Congratulations! You’ve taken the first step in working toward your fitness goals by making the decision to hire a personal trainer. So, what’s next? How do you find one? Do you track one down at the local gym? Do you search online? Perhaps get a referral from a trusted friend? These are all resources you can use to help you find a qualified trainer to assist you in creating your desired results. The question is, no matter where you go to find a personal trainer, how do you know which one is right for you?
Take into consideration the following 10 things to help determine if a certain trainer is a good fit for you.
- Credentials. Does the trainer have a fitness certification? If so, what is it? The NCCA (National Commission for Certifying Agencies) is the gold standard in the field of certifying agencies and they have determined the best personal training certifications to be: ACE (American Council on Exercise), NASM (National Academy of Sports Medicine), ACSM (American College of Sports Medicine), and NSCA (National Strength and Conditioning Association).
- Experience. How long has the trainer been in the business? Though years in the profession is often a good indicator of depth of experience, it may not always be necessary depending on what you are looking for. For example, if price is your most important criteria, then a new trainer may be able to offer you lower prices. Also, does he or she have evidence of experience? Ask for references.
- Personality. Not all trainers are the same. Not all clients are the same. As a client, you must determine what motivates you. Do you get more pumped up with a trainer who is the cheerleading sort – someone who pushes you with positive chants of, “Come on, you can do it!”? Or are you motivated by someone who figuratively holds the whip and scares you into doing another couple of pushups?
- Philosophy. On what beliefs is the trainer’s program based? What methods of exercise does he or she promote? What type of equipment is used? Is online/virtual training available? Does the program include nutrition guidance as well as physical training?
- Specialties. Do you have special needs related to your health? For instance, are you pregnant? Do you have diabetes? Are you a specialized athlete? It is beneficial to have a trainer who is knowledgeable in your area of need.
- Cost. Price is a big factor in the decision-making process for most people. A trainer’s fee can range from $20.00 to hundreds of dollars per hour and will vary based not only on experience level and specializations, but on geographic area as well. For example, a trainer in NYC will charge quite a bit more than a trainer in a small town in the middle of nowhere. Whatever the cost though, a good personal trainer is worth every penny.
- Availability. Sometimes the only thing that separates you from a great trainer is availability. Know what you want regarding what time of day you would like to work out and how many times per week works best for you and communicate that up front with your potential trainer.
- Location. Where are you comfortable doing your workouts? Do you like the energy of a gym? Do you prefer the more personal setting of a private studio? Perhaps you are only comfortable working out in your own home, or maybe you really enjoy the great outdoors. How far are you willing to travel? There are many types of locations in which personal trainers hold sessions.
- Reputation. It can be difficult to tell online or in written ads what kind of reputation a trainer has. However, a trainer who is recommended by work of mouth already has a good reputation in the eyes of the person making the recommendation. Be wary of trainers who push supplements as a part of their training program. Manufacturers of supplements are not required to seek approval by the FDA before marketing, so one must be cautious before taking them.
- Progress. How does the trainer progress the training from beginning to end? A good trainer will have a conversation with you at the start to determine any medical, physical, and lifestyle considerations you may have and also to learn what your fitness goals are. The trainer ought to do an initial physical assessment to ascertain what your base level of fitness is and where any muscle imbalances may be. He or she should implement a systematic exercise progression that is in line with your needs and goals and should also create a method for tracking your progress.
These guidelines are meant to help you sort through the overwhelming number of potential trainers in the world of fitness. Some of these suggestions may be more important to you than others, and that’s fine. In the end, you’ve got to go with your gut. Someone may look great on paper, but might not be just the right fit.
So now that you are informed, get that butt moving, find the right trainer, and totally rock your fitness!