A Trainer is a Good Investment: An Interview with Trainer, Tasha Cooper (@TrainWithTasha)

A Trainer is a Good Investment: An Interview with Trainer, Tasha Cooper (@TrainWithTasha)

By: Derika Crowley

Girls say this all the time, “I just want a flat stomach and a nice booty.” Which is understandable, those things are nice (especially during swimsuit season); but, ladies we must stop this way of thinking. The goal should be overall health and to work out your entire body.

It’s important to ensure you are working out your entire body as a young woman because eventually, all weight catches up to you. Yes, you may be able to eat a full pizza at 10 p.m. or load up on carbs now, but all the poor eating decisions and work out decisions will eventually manifest. Taking note of your body fat, especially as a woman of color, is important because the black community has a reputation of developing diseases like high blood pressure, diabetes, and obesity.  For this reason, an investing in a trainer can help you not only get a better picture of your current state, but also assist in creating a plan that keeps you healthy and reach your fitness goals.

I went to get a body assessment from Tasha Cooper of @TrainwithTasha in the DMV (for those who don’t know that’s the D.C., Maryland, and Virginia area) and let me tell you she got me in check. Not only did I get a better look at my current fitness state, but I also received a lot of information on the value of investing in a personal trainer – or at most getting an assessment with one.

Over the next few weeks, I will be working with Tasha and sharing my experiences with Twenty Somethin’ & Black. Tasha and I will walk you through the initial assessment, what you should look for in a trainer, and then as the weeks progress ways to make sure you are working towards building your overall health and exercising every area of your body. Here is what you should expect on your first day with a new trainer:

Sharing Personal Information

“[Your trainer] should be certified and have a mission they stand by. If they don’t get your measures or see a picture of you prior to starting your training, walk away.”

You may be asked to fill out some paperwork, or just ask asked a lot of questions about your medical history, fitness level, and diet. It is important to answer these questions fully and honestly to ensure that your trainer can design a workout program that is as safe as it is effective.

Your trainer will (well, should) also dedicate time to going over their own resume of work, certifications, and philosophy.

Getting Weighed and Measured

“At the very least, your trainer should get your height, weight, body fat – using a Body Fat Device or “The Pinch” – and your body measurements.” – Tasha

Weighing you and taking detailed measurements before you start working with your personal trainer allows you both to track your progress. It can be embarrassing to be weighed and measured if you are out of shape, but seeing the numbers on the scale and the measuring tape change is worth a little discomfort in the beginning. In general, you can expect the usual chest, waist and hip measurements to be taken, as well as your neck, biceps, forearms, buttocks, thighs, and calves. They will also get your current body fat percentage, either using a Body Fat Device (pictured) or a Pinching utensil.

They’ll Ask About Your Fitness Goals

Your trainer will want to know what your fitness goals to design a program to help you accomplish them. Think carefully before your first session about what you’d like to accomplish. Get as specific as possible, and use pictures.

Discuss Nutrition

“Whether it’s with the FitnessPal app or a Journal, you need to be tracking what you eat.”

A healthy diet should include lean protein, whole grains, healthy fats, vegetables, and fruits. Be honest with your personal trainer about your food preferences. Unless your trainer is a dietician, they can design a complete plan for you, but they can offer advice on how to make healthier choices.


“Everyone’s body is different, so no workout plan can be ‘one size fits all’. Everyone’s body is designed and responds differently. A physical assessment allows for you, and your trainer, to see where you’re at your trouble spots, and your true starting point.”

Depending on your fitness goals and general health, your first session with your personal trainer may or may not include a workout. If it does, you can expect to warm up by doing some aerobic activity to get your heart rate up. This can be jumping rope, walking on a treadmill or something similar. This might be followed by a workout with free weights or machines, or both. Your session should also include a cool-down period and stretch. They may also stretch out your muscles using a roller device before your workout to get out any kinks or knots. 

The Warm Up

The Workout