More and more people are beginning to regard a personal trainer not as a luxury but as a necessity. They are realizing that, without proper guidance and support it is very difficult to initiate an exercise program. Unfortunately, virtually anyone can hang a sign on their door and call themselves a fitness professional. There now are more trainers than ever, substantially increasing your chances of making a bad choice.
So how do you go about finding a trainer that is suited for you? Not only is there a substantial financial commitment involved, but also there is a large amount of time and effort invested. In order to facilitate this chore, it is imperative that you systematize your approach to the selection process. I believe there are five fundamental criteria that you should take into account in order to make an educated decision.
Five Keys To Getting Your Money's Worth
1. Evaluate The Credentials Of The Trainer:
At present, there is no licensure required to become a personal trainer. Consequently, anyone who has ever set foot in a gym has a green light to give advice on the subject. This has led to an abundance of unqualified trainers.
Although not mandatory, the majority of competent trainers elect to become certified as fitness professionals, which requires passing a detailed written examination on exercise and fitness. There are several organizations that certify personal trainers, the two most prominent being the American Council on Exercise (ACE) and the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM).
However, one must realize that simply because a person is certified does not mean he/she is an expert in the field of fitness. Certified implies that a trainer displays a basic knowledge of exercise, stretching and nutrition, but does not take into account many factors that ultimately determine a trainer's competence.
There are many trainers who possess book smarts and can pass a certification exam, but often are not able to communicate their knowledge to others in a clear, concise fashion. I have seen this all too many times. Certification is valuable as an initial screening tool but it has limited usage.
2. Find A Trainer With A Physique That You Admire:
A personal trainer should serve as a fitness role model. If you are inspired by the physique of your trainer, it can serve to motivate you to stay on a proper course. The ability to work with someone who has achieved an enviable physique through fitness can be a terrific source of inspiration and can keep you focused on your fitness goals.
While it is true that someone with a great body is not always a capable trainer, one should look very skeptically at a trainer who is overweight or unfit. A trainer who is out of shape dos not serve as a positive fitness role model. One has to question either the knowledge and/or dedication of fitness professionals who do not practice what they preach.
Moreover, if the trainer cannot achieve a satisfactory level of conditioning, how can you expect that he/she will be able to help you achieve your goals?
|WHAT'S YOUR GOAL?|
3. Find A Trainer That Has A Personality You Enjoy:
A good trainer must possess more than just knowledge. He/she has to relate to the needs of each individual trainee. People have a myriad of personalities and a trainer must be able to deliver positive reinforcement as well as constructive criticism. He must be able to sense when to be forceful and when to be compassionate, when to push for that extra rep and when to pull back.
While some people respond to a hard-driving, militaristic style of training, others need to be gently prodded and coaxed for maximum results. Spend some time talking to the trainer and get a feel for his/her ability to communicate with you.
Ask direct questions about the style that he/she employs and determine whether the style fits your personality. If you are not comfortable with the trainer's persona, there is a good probability that you will not be satisfied working with him/her on a professional level.
4. Evaluate Several References From The Trainer:
Any established trainer should be able to provide the names of several clients who can attest to his/her competence as a fitness professional. You should ask for the names of people who are about the same age and sex, and have similar fitness goals as yourself. This will ensure that you can accurately assess whether he/she is skilled in dealing with your particular needs.
When you call the references, do not hesitate to ask any questions that you feel are pertinent in respect to the trainer. During your consultation, a trainer will likely be on his best behavior. You often get a better insight into his aptitude by asking a client about such factors as temperament, knowledge, flexibility in scheduling, honest, etc.
Also, make sure to ask if the person is satisfied with the results they have achieved. You would be surprised at how many people continue to employ the same trainer simply because it is inconvenient to switch.
5. Evaluate The Fee Structure Of The Trainer:
Fees can vary greatly when it comes to personal training, ranging from as little as about $35 per session and going as high as $150 per session or more. Don't think that a low-priced trainer is a bargain or that a high-priced trainer has some magical formula for success.
There are many things that will dictate fee structure including competition, location, reputation, etc. As a rule, be wary of trainers at either end of the fee spectrum.
As a trainer myself, I would like to point out that there are many incompetent trainers out there. I say this because I have been to a dozen gyms and have only met a handful of trainers that I would even think about investing my money in. The best trainers are the ones who can deliver results in the least amount of time as possible.
My rule of thumb as a trainer is that if he/she needs to be with me for more than 4 weeks on a professional level, then I'm not doing my job properly. Hence, I have never had to train any one person for more than 4 weeks. Good luck finding a personal trainer if that's what you seek but remember: all of the knowledge and wisdom you seek concerning the fitness realm is out there.
You just have to read a bit or even ask friends. That's how I got to where I am today and I continue to strive to improve my knowledge on a daily basis. One can never know too much in life. Train hard, train smart, think BIG!