7 Things to Look For in a Personal Trainer

You decided to get off the couch and head to the gym to lose some weight or get back in shape. Great! Now that you’re there, you’re finding that you don’t know what to do or how to stay motivated to keep working out or pushing yourself harder.

You might need a personal trainer. Personal Trainers work at fitness centers or privately, visiting you at home or work to help you stay on track with your fitness goals.

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About 37 percent of the people looking for a personal trainer are beginners who are out of shape, according to IDEA Health & Fitness Association, a San Diego-based organization for fitness professionals. Even if you’re an old pro at working out, you may not know what to look for in a personal trainer. Here are some tips that well help you find someone who is a good fit and will help you achieve your fitness goals.

Certifiable

Once you find someone who can potentially be your personal trainer, ask if they have certification from a legitimate certification body. This is one of the most important aspects to know when learning what to look for in a personal trainer. While there are more than 70 organizations certifying trainers, look for certifications from The American College of Sports Medicine, National Academy of Sports Medicine and the American Council on Exercise some of the most recognized and sought after certifications for personal trainers.

You can visit all three Web sites to check whether your personal trainer does indeed have those certifications. Personal trainers can also be certified athletic trainers (National Athletic Trainer’s Association), strength and conditioning coaches (CSCS) or exercise physiologists.

You also want to make sure your personal trainer is keeping his certification current. Personal trainers also continue to take classes, seminars and other continuing education courses to keep their certification updated. Your personal trainer should also be currently certified in first aid, CPR and automated external defibrillator.

A History Lesson

Before you do one pushup, your personal trainer should take your medical history. Your trainer should want to know if you have medical conditions such as asthma, diabetes, fibromyalgia and scoliosis or any musculoskeletal or orthopedic injuries. He should also ask for your fitness goals and assess your starting weight and body composition. Don’t forget to sign the informed consent form.

Goal-Driven

Your fitness regimen should take into consideration not only your goals but your needs too. Make sure you’re getting a good mix of cardio and strength training. Men often neglect their lower body so they need to make sure their trainer works out their quads and hamstrings as much as their upper body. Office workers tend to need work on the rhomboids and hamstrings.

Your routine should change every four to six weeks so you avoid a plateau that prevents you from meeting your fitness goals.

Money, Money, Money

If your personal trainer works for a gym, the facility usually offers different training packages determined by the number of sessions you buy. Packages are always cheaper than single sessions. Even when you join a gym you can get up to three free personal fitness training sessions.

Independent trainers generally charge more, depending on the services they offer. If they provide equipment or visit you in your home, they probably charge more.

More than 70 percent of trainers offer group sessions at a discount, according to a recent survey by IDEA. And if you work out with friends, you can get a discount between 30 percent and 50 percent off.

Are You For Real?

Despite all of your research, you should still find out how other clients feel about your potential trainer. How does he handle fitness concerns, cancellations or rescheduling? Have his other clients made any progress toward their goals? What types of clients does he have? You want to make sure that he can handle a variety of physical conditions, or at least someone in the same physical condition as you are in.

Look in the Mirror

This should go without saying, but your personal trainer shouldn’t look like he needs to go to a personal trainer. Make sure he can demonstrate the exercises he wants you to do, too.

Give it a Try

If you’re still not sure, you can always ask for a free trial session to see if the trainer is right for you. You can also ask for a consultation where the trainer talks about your personality and goals. Ask if he has trained someone like you and been successful. Even if he says he has, check with references to verify.