The key to letting go is finding someone you trust to take the lead.
I always tell perspective new clients that personal training is a very personal relationship. If it’s going to be a happy and productive one you need to make sure not just hours and cost meet your needs but personalities as well. They need to be able to trust my methods. I need to be able to trust that they will share their honest feedback.
Which is part of the reason why I had to sign up for both teams when I decided to join the Ultimate Oxygen Challenge. I needed a chance to get to know my coaches before I made a commitment to one of them.
I understand it takes a little bit of risk to try something new but I am a big believer in calculated risk. Get as much information you can and then take a little leap of faith. Signing up to follow someone else’s program was a step out of my comfort zone. Signing up for both decreased the risk by giving me an option. These last four weeks have been like interviewing my new personal trainer, something you should always do. If you go into a gym or studio and they have you workout with whomever is on the floor without any prep or consultation – RUN AWAY.
Here is what I needed to know before I committed to my coach and team. These are things you should think about too before you hire a personal trainer or join a fitness program.
What is the coach’s fitness philosophy?
Both are at the top of her respective physique game. While I love fitting into my skinny jeans, aesthetics have never really been at the top of my goal list. My 100 Dreams List (and turning 40) made me think it might be time try a different approach. I love training my glutes so I was initially drawn to Team Amanda since this is her specialty. Think about what’s most important to you when talking to potential personal trainers. What result or outcome would make you feel successful? See if that matches how he or she trains.
Do our personalities match?
I’m doing the workouts on my own but there is still interaction via video and Facebook. Amanda is like the Energizer Bunny – constant energy, maybe a little over the top. She’s very passionate about what she does and I admire that. Erin is a little more low key. She’s still passionate but she does it in a more “just the facts” kind of way. I tend to be more like Erin myself (I think? Ask my clients, I guess.). If you don’t want a cheerleader, don’t hire one. If you need to be pumped up, find someone with big energy.
How will the schedule work?
I don’t have to meet either of my coaches at the gym but I need to make sure I can make the number of weekly workouts mesh with my schedule. Both programs actually make things pretty flexible (plus I work in a gym) but hiring a person trainer may not have the same flexibility. Ask what days and times sessions are offered and make sure the cancellation policy is clear. If you’re a night owl don’t sign up for 5 am classes. If weekdays are crazy for you, look for someone who trains on a Saturdays.
Is nutrition part of the program?
You cannot out train a bad diet. That’s why each OxyChallenge coach has a meal plan. Both offer vegetarian and vegan substitutions but only Erin offers an actual meal plan for ovo-lacto vegetarians and vegans. Meal plans can be helpful but limiting. Amanda’s meal plan, for example, has recipes that offer just one serving. That works out if you’re a family of one or two but not so much if you’ve got a lot of people to feed. Erin’s recipes often make 4 servings, which can help with dinner but leaves little for leftovers. You may also encounter foods in a meal plan you can’t eat due to intolerance, medical conditions or lifestyle choices. You may find foods you just don’t like (ugh …grapefruit). I have an extensive nutrition background so I have no problem making slight adjustments but there is a lot of discussion in both Facebook groups on not knowing what to do for specific issues, how to cook for families, what the heck are macros and where to find and how to use unfamiliar foods. Since nutrition is so important I would advise looking elsewhere if the personal trainer you’re interviewing doesn’t provide help. Find someone who will teach you about nutrition, how to make small changes and help you learn the basics of eating a healthy balanced diet while achieving your goals.
Is the coach available outside of session?
Erin interacts more to individual questions in the Facebook group. Amanda seems to prefer to wait till she gets a lot of questions and post a video to answer them. Both work, they are just different styles. I haven’t messaged either with a specific question so I don’t know if they respond. You need to find a coach who you can ask questions outside of session. While we all have lives, I think personal trainers should be “on call”. As long as you’re respectful (no texting at midnight for example) you should be able to reach out with homework or food questions between sessions. Make sure your communication style matches with your coaches as well.
How much does it cost? What do I get for my money?
I knew the program cost going in. $99 for both programs is much less than hiring a personal trainer for 3 months. However you get what you pay for. The program isn’t specialized for my equipment (or lack thereof) or my fitness level. Weeks 1 and 2 felt super easy but I tried not to do to more and to trust the process. Consider other costs too like supplements and food. Amanda’s plan also felt like it required more specialized foods (things I don’t normally eat like hemp seeds and cacao nibs) while Erin’s was all about the eggs that I love and always have on hand. Amanda has a big list of supplements while Erin has a more basic and whole foods approach. Cost is important but don’t hire someone because they are the least/most expensive. Look at the other factors first, then consider what your budget can support. Beware of a personal trainer who hits you with a big list of supplements at the very start, especially if they are ones that he just happens to sell. Ask if they do any special classes or events for clients. For example, I partner with Mama Jean’s Natural Market to offer cooking classes on occasion to my clients at no extra charge.
I “interviewed” my coaches by doing two weeks with each one. After trying each one on for size and comparing what’s to come, I’ve made a commitment for the rest of the program. And the winner is…..Team Amanda! The decided factors? Meal plan and rest days. I like her recipes better but I may pull in some meals from the ovo-lacto vegetarian plan that Erin provided. (Although Amanda has more eggs in month 2.) Her rest days give me time for yoga and running, the other things I need to do to stay sane. Right now, I need her intensity and her drive. I’ll all in for the next 60 day!
I would love to hear how you found your coach or personal trainer. What helped you choose them and let you know you made the right decision?