Finding the Perfect Personal Trainer

Finding the Perfect Personal Trainer

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  1. When you decide that it is time to either step up your game or just get into it, getting a personal trainer is often a logical first step. The good news is that there are many qualified and experienced personal trainers out there waiting to help you become healthier and more fit. The bad news is, there are a lot of unqualified folks that think that all that is involved in personal training is a muscle shirt and a protein shake.

    So, how do you know if you are getting the real deal? How can you be sure that your trainer isn’t a weekend warrior looking to make easy cash on the side? Four words. Research,Match, Questions, Trust.

    First do some RESEARCH. If you are a member of a gym, ask to see the bios of all the available trainers. First take note of the certification. If the bio says something vague like "nationally certified" or "Master Trainer" but doesn’t give the certifying body…run away! The gold standard for personal training are the National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA) accredited certifications, which include ACE, NASM, ACSM, NSCA, NCSF, NFPT, NESTA, and the IFPA. A degree in Exercise Science, Kinesthesiology, or Physical Therapy is also helpful, but even then, a certification is ideal. If you aren’t a member of a gym, and are dealing with a freelance personal trainer, make sure you ask to see the actual certification, or check the certifying body’s website for confirmation that this person is who they say they are.

    The next step is to find the person that seems well suited to work with you. If the bio says that the trainer loves working with elite athletes and you are just interested in getting into the skirt you wore last spring, keep looking! Find your MATCH, or at least your top three possibilities. Look for a person that you can connect with. Ask yourself, do I want a male or female trainer? Do I want a cheerleader or a drill instructor?

    Now it is time to make contact. At a gym this means making appointments to talk to all the trainers that you are interested in. The management won’t like it. That is their problem. Stick to your guns and get to talk to your top three trainers (if there are three of interest). Your health is too important to trust to the next guy that is up on the sales queue. When you get the appointment, ask specific QUESTIONS.

    What do you think your strengths are?

    Are they the strengths you are looking for? If she is really good at training distance runners for marathons, are your goals going to mesh?

    What is your motivation style?

    This goes back to cheerleader versus drill instructor. If you feel like crying every time your boss tells you to re- type a memo, you probably want to avoid the drill instructor type, but if you only get motivated by a hard-core attitude, that might be just the thing.

    What kind of continuing education have you done?

    Because actions speak louder than words. It is easy for a trainer to say "Oh, yes! I’m deeply engrossed in the issues that you have and share your interests completely!" but if your issue is lower back pain and all their CE is about powerlifting, they aren’t being honest with you.


    The last thing is TRUST, and in this situation, you need to trust yourself. You will know if the trainer you are talking to just made up a CE course about yoga on horseback just because you are an equestrian. Trust your gut, if you feel like this isn’t the right person, move on.Thank them for their time and keep moving. That is why you made more than one appointment! If you do connect with the trainer, go ahead and hire them, cancel the other appointments and go from there.

    Finding a personal trainer doesn’t have to be difficult or daunting, just take the time to get the right one- your body will thank you for it!



    Check to see if your personal trainer is certified

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