to feel stale or can lead to hitting a plateau. Others may simply lose their motivation or become injured and will stop exercising for a while. None of these situations make for a good outcome. This is where personal training programs come into play. 

Professional and certified personal trainers are great assets when looking to lose weight and lead a healthy lifestyle over the long-term. Personal training can help you achieve better results, become more motivated, avoid injury, and or even work through a specific injury. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were 356,900 fitness instructors across the country. What’s more, that number is expected to increase over the coming years, much faster than the national average for other professions.

This means that there are plenty of options to choose from when looking for personal training programs and the right personal trainer in Nashville, Tennessee. But just like how exercises come in different shapes and sizes, so do personal trainers. It’s for this reason that you shouldn’t decide to work with the very first one you come across. To achieve your fitness goals and maintain them, you need to do some research to see if they will be a good fit for you. 

In this guide, we’ll be looking at what you need to know about Nashville’s personal trainers and how to recognize the difference between a good and a bad fit. But before we get into that, let’s take a quick look at the benefits of personal training: 

The Benefits of Working Out With a Personal Trainer

There are plenty of benefits to working out with a personal fitness trainer. As mentioned, some people tend to lose their motivation after a period of training. In fact, according to the statistics, nearly two-thirds of gym members will stop at some point. Among these, 82% will visit the gym less than once per week, while 22% will stop going altogether after only six months. When working with a trainer, a lack of motivation is never the issue it is when you are working out on your own. 

One study by the Journal of Sports, Science, and Medicine has also revealed that having access to the direct guidance and supervision of a personal trainer can greatly improve the outcome of the fitness program. Over 70% of the participants in the study saw an increase in their overall success rate compared to those who trained on their own. A somewhat similar study has also shown that professional personal trainers can also help their clients with their lean body mass, more so than self-trained participants working out on their own. 

There are several reasons why this is the case. Below are some of the main benefits of working with a personal trainer: 

  • Custom-Built Workout Plans – Since every person is different, no two training routines can be exactly the same. Certified fitness professionals will take the time to learn your workout goals, fitness level, and preferences, as well as your medical history. Using these factors, they will design a personalized fitness training routine that will ensure you not only stick to it, but will enjoy it as well. 
  • Optimize Your Time and Effort – One other reason why people tend to avoid working out is that they don’t seem to find too much free time to exercise on a regular basis. The advantage of working with a fitness professional is that a good trainer will create a plan for you that will ensure you get the most out of your time and effort spent at the gym. As such, you will be able to reach your goals easier and faster. 
  • Increase Motivation and Accountability – Any seasoned gym goer can tell you that going out to exercise will not always be as easy. While most of the time, they will crave the endorphins, dopamine, and other “feel-good” hormones that a vigorous exercise routine will provide, there are some moments when they would rather sit on the couch and watch TV. It’s fairly easy for people to skip their workouts, particularly a few months after starting. A personal fitness instructor will not only motivate you but will also help increase your accountability. By simply knowing that someone is waiting for you, you won’t be as tempted to put off your workout for the day. 
  • Learn To Track Your Progress – First-timers or people who train on their own will generally set targets for themselves that are simply unrealistic to achieve in their given timeframe. This can lead to discouragement and frustration, which, in turn, can lead to people abandoning their routines. Trainers, however, have the necessary experience to set doable milestones on your behalf. The benefit here is that every time you reach one short-term goal, you get a confidence boost that will make you strive for more. 
  • Avoid Getting Injured – Working out too much, too early, or doing your exercises with incorrect form over a prolonged period of time can often lead to injury or chronic orthopedic problems. Fitness specialists will help you avoid injury by showing you how to do your exercises with the correct form and at the right intensity for your fitness level. 
  • Gain Useful Tips – Just like with most other professions, personal training has a continuous learning curve. Professional trainers will learn from their experience and be proactive about staying up-to-date on the latest fitness trends and studies. They will also share this information with you, be it about fitness, general health, and nutrition – information that will be useful to you for a long time. 

The benefits of personal training programs will far outweigh the costs of working out with a personal trainer. However, you will need to know how to choose the right trainer in Nashville, TN, so that you don’t end up with an unsuitable or an unqualified trainer that will only cost you time and money. Below are several tips on how to find the perfect personal trainer in Nashville that will suit your needs: 

Start With Your Own Fitness Goals

The quest to find the best fitness trainer will start with you. Considering your preferences can easily narrow down your options by thinking about what you want to achieve with your physical training. Be it weight loss, muscle and strength gain, flexibility, stamina, desire to take part in a competition, or you simply want some stress relief or to improve mental well-being, knowing what you want from the getgo will help you a lot in your search. Try to be as specific about your fitness goals as possible.

Simply saying “I want to lose weight” or “I want to get healthier” isn’t specific enough. Have a defined goal and go from there by looking for trainers in your area of interest. Also, take into consideration the type of person you are. Do you see yourself as someone that needs more careful and hands-on guidance with every workout, or do you like more time to work out on your own? This can also help you form a better relationship with your trainer. Likewise, are you new to working out, or are you looking for someone to guide you through your first several months of training to keep you motivated and disciplined until you find your rhythm? 

So if, for instance, you want to compete in a marathon or triathlon, look for professional trainers who work with those types of athletes. If you’re looking to recover from an injury, on the other hand, it’s better to look for Nashville physical therapists and post-injury specialists who are experienced in dealing with injuries and other physical problems. It’s a good idea to check their websites and look for the testimonial page. This can provide you with some insights that can help you determine if their expertise and results match your needs. 

Look for Experience, Not Location

Even though everyone needs to start somewhere, it’s not a good idea to go with any old fitness trainer near you who doesn’t have enough experience in the field. So, don’t be afraid to rule someone out if they haven’t put in the necessary hours in one-on-one personal training sessions. After all, this is your own time, money, and health we’re talking about here, and you shouldn’t waste them or put your body at risk! 

Also, big gym chains like Planet Fitness, SNAP Fitness, Fit Factory, Anytime Fitness, and the YMCA have their own in-house team of personal trainers. And even though this provides you with convenience, this doesn’t mean that their trainers have the most experience or the right credentials or abilities to fit your needs. More often than not, independent personal trainers are a better alternative to what you’re looking for. After you find your trainer, you can also start looking for a local gym that is best for you two to work out. The added benefit of independent trainers is that they will also come to your home and train there if you want to. 

Consider Their Reputation, Certifications, and Qualifications

Aside from their hands-on experience, you also need to check their credentials. There’s an overwhelming number of uncertified personal trainers out there working at all sorts of fitness centers across the country. As long as they look the part, anyone can call themselves a fitness trainer. Many of them are also self-taught and will tend to train you as if they would be training themselves. Unfortunately, however, these unqualified and under-educated trainers have very limited knowledge about human anatomy, and rarely know how to take into account people’s medical histories or existing injuries. They also may not have liability insurance. By working with such a trainer, you will only be asking for trouble.  

They may dazzle you with a complicated fitness program, but this doesn’t mean that the routine will work for you. Nor does it mean that it’s a safe workout that’s well-planned and scientifically-backed to prevent injury and provide you with the results you want. 

Some of the best certifications to look for in a personal trainer come from reputable organizations such as The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM), the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA), International Sports Sciences Association (ISSA), the National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM), and The American Council on Exercise (ACE). All of these credentials stand to show that the trainer has a well-rounded education and, at the very least, won’t put your health at risk. 

Another factor to consider here is your nutrition plans. Diet and exercise go hand in hand, and your trainer should have some basic understanding and knowledge about what you should and shouldn’t eat to achieve your fitness goals. Sure, based on their own experience, they can give you tips, suggestions, or general advice on eating healthy. Still, they are not allowed to provide you with a specific meal plan unless they are also certified nutritionists

Always Receive a Thorough Assessment

Once you think you found someone that fits all of the above criteria, expect to receive a thorough assessment. This implies an initial consultation where the trainer will attempt to learn as much about you as possible. This will include everything from your goals and current fitness levels to your diet and medical history, your existing exercise routine, your likes and dislikes, and everything else in-between. Not only will this allow you to lay out your expectations from working together clearly, but this is a strong indicator that the trainer in question is a real professional. 

No matter their experience and qualifications, if the personal trainer doesn’t take an in-depth interest in you, he or she will not know how to customize your workout plan, nor will they know how to measure your progress. Worst of all, they will have no idea about your current medical condition and will put you at risk. If they don’t provide you with this initial consultation, you should avoid them like the coronavirus. 

Don’t Forget to Assess Their Personality

Let’s say you found a certified fitness trainer that has plenty of experience and has provided you with that one-on-one consultation to learn more about you. They may also be someone who’s been recommended to you by a friend or your physician, chiropractor, or massage therapist. They tick all the boxes, but there’s just something about them you don’t like. It’s probably their personality that doesn’t match yours. This doesn’t mean that they’re bad fitness trainers, by any stretch of the imagination, but it does mean that you’re probably not going to click.  

The trainer-trainee relationship should be a pleasant one. In the end, they will be your buddy helping you out and not be some sort of drill sergeant, shaming you into working harder. That’s unless this is something that works for you, of course. So, don’t be afraid to ask them questions to see if you will be able to work together over the long-term. You will want someone who’s able to motivate you and not someone who will make you not want to work out. They should also be someone who practices what they preach. This doesn’t mean that they need to look like a fitness model, but they should definitely exhibit a healthy lifestyle and attitude.  

An honest trainer should also be open with you about their experience and how they will help you. They can share success stories with other clients, and should provide you with realistic expectations. No matter what anyone promises you, you won’t become an underwear model in a month or two! A true professional will be straight with you about what to expect, and will help you understand what kind of timeline to expect before you truly get in shape and develop the right kind of habits. 

Pay Attention to Red Flags

To get a better idea about whom you’re dealing with, it’s always good to be mindful of certain red flags that indicate someone who’s not really a professional, or who doesn’t take their job very seriously. Here’s a short rundown of some of the warning signals to take into account:

  • They haven’t received education from a reputable organization, or they have obtained their certificate online. 
  • They always seem to be following the latest fitness trends you see on TV infomercials or the internet. That’s not how proper fitness programs work. 
  • You constantly hear popular fitness buzzwords coming out of their mouths. Sure, this may just be an occupational hazard for someone exposed to these terms on a daily basis, but it can also be a tactic to fool you into thinking that you’re dealing with someone who knows what he or she is doing. Professionals will tend to speak to you on your own terms. 
  • Do they train alongside you? This doesn’t include showing you the proper form, but a good trainer should not be working out with you. 
  • They don’t document things and keep track of your progress. A professional will have a detailed record of your workouts and your progress so they can determine your milestones as well as any tweaks in your workout that need to be made. 
  • At the end of your workout, do you hurt? A personal trainer will always push you to make the most out of your training, of course, but you should not have pain with your fitness program. If you feel like your workouts are something you just have to suffer through — no pain, no gain — that’s a red flag that your current trainer doesn’t know how to pace you safely. 

Final Words

Hopefully, this information will help you make the most informed decision possible when looking for personal trainers in Nashville, TN. If you work with the right trainer, you’ll make the most out of your time and effort and will never regret your decision. So, don’t be afraid to treat your initial interactions like a job interview – because that’s essentially what they are. 

If you want to know more about personal training in Nashville, or you plan to start transforming your body with the guidance of experienced fitness professionals, get your free no-obligation consultation. Tell us more about you, and we’ll tell you how we can help.