You’ve decided that you want to seriously improve your fitness. Whether you’re a fitness fanatic looking to step your game up or a newbie trying to get in shape for the first time, a personal trainer can work with you to help you reach your goals. They work with you to create a personalized plan, push you through tough workouts and help you with your form so you don’t get hurt. Still, a personal trainer can be a big expense, so you want to make sure that you’re hiring the right person for you. Here’s what to look for in a personal trainer and some things to consider before taking the plunge.
First thing’s first—a trainer should be able to show you their qualifications. In the age of the Internet, it’s very easily to get a certification online with minimal training as long as you’re willing to pay. Make sure that they’ve passed an exam and received their certification through an accredited organization such as The American Council on Exercise (ACE), the National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM) or the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA).
A trainer with more experience who can show you proven results from other clients will likely be able to help you reach your goals. Keep in mind that there are plenty of great, new personal trainers out there, so experience isn’t everything. Plus, a more experienced or in-demand trainer may cost more than someone who’s just starting out.
You want to make sure that the trainer’s personality is compatible with yours, and that they’re coaching style matches your training style. If you need encouragement and positivity, a trainer who shouts, insults you and acts like an army general might not be for you. If your personalities don’t mesh, you may wind up quitting. See if you can do a trial session before committing.
The way your trainer sees exercise should match your personal workout style. Is the program going to be mostly indoors at the gym, or can you do the workouts outside? Do they place a heavier emphasis on cardio or on building strength? Make sure their exercise philosophy matches your personal style and aligns with your goals.
If you want to hire a popular trainer, they may be very busy with other clients. If you’re dedicated and disciplined enough to stick to your program even when your trainer isn’t there, you might be okay meeting once a week or even less. You’ll also need to consider whether he’ll be able to meet at different times, or whether you’ll have to schedule appointments weeks in advance.
Personal trainers can be expensive. You’ll need to look at what you can reasonably afford. Remember that this is usually an additional cost on top of a gym membership or equipment. Even if you can’t afford regular one-on-one sessions, some trainers offer group sessions or even packages that come at a discounted price.
This is probably the most important thing to look for in a personal trainer. There will be times when you don’t work as hard as your trainer would like, don’t follow his advice or don’t do everything in your program. A trainer who can be patient with you as you work to reach new goals will help you get the results you want.