The decision to hire a personal trainer is often fraught with emotion and uncertainty. Unfortunately, many people do not really take the time to consider what it takes to have a healthy working relationship with a fitness professional.
A lot of people are introduced to personal training at their neighborhood gym, so they get paired with whomever has an available training slot. While this person is likely a certified personal trainer (CPT), that’s just one of the necessary components of an effective personal trainer. A lot of it comes down to a trainer’s style and personality and how well these mesh with the client’s temperament and goals. If you’re considering hiring a personal trainer and want to be well informed, keep reading for some practical tips on choosing the best trainer for you.
Why Do You Need a Personal Trainer?
The first thing to ask yourself before hiring a trainer is, “Do I really need a personal trainer?” When you opt to invest in a trainer, you are making a choice that can change your life. Yet, most people who hire trainers put little if any thought into the selection process. Conducting sufficient research to make an informed decision is key to finding a trainer who understands your goals and can help you achieve them.
Trainers have a range of specialties, so you may or may not need their services, depending on your overall fitness. Possible reasons to hire a trainer include learning how to use fitness equipment, recomposing your body via high-intensity interval training (HIIT) and/or other means, getting help to overcome a fitness plateau, and preparing for a bodybuilding competition, endurance race, or some other fitness event.
Always Check References
Although it is easy to find trainer reviews online, some unscrupulous individuals have attempted to make themselves look more qualified than they are by exaggerating their skills or stealing other trainers’ before-and-after pictures and testimonials. It is therefore more important than ever to research a potential trainer’s background and experience and ask if they have any clients who could speak to their experience with the trainer. If you can get a trainer recommendation from a friend or family member, that’s even better.
In addition to verifying trainer testimonials, be sure to ask about a typical training day. The trainer’s answers should provide you with insight into their character, dependability, disposition as a trainer, and desire to improve – both as a trainer and their clients’ development.
Don’t Make Rash Decisions
It’s possible to meet a trainer and instantly click. While it’s great if you have professional chemistry with your trainer, it’s best to be cautious, as this scenario often results in clients making rash decisions that they later regret. This is particularly sage advice if you are meeting with a trainer who is employed by a gym. Most chain gyms emphasize the sign-up/selling process with their trainers, so CPTs have become particularly adept at persuading people to sign up right away after a tour or short sales pitch.
Remember, don’t make this choice carelessly. Hiring a personal trainer can potentially change your life, but it could also lead to remorse and wasted time and money. If you are already a member of a gym that offers personal training services, spend a few weeks walking the treadmill and observing how the trainers work with their clients. Pay attention to each trainer’s clientele, including age and fitness level, and training style (e.g., passive-aggressive, drill sergeant, laissez-faire, etc.). Most importantly, trust your intuition.
Qualifications to Look For
Note that all qualifications and certifications are not created equal. There are two main things to be mindful of when determining if your trainer is educated appropriately for you.
First, take note of whether they have obtained a degree in exercise science, kinesiology, or something similar from a college or university. If so, you can be assured that they at least have a good basis of theoretical knowledge.
Second, look at the certification that is held. If you are in the United States, the trainer should hold a certification from an accredited provider. Also, be sure that your trainer is properly certified in relevant sub-specialties, such as bodybuilding, working with clients of advanced age, or fitness specialties like kickboxing or yoga.
Don’t Make This Decision Lightly
An investment to hire the best personal trainer for you can be life-changing, but navigating potentially murky waters to find the perfect one can be rife with challenges. If you’re serious about making a change, take your time with the process. There are great trainers out there, you’ve just got to find them.