There comes a time in every person’s journey in life where you finally have some time to work on yourself, and to get strong, happy, and healthy. Maybe your kids are finally in full day school, or they’re all in college. Or maybe, you’re fresh out of college and you have a more normal schedule with a new source of income. Whatever the reason, the time has come to put yourself and your health and fitness first and find the best personal trainer in Cary and McHenry County. So, what do you do? Well, obviously hit up google and search the best personal trainer in Cary or McHenry County, right?
First, congratulations. This is an awesome, difficult, sometimes scary, but always exciting, endeavor. Not everyone gets to a place in their life where they realize it’s time to make a change, but you have. And for that, congrats. You’re among a select few people to have the ability to engage with a fitness professional and lose weight, look great, and feel great.
And, like most things, you don’t have to go at it alone. There are plenty of fitness professionals right here in Cary and Crystal Lake, in the form of personal trainers, bootcamp, crossfit, gyms, and other practitioners willing to help you get in shape. Each of these promises fat loss, energy, coaching, top notch training, and lasting, real results.
But, just like teachers, contractors and managers, not all fitness professionals are the same quality, so be sure to do your homework. Since you’re reading this now, it’s safe to say you’re interested in working with the best personal trainer Cary can offer. You have landed at the best possible resource in McHenry County, from Cary to Elgin, Crystal Lake to Algonquin, and every small, fun suburb in between.
Here are the 10 Most Pressing Questions you Absolutely MUST Ask before you Hire the Best Personal Trainer Cary & McHenry County has to Offer
- Do they even know your goals?
I hope this seem obvious, but would you believe there are many places and trainers that don’t know ask the goal of each client? Seems like the obvious place to start, so I can’t believe how many new members come in and get super pumped when they realize that we’re gonna set some goals! Before we do a mini workout or establish a baseline, this means we’re going to talk about where you’re headed.Yes, when you come into Edge, the first thing we do is *drumroll please* TALK! We get to know you, and get to know your goals.
If you’re working with a trainer, they should know, have documented, and track your goals. If they don’t, they aren’t working for you, you’re just paying them to be a part of whatever they’ve got going on. A fitness professional works for you, and you work for your goals. If you’re looking for the best personal trainer in Cary or McHenry county, a logical place to start is making sure they take the time to learn about you and what you want to accomplish.
- Is your New Personal Trainer focused on the process or the outcome?
As much as we need to know your goals, working with strict deadlines and definitive “success/failure” type goals is a surefire way to drive yourself to fail permanently. I mean, the best personal trainer isn’t just a clipboard holder or stopwatch watcher. Good goals focus on the end game; great goals focus on the process of getting there. In order to lose fat and get a stronger, leaner, fitter, healthier body, you need to become a person who has these types of habits. If you don’t, you’re not only less likely to hit the goals you set, you’re also more likely to slip up.
- If you’re hiring a trainer, they should train you.
This means several things. First, 99% of the time, your trainer should never workout with you. How can you be the best personal trainer possible is you’re also working out with your client? And —I shouldn’t have to say it– you’re not paying top dollar for a clipboard holding instagram selfie taking goof, right?A great Personal Trainer might workout with you 1% of the time, like a special event or a hard to mess up bro-out (read: arm curls like Kim below!) with bad-ass ladies in your tribe, but other than that, we are there to make sure you are safe, goal-oriented, and efficient.
Second, while they should be willing to help with your nutrition, training and nutrition should likely be separate programs. Why? Well, if you go to in for an oil change, but also need brakes, does a mechanic offer to do it for free? Of course not! It’d be awesome, but nutrition coaching takes coaching time and commitment, and isn’t something you want slapped together.At Edge, we offer free nutrition counseling, information, and quarterly meetings included in all our programs, and we also have separate nutrition coaching for those needing more accountability.
- Realize that the best Personal Trainers know they aren’t training you for fat loss, at least not directly.
This is the biggest myth in the fitness industry that really needs to be put to rest. Yes, the needs of each individual should be assessed and monitored, yet the reality is too many trainers do the same circuit training sold as fat loss training. Here’s the cold, hard truth about training: Nobody i’ve trained, from grandmothers to collegiate athletes, in the last decade has ever trained hard enough to offset the calories of a hearty dinner at their favorite restaurant.
So, why are we selling “fat loss training”? Training should do several things, and creating a calorie deficit through movement is just one of them. Besides that, there are so many more important facets of training. A good trainer helps make sure you’re developing a fun relationship with fitness, that you’re getting stronger and more capable, and that you’re flexibility and mobility is helping make sure you can move for years and years to come. (I mean, isn’t that the point of all this anyway? Actually enjoy this stuff and make it part of your life for, like, ever?)
Great fitness professionals will help add quality to all those years, and less body fat is just one way we can do that.
So, why are we against fat loss -specific training? That’s the thing—we’re not. It’s just that, in practice, this turns into sloppy form, bad programming, work-till-you-puke workouts that give people a convoluted taste of fitness. It doesn’t have to be that way, and, when you’re paying a trainer, it should almost never be like this.I’ve said this forever, but any 19 year old with a stopwatch and gusto can make you tired, pukey, and put you through workouts that increase your risk of injury. That’s not what this is about, and sometimes it takes coming over to the best personal training gym in Cary and McHenry County to make that happen.
Make sure your trainer knows the difference 🙂
- Are you goals even your real goals?
We’ve already talked about how training is about becoming more, and not less. So while fat loss goals are taken dead serious at Edge, so are the other goals.More confidence? More energy to play with your kids? Is this a grandkid on the way that you know will run you into the ground if you don’t act now?
Or maybe you’re just tired of feeling like you’re 20 years older than you are.So, if you tell me you want to lose 20lbs, we’re going to talk about why. Obviously I want you to lose 20lbs, but if you’re chasing that 20lb fat loss because you think it’s going to give you [insert your actual goal here] then you might be wrong. And guess what? That 20lbs won’t solve that problem. Fitness should be about becoming more of your best self, and not less of it. If your only goal is to just lose something, a professional trainer will help you become more, and work toward being your best self.
And yes, if you’re working with the best, we still guide you to losing that 20lb, too. 🙂
- Let’s talk about a fat loss goal.
If you want to lose fat, then your trainer should help you with that goal. Many members come in and initially say they don’t care about the number, only to admit later that they really do. If you have a fat loss goal, please share it with your trainer—it’s the only way we can have a talk about that goal, and then work on achieving it.A good trainer thinks “wow, this person in front of me is so advanced and doesn’t care about a number on a scale”
The best personal trainers? We dig a little (ok, sometimes we dig waaaay deep) deeper and find the truth. We know there’s an usually inverse relationship between how much people tell us they don’t care, and how much work we have to do to make sure there’s movement on the thing”
- BUUUT Fat loss shouldn’t be the only goal.
How many times have you exclusively focused on losing fat in the past, only to fail? Working out gives you so much more than just losing fat. You get an increase in energy, mental sharpness and acuity, avoid the 3pm crash, make new friends, learn a new skill, build confidence, reshape your muscles, protect old injuries, prevent new injuries, and these are just a few. The good news is that in a decade in this industry helping 1000s of people, there hasn’t been one that had fat loss as a goal for the sake of losing fat…there’s always a reason for being in the gym.
- A good fitness program includes an assessment process.
The assessment process should include goal setting, medical history, injury history, and a movement screen. Too many bootcamps, Cross Fitness training gyms, and large group personal training centers don’t do this. This puts you, the client, at a DRASTICALLY increased risk of getting hurt.Each client coming in has a unique history that, when your trainer knows about, can be great information on how to shape not only your program, but your journey as well. If you’re a 23 year old former military man or woman or college athlete with no injury history or gaps in consistently working out, you’re probably okay to skip this step. For the rest of us, please make sure your personal trainer is taking you through the proper steps.
Besides, if your trainer isn’t willing to spend a few minutes (at Edge, our initial Strategy Session is 45 minutes) with you to ensure your safety and progress, turn and run. At best, you get a cookie- cutter workout with dozens of other people that gets you little to no results. At worst you get pushed into a program inappropriate for you, and your body, and injury history, and you get hurt…
- Is this fun?
Okay, if you love having fun, but are completely serious about your fitness and getting strong, happy, and healthy, Edge is the place for you! If either of those isn’t your jam, you’d need to find another personal trainer or fitness program. Why?We have too much of our lives that just isn’t fun. I get it–some things aren’t fun. Funerals, doctor visits, and, for most people, work. The thing is, the gym doesn’t have to be that way. I always hated walking into a big gym where nobody knew your name. It felt like a sweaty funeral–boring, dry, and sorta like you had to be there when you didn’t want to.
Fitness isn’t something you check off your life list. It’s not high school with a set start and stop time (for most of us, anyway), which is good because then we’d be dressing even weirder in the gym. No…. at Edge, everything from the front area to the gym to the people to the workouts are designed to have a good time. This is a journey, and the best personal trainers know that hard work + FUN (not just hard work) will keep you, the client, coming back, getting results, and living out your best life.
- Do I have the option to learn?
At Edge, one of our core values is to get 1% better everyday, and we use that value to educate all our clients. Here’s the thing: we’re happy to remind you of proper technique each and every time because that’s our job. But, if you want to learn, you always have the option of going to to our website, facebook, or instagram to learn technique, ask a question in our private facebook group, or chat with one of your coaches after the session.
We are educators in fitness for those who want to be educated, and when you hire a trainer, after a while you should stick with them because you want to (accountability, relationships, working harder while being coached, friendships at the gym), but not because you necessarily need to. If you can’t walk into a gym on a work trip and get a halfway decent workout after a year with your trainer, decide how important education is on your path towards a strong, happy, and healthy life, and adjust.
Okay, here are three more that I thought of after whittling this original list down to 10. These are more advanced things to look for while selecting a fitness program.
Three Bonus Tips for Selecting the Best Personal Trainer in Cary & McHenry County
- You do not need a military mindset to workout two to three hours a week. Even if you were in the military, there is a
large difference between preparing for war, and treating your body right. One time, our gym was at an obstacle course race, and everyone from the trainers to those who had never even ran a formal 5k had a blast, got muddy, and grew together as a tribe.
Before we started, there was a militant motivational speaker who was set to get everyone pumped up. After the initial shock of being screamed at like a child who drew with sharpie all over the wall, I was pretty pumped up. The first 30 seconds of that race the adrenaline was pumping, and then it wasn’t. I was back to normal. i wasn’t going to war; I was going to work on myself and get better. Our nervous systems aren’t designed to be in the super pumped up mode for very long, and you will crash and burn. Is your trainer or gym active in the community?
- Is your gym/personal trainer community centric? While this may or may not be a deal-breaker to you in your quest to find the best trainer in McHenry County and beyond, I think it’s pretty important. At it’s core, personal training is about service, and I think in order to build a successful tribe of people who love their strong, happy, and healthy life requires giving back to the community that we serve. Edge, for example, has donated to dozens upon dozens of charity organizations from Heroes Like Haley, the Team Carone Foundation, and has been a chamber member since 2011. The owner, Mike Spagnola, has served on the chamber board for 3 years, two of them being on the executive board and is the 2018 Chamber President.
- Does your deal seem too good to be true?
Buyer beware the $100 per month small group training. First, it probably isn’t small group, and you’ll likely be in giant classes, which you can find included in a Y membership.Second, no small gym can charge that rate and have a business that is around to watch you get better. Having been in business since 2011, there are certain red flags that you learn to watch for. If you find a training program this cheap, do your homework. Do they small 20-30 people in a class for the sake of “HIGH ENERGY”?
Are they doing huge group orientations and never learn about you and your specific needs? Do they put you on crazy restrictive diets that you know you can’t sustain? Chances are good that their small, community gym needs 300-500 members to stick around. With that amount of clients, you are likely to get lost in the mix. Now, you may or may not care, and if you just need some quick help and don’t really care about community, coaching, and whether this small business will be around to help you and serve its community 3 years from now, but if you do, keep this in mind.
A Few More Things to Consider on your Quest for the Best Personal Trainer…
- Are you and the trainer you’re looking to hire a good fit? Are you guys going to get along? An easy way to check this is to actually get to talk to him/her (or them, if you’re working with a team of trainers!) and make sure it’s a good fit. Spending 30-50 minutes with someone can be a real drag if they make you wanna fall asleep. Probably not worse than wanting to snap their phone if they take another picture of themselves flexing while you’re trying to get your workout in.It’s your right as a client to make sure you mesh well with your trainer.
- Shop socially. At this point everything we do is on Facebook, Instagram, and our websites. Go check them out, and check out everyone you’re considering as well. Are the pictures full of members doing what we say we provide? Or of trainers talking in the camera, or clearly copy and pasted information that you can’t really use?Social media (I call it facebook stalking) is the first step to screening and weeding out those who aren’t there for YOU.
- Yes, at Edge we have awesome members that travel 40 minutes each way to work with our amazing staff. That said, we totally understand that convenience is a huge factor in making sure your gym/trainer you choose is something you can stick to. That’s why we offer custom scheduling for personal training, several class times daily, and over 25 small group personal training session times each week to make sure you can get quality work in each without the hassle.
You should research every fitness program that appeals to you before making your decision to hire the best personal trainer. While I ultimately hope you decide on Edge Fitness on your quest toward a strong, happy, and healthy life, I realize that not every person will be right for us. That’s why I wrote this guide, and I hope you find it useful on your mission to carry out your best life through fitness.