Read these 16 Finding a Personal Trainer Tips tips to make your life smarter, better, faster and wiser. Each tip is approved by our Editors and created by expert writers so great we call them Gurus. LifeTips is the place to go when you need to know about Exercise tips and hundreds of other topics.
Finding the right Personal Trainer is like finding the right pair of pants: it takes some time, but honestly you are really just finding what you want, or what fits. (oh yeah, I said 'fits' and it related to both trainers and pants)
Think first what your primary goal is. If your goal is to lose weight, most personal trainers will be able to help you with that, but ask if they have any experience in that realm. If your goal is more related to health because you have a bad back (for example), you want to find a Personal Trainer who has knowledge of postural anatomy and has done work before altering postural inconsistencies and the like with clients. Always make sure you ask for and get what you want. At a store buying pants, you would get the pair that actually fits you, not the one that doesn't.
If where you are searching for a Personal Trainer is at a gym, ask one of the counselors or owners of the gym about their Personal Trainers and they will help to give you one that fits yourneeds and wants. When looking places online and the like, make sure they have testimonials about their current/previous clientele, and if you are curious ask if you could contact one of them. If they're real people it shouldn't be an issue. All in all, always search until you find a Personal Trainer that fits what you are looking for and you feel comfortable with.
When choosing a personal trainer or fitness coach, one should avoid giving too much gravity to the physique of the trainer. It is a natural proclivity to associate a trainer's physique with their capabilities as a trainer. Unfortunately, this is not an equation that always produces good results. There are trainers that are extremely knowledgeable and exceptionally effective at what they do; however, for one reason or another, their bodies are not a direct reflection of that.
Admittedly, this should not be the case, but their could be a number of legitimate reasons why a certain trainer may not be in the best physical condition possible. Consider the fact that an exceptionally effective and successful personal trainer will probably have an extremely large number of clientele and he/she may not be as proficient in time management as they are in training individuals (leaving no time for them to workout). They could have a number of medical issues that prevent physical activity while causing weight gain. Or maybe they are in it because they are good at it and it can pay well, but they are not passionate about fitness in and of itself.
Whatever the reason for the poor physique, competent trainers come in all shapes, sizes and colors. The ideal situation would be to have a trainer whose body motivates you during workouts, but you would probably want one that gets results and comes highly recommended above all.
Two of the best ways to select a trainer is:
1. Test their knowledge - Ask them what they would do to help you obtain your goals and then research their answers.
2. Referrals - Talk with people who have used this particular trainer and give gravity to their testimonies. Listen to what they say about him/her beyond their ability to get results. Does the character and personality of the trainer sound like they would be fit for you? This is important because a trainer and client are a team, and personality conflicts create an environment that is not conducive to achieving optimal results.
You can see a personal trainer regularly for years, or you can take a few sessions and then work out on your own, perhaps seeing the trainer for a checkup every few weeks.
It is often worthwhile to book just a couple of sessions to make sure you're using the equipment correctly. It's customary for personal trainers to sell packages, often 10-12 sessions, at a reduced rate. These usually have to be taken in a certain time period and are paid for up front. Trainers who are club employees are bound by club rules, but those who are independent are more flexible. You may have to shop for a trainer you like who offers a deal you like. Don't be pushed into something that's too long or too expensive for comfort. You may not be able to get your money back.
Many personal trainers will train two people at the same time for a discount rate. If you have someone you want to work out with and you need a personal trainer, you might want to find out about training together. More than two people in a conventional session doesn't work as well, but clubs and trainers are coming up with more creative options.
Find a personal trainer you feel comfortable with. You may be spending a lot of time with this person, and you should be able to focus on the exercises, not the trainer. If you find you do not get along, or this person's teaching style isn't for you, ask the club's training supervisor to find you another trainer. Trainers usually understand this, as not all personalities are a fit. (If you're training at home, just quit and find somebody else.) Sometimes you may feel you have learned all you can from a trainer and would like to try working with somebody else. Discuss this with the trainer, who may be able to recommend someone.
Be suspicious of any personal trainer who tells you your success will depend on taking certain supplements, especially if he or she is selling them. Reputable trainers and gyms often do sell supplements, but they should just make them available, not give you a hard sell. Your success depends on good nutrition and sticking with your exercise program.
A personal trainer should ask you in the initial interview about any medical problems you have or have had in the past, including medications you take. Personal trainers should contact your doctor if necessary or ask you to get a medical release if you have a condition that training can exacerbate.
A personal trainer with 5 or more years of experience does not necessarily have knowledge on fitness subjects. A recent study showed personal trainers with a degree in exercise science and high-level trainer certifications were much more likely to be knowledgeable than those who just had experience.
If you're ready to start an exercise program and the personal trainers who have been recommended put you on a waiting list, find another personal trainer equally qualified. If a trainer is busy, it doesn't mean he or she is worth waiting for, especially if waiting is going to cause you to lose your enthusiasm for exercise.
A certified personal trainer should be able to give you accurate information on nutrition, but not make out a diet for you or tell you specifically what to eat. That is the job of a registered dietician, not a gym pro with personal trainer certification. A personal trainer may refer you to a dietician if you need further guidance.
Also, personal trainers can give you information about natural supplements, but should not make taking supplements a required part of your program. Evaluate any supplements the personal trainer may try to sell you against others on the market and don't take anything without reading the label.
On your quest to find a personal trainer, make sure they are certified by a reputable agency. This indicates they have at least the minimum qualifications to work with apparently healthy people, though there are also advanced certifications. Some reliable certification agencies are ACSM, ACE, NSCA, NASM, and AFAA. If your personal trainer is certified by another agency, check the agency's website or ask to see their literature. Certifications should require continuing education and seem appropriate for what you want. You are within your rights to ask to see trainer certifications or talk to other clients they have trained, if you have any doubts about their credibility.
There are a number of Web sites that offer fitness programs, ranging from an off-the-shelf version for your goals to fully interactive programs. Some personal trainers offer services on-line. You can save money with these, but you may also need to work out one-on-one with a real person to get best results. Some people need an appointment with a personal trainer, not a computer, to stay motivated.
If you have special problems or are very out of shape and a real beginner (as well as a Net enthusiast who's let fitness go), you may not be able to do exercises properly without seeing them in person. You may want to get a good start with an in-person personal trainer, then continue with an on-line version. Consider what fits your needs and personality, and choose accordingly.
A personal trainer should be able to give you a weight training program that is right for you and supervise you while you do it, correcting technique and providing motivation. Personal trainers should help you plan your aerobic exercise, but not necessarily do it with you. They may run or walk with you or work out with you, but it is your choice if you want to pay someone to do that. Some personal trainers may also give you the option of going outside for a circuit or obstacle course sort of routine.
A personal trainer can give you exercises to strengthen the muscles you use in golf, but you still have to see a pro to perfect your swing. An occasional trainer may be able to teach you how to swim, for instance, but generally you need someone else to do that. Make sure trainers have credentials and experience before you ask them to teach you sports skills.
There can be a fine line between too little and too much effort. A good personal trainer can encourage and guide you to greater gains by getting you to work harder than you would on your own. However, if he or she pushes you so hard that you are constantly sore or begin to dread your workouts, it's time to ask them to back off, or find a personal trainer who listens to your body.
Many people prefer working out at home, and lots of trainers are happy to come to your home. Some do home training exclusively. You may be asked to pay a little more for in-home training than gym training. Make sure you get a contract and understand the trainer's rules, including what happens if you cancel or if the trainer doesn't show up. Use the same criteria you would to evaluate a gym trainer, except be even more careful. Ask the trainer to come to your house for an interview before you commit any money, and have your partner or a friend with you until you are sure you are comfortable with the trainer.
Hiring a personal trainer is sometimes unpredictable. Just as you would do research and ask questions about your doctor, the same precautions should be done before hiring a personal trainer. When you ask for a personal trainer at your local gym or health club, be sure to investigate which will be most compatible with your goals and personality. Instead of training with whichever trainer the front desk assigns you, ask about each trainer's specialties and read his or her bio before you commit to any one trainer. Perhaps the most paramount step to take before hiring a trainer is to make sure they are qualified. Some gyms give their trainers an in-house certification but do not require a nationally recognized accreditation. Regardless of the trainer you choose, ensure they are certified by a national organization and are CPR/AED certified.