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Deciding on a Personal Trainer

Posted on 04/11/2008

Hiring a personal trainer can be very helpful in meeting your fitness goals. Just the act of hiring one and paying out money can be a great motivator. Having someone to keep you accountable and monitor your progress is a big help. And a professional fitness trainer can design a fitness program specifically for you, can make sure you are doing all the exercises correctly, explain to you how to use any exercise equipment and partner with you as you work toward becoming fitter.

Although there is some expense involved, fitness trainers are not usually prohibitively expensive. You may just want a trainer to design a program for you and help you get started, or to meet with one occasionally to check your progress and tweak your program. Many gyms and health clubs have fitness trainers and charge very affordable fees for their services.

Before you start looking for a personal trainer, it’s helpful to identify why you want a trainer and what you expect him or her to do. Are you trying to lose weight? Training for a marathon? Making lifestyle changes? Do you want the trainer to design a program for you? To teach you about fitness? To lead you through your exercise sessions? To be your cheerleader? Knowing your goals and expectations, and communicating them clearly to the trainer will help you find the right trainer for you.

Questions to ask

There are several questions you can ask to help you decide if a trainer is qualified to train you:

• Ask if she is certified, what organization her certification is through and if it is current. You may want to write the information down and check it out later; there are hundreds of organizations that certify trainers and they are not equally reputable.
• Ask about his educational background. Most professional trainers have a bachelor’s degree in some health, physical education or exercise area.
• Ask if she has liability insurance; most trainers do.
• Ask if he has experience dealing with any health problems you have, people in your age group, people with your fitness goals, etc.
• Ask for references from other clients—and check them out.
• What is her availability? Is the trainer available when you need her?
• What will your fitness program include? An overall fitness program includes cardiovascular exercise, strength training, flexibility training, weight management and nutrition.

Things to watch for

In your initial interview with a potential trainer, watch for things that will help you decide if a trainer is the right one for you:

• Is he fit himself? We’re not talking about Mr. or Mrs. Universe, but does the trainer look like he practices what he teaches?
• Is she a good listener? Do you feel like the trainer understands your goals and expectations?
• Does he ask questions about your health and medical conditions?
• Does she pressure you into buying supplements or other products?
• Do you feel comfortable and relaxed with him?

Hiring a personal trainer can give your fitness program a big boost, and these tips should help you find the right one for you.

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