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  • Writer's pictureAmelie Mongol Derby Racer

What to ask to a personal trainer?

This week, Sufian, my personal trainer, is in the spotlight.

From his background to his vision for the future, he shares the details of his journey.

Here are 5 questions he answered for me and as an extra, what he has planned for me!

1) What are your certifications and your area of specialty?

I hold a degree in Psychology and Human Performance from the University of Western Australia, and am currently an associate lecturer in Sports Science for a private institution in Singapore. On top of that, I'm also an ACE (American Council of Exercise) master trainer, meaning I can certify other trainers to hold that certification.

2) What's your general approach? I look at the specificity of each individual. I believe that everyone is different in terms of movement, posture, lifestyle and motivation. The trick is to put everything together into one plan that not only gets the desired result but is also enjoyable for the clients.

*Note: he took one hour before we decided to work together to ask me questions about my fitness journey, my body (past/current pain, injuries), my challenges and my goals. He wanted to understand me and my life so it could personalise the training.

3) What is your style of training? To put it simply, strength training that is suited for each individual's posture and movement. We cannot ignore that proper strength training is beneficial. It's not about burpees and squats every time. In the world of Sports Science, there is a continuum of strength and conditioning that we need to look at. So proper progression is key when I'm working with someone. The whole idea is to train for longevity.

Sufian explaining hips level and body flexibility

4) How do you measure progress?

When I measure progress, I look at both the tangible and intangible measurements. The tangibles are the number on the scales, the inches, medical results etc. More importantly for me are the intangibles. Most of my clients who went through their journey with me now understand so much more about their bodies, feeling more empowered and confident as a result. They know what to do when they feel pain, and know what kind of exercises are suitable for them. It feels great knowing that they don't need me anymore and that they can look after themselves.

5) What is your plan for me?

For Amelie, improved performance for her Mongol derby is top priority. The second priority is to help her understand that she is in complete control of her fitness journey. She has been through a lot (with previous injuries etc) and I admire her grit and determination. My job is simply to guide and educate so one day she will know her body extremely well.

6) What do you aim to be? What do you aspire to become? From the very beginning of my career, I have always aspired to be someone that is influential in this industry. Sadly, the fitness and wellness industry is not regulated and the entry requirements for this industry is low. Anyone can be a trainer even without the proper certifications. It makes me sad and angry that human lives are placed onto the hands of such trainers. You wouldn’t expect someone to read a book on astrophysics and then to work for the NASA the very next day. Yet, many people become "experts" in fitness after watching a Youtube video, reading a magazine or watching a Netflix documentary. This is why I became an educator and I put myself through years and years of education to get where I am now. And with all that, I hope to raise the standards of training, one student or trainer at a time.

From the very beginning, I felt I was in good hands. His goal was not to make me do anything at first, but to understand me and my body. On top of the Q&A we did to get to know each other, we had a following session to test my body – how I was walking, did I have any imbalance etc. This made me confident that he was working for the long term for me, building up the foundation not only for the Mongol Derby but also for a great fitness journey throughout my life.

If you want to know more about Sufian and his company, head over to Aileron.

Feel free to use these questions to assess a personal trainer before you hire him/her.


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