Good Trainers and Coaches have HEART

Coaching for weightliftingUsually people are looking for a personal fitness trainer or a coach for one of two reasons. If you are just getting started in a fitness routine or program a good mentor can make all the difference to your success in developing new habits. If you have been doing a fitness program or workout routine for a while, there is nothing like partnering with a professional trainer or coach who can guide you as you shake things up and blast through any plateaus and totally re-energize your routine.

Finding the right trainer or coach is critical but what should you be looking for in a trainer or coach?

After years of training people and coaching the trainers and coaches, it all comes down to a few simple things. In a Nutshell, does the trainer/coach have the right skills and attitudes which can be summed up in the acronym HEART?

H in heart stands for help. Is the trainer helpful? All too often in training, personal trainers seem to be helpful but they are only helpful in certain areas. Is the trainer helpful and understanding across the board with all types of people in all situations surrounding wellness? Fitness has grown from aerobics and weights, to include nutrition, mobility, flexibility, injury prevention and general wellness habits as a minimum..  If the trainer is truly helpful, through knowledge and experience—it’s something you can feel and you’ll know by a variety of signals as to the degree to which they’re able to help.

E stands for enthusiasm.  Is a trainer enthusiastic? There’s a vast difference between being a cheerleader and enthusiasm. Enthusiasm sustains day in and day out in all situations. In life sometimes things are not going well. In those situations does a trainer remain enthusiastic or do they become part of the pity party too?

The A in heart stands for attitude. Perhaps the best way to evaluate an instructor’s attitude is asking yourself the question: Do I feel better being around this trainer and more empowered or do I feel neutral of even less empowered? These little differences are very subtle and at the same time, are very significant. There’s an old saying that people are either wind in your sails, or an anchor on your tail.  Day in and day out is your trainer truly wind in your sails?

R stands for relatable. Can this trainer relate to everyone? This is a tall order. Relatability is something that is not easily accomplished. Most people have different types and characteristics of people that they relate well to, and less to others. A good trainer can understand a high level athlete as well as a “newbie” who is just beginning to get involved in a fitness program. A good trainer will make an all-star athlete and a newbie feel equally welcome, equally successful, equally challenged and equally accepted in their own unique ways. This is not an easy task. Sorting out prospective trainers based on this criteria is critically important.

T in heart stands for technique. How are the instructor’s techniques? Are they constantly improving? There are several techniques that a good trainer would have. First and perhaps foremost is technique for various training lifts and movements.  Second would be the trainers approach to creating workouts, we all need balanced workout construction and options. Equally as important as any other techniques is people skills. Does the coach have people skills. Do they motivate you to do your very best? Do they bring out the best in you and everyone around you?

Bonus Criteria: How about the coach’s continuing education plan: What are they are participating in? What was the last training seminar they attended?

When looking at a potential new coach or instructor, always ask yourself do they have HEART.

Special Note: If you’re looking for a brand new gym in a new area, I highly recommend checking out several gyms. Measure each coach and instructor against the “HEART” criteria. How do they stack up? How do they compare? Spend some time and get comfortable with your options.

For a copy of the form outlining the heart system that you can use with each gym you check out contact me at

Good luck with your search and let me know how it goes.