Insurance Canopy catches up with Paul Roberts of Sand and Steel Fitness to cover some of the principle decision making factors he evaluates when hiring a personal trainer. Paul has trained 100 personal trainers and more than 5,000 clients in personal training and flexibility. He owns and operates Sand and Steel, a personal training gym located in Alexandria, VA.
As a biomedical engineer, Roberts worked in a field that designed surgical instruments to help people through their health struggles. Later, he decided to focus on a more preventative approach rather than configure surgical equipment.“I got injured a lot. I pulled muscles and hurt myself often while in gym class and playing rec sports in high school,” said Roberts. “I got more than my fair share of injuries, figuring out how to prevent injuries became important. I decided to switch from working on the tools, to more preventative so that I could help people before they have to get bypass surgery,” Roberts said. Roberts’ unique style of personal training involves collaborating with his team to create a tailored weight loss program that assesses health metrics, nutrition, and coaching for each one of his clients. With the help of Roberts, we’ve created this list of things we wish clients knew about our profession.
- Make Sure Your Coach Has 3 Or More Certifications: There are literally hundreds of different exercise, nutrition, mobility, and personal training certifications. Generally, more certifications are better. Also take a look at how much the certification costs. In most cases, more expensive certifications such as CrossFit Gymnastics, RKC Kettle Bell certs, etc. are better.
- A Good Coach Will Have a Program Pre-Written For You: You don’t want to be the test client. A coach should be able to assess your movement patterns, and show you a program that is crafted around your goals and injuries.
- Personal Trainers Need To Be Masters Of Anatomy: Make sure you coach knows their anatomy inside and out. “I interview hundreds of coaches, who don’t know their anatomy.” Paul says. “If they don’t know their anatomy, a coach cannot protect a client from injury.” Want to find out who is good in the area? “Talk to your local physical therapists and ask them where they send their clients,” says Paul. “Physical therapists usually send their patients to trainers who understand aspects on how muscle systems work.”
- Find The Smartest Personal Trainer You Can: Look for a personal trainer who has at least a bachelors degree in biomedical engineering, kinesiology, etc. At the very least, they should be working for a head coach who does. Personal trainers have few barriers to entry, so all things being equal, a smarter coach is going to have learned more material.
- We Are Professionals: “Empathy and listening are important qualities for trainers to have,” said Roberts. “It’s also wise to find out how organized and prepared a trainer is. [For example] do they use scheduling software?” Find out if the gym they work at accepts feedback and find out what their feedback from clients has been. Also, look at Yelp!, Google, and Facebook for online ratings. “It’s a big red flag if they’re not organized,” said Roberts.
- How Thorough Is The Personal Trainers’ Intake Form: According to Paul, “Any coach who has been doing this will require you to fill out an intake form. Our form asks about 35 questions, and we have whittled it down as far as we can go.” A detailed intake questionnaire is necessary to understand the clients goals and injuries. If your potential trainer doesn’t ask you fill out a lengthy form … keep looking.
- PersonalTrainers Have Insurance: “If a trainer doesn’t have insurance, they haven’t been training that long,” Paul said. “No matter how good you are as a coach, you cannot completely eliminate the risk of injury.” That’s where insurance is key.
Overall, personal trainers, coaches and other fitness professionals all share a common goal, to help others in their journey to a happier and healthier lifestyle. Click here to learn more about Paul Roberts and his work at Sand and Stone Fitness.
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*All insurance policies have conditions, limitations and exclusions. Please refer to the policy for exact coverages.