“Once my female clients see the results, I can’t keep them out of the weights room!”

If anyone knows about powerlifting, it’s Elite World Class Powerlifter Jackson Hinch. The U110kg GPC World Champion, Jackson hit a 295kg squat, 190kg bench Press, and a 300kg deadlift. It’s no surprise, therefore, that he is demand as a personal trainer who knows their stuff when it comes to strength training.

What made you want to become a personal trainer?

All through high school I was on track to become a Lawyer or Accountant or something similar, excelling in subjects like Accounting, History, Economics, and Calculus. As my love for training grew I began to realise that even though I was good at these things I didn’t really enjoy them, and I couldn’t stand the idea of being behind a desk forever. I knew that I could do a lot more for people in helping them get the same benefits from training as I have experienced physically, mentally and emotionally. After discussing my thoughts and ideas with some of the Personal Trainers I knew, and knowing I had the opportunity to work on something I was actually passionate about I knew Personal Training was for me.

What has been your favourite moment as a personal trainer so far?

It is hard to pick out one moment as my favourite as I just enjoy helping anyone and everyone towards their goals, and no matter how small someone’s goals or how different their circumstances seem, the look of achievement on their face is always the same. If I had to pick one of my favourites that sticks out in my mind, it would be back home in New Zealand working at Eastside Barbell Club helping our oldest member, John, deadlift 212.5kg at 72 years old for an unofficial world record.

How did you get involved in powerlifting?

I actually found Powerlifting entirely by mistake, and had no idea it existed. I trained for about 2 years with very little structure or thought for technique. Somehow I still managed to get a decent base level of strength throughout this time and one of the guys at the gym I was at noticed me. He put me in touch with a group of Powerlifters at a Strength and Conditioning based facility called Eastside Barbell Club. About 3 months after my first session there I lifted in my first meet and have never looked back ! Everyone was very inviting, the sense of community and help I received from everyone even though I was entirely new was fantastic, I was very surprised at the time and it was half the reason I stuck around.

Do you think powerlifting has been a helpful specialism for you as a personal trainer?

I do believe that powerlifting has been and will continue to be a very helpful niche for me as a Trainer. With the introduction of “Raw” lifting a few years back it has made the sport far more accessible to a much wider range of people, and with more people looking to get into the sport and looking for guidance, having my knowledge, competition background and array of titles and records it will continue to be a great specialist area for me. Also with a decent strength level to a certain degree being the base of any fitness endeavour in the gym, it is a very versatile area for me to be knowledgeable in as I can adapt it to anyone, not just competitive Powerlifters.

Related content: Master Olympic Lifts on our REPS-accredited CPD course 

Olympic lifts are classics but can be performed with bad technique without proper coaching. What would be your advice to newcomers to the gym who want to do compound lifts?

The full Clean & Jerk and Snatch are quite demanding, and require a lot of time spent on technique and mobility to perform then correctly. This is very unnecessary for the majority of gym goers, as they’re not going for a specific career in Weightlifting their time is better spent on a bigger variety of fitness aspects. The Power Clean is a happy medium of time commitment and benefit for the average trainee, it is also the most commonly performed variation of the Olympic lifts in my experience. It generally gets turned into a Deadlift/Upright Row/Reverse Curl love child and has a lot more risk for a lot less benefit, so I would like to see more people performing this and reaping the benefits of increased speed, power, strength, and coordination.

Would you like to see more women lifting weights and, as a personal trainer, how do you encourage your female clients to try it?

I would love to see more women lifting weights. The general goal female’s have when coming into the gym is to “tone up” and “lose weight”, this is just building muscle and losing fat. They have been led to believe they can get their desired result running on a treadmill and playing with little dumbells, training with weights and a relatively healthy high protein diet is the best way to achieve these results by far.

I encourage my female clients to lift weights initially by explaining the programme and how the body works to them in layman’s terms so they begin to understand how wrong the majority of advice out there is. I also have to implore to every female client that lifting weights won’t make them “bulky”, if anything it makes them far smaller. Once they see the results I can’t keep them out of the weights room, but to take the initial plunge into it requires a fair degree of trust and so the approach will differ from client to client.

What do you think makes someone not just a good personal trainer, but a great personal trainer?

I think for someone to be a great Personal Trainer and to separate themselves above the rest of the pack they have to embrace both aspects of the job title entirely, “Personal” and “Trainer”.

From the “Personal” aspect, the Trainer must be insanely approachable, charismatic, open-minded, trustworthy and honest, and empathetic. Missing any of these qualities will result in always delivering a subpar service to your clients as their time in the gym could be more enjoyable and more productive. A great Personal Trainer will be more than just a Trainer but also their friend.

From the “Trainer” aspect, the Trainer must walk the walk as well as talk the talk in my opinion. I don’t expect all PTs to excel in a particular field to the level I have with my sport, but at the very least keeping in some kind of decent shape is a must, otherwise how can a client listen to what you say when you can’t even commit yourself to being physically fit. Also being versatile and having a broad range of knowledge is a definite requirement, while still realizing where your boundaries lie and not overpromising results or taking on clients with goals you have no hope of helping them reach.

Find out more about Jackson Hinch at JDP Fitness

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