How to Hire a Personal Trainer

Fitness Tips

How to Hire a Personal Trainer

Whether prompted by working off those holiday excesses, sticking to New Year's resolutions, or looking ahead to swimsuit season, this time of year sends many people to the gym. No matter if you're new to the gym or just looking to increase your results, a personal trainer can help you reach those goals. Benefits of having a personal trainer include learning effective exercises, workout routines, and how to use unfamiliar equipment safely. It also helps to eliminate the excuses that cause many people to stop going to the gym. But how do you go about finding the right personal trainer?

Set Your Goals

Before looking for a personal trainer, you should be clear about your personal fitness goals. Do you want to lose weight? Tone certain areas? Increase strength or stamina? Whatever the goal, you need to be able to discuss what you want to accomplish. During the initial discussion, determine whether your potential trainer pays attention to your goals or is trying to set his or her own agenda.

Gauge Compatibility

Ask the trainer for a free session to see if your styles are compatible, as a particular trainer's personality might not work for you. A small group setting is another way to test a potential trainer for less money. You'll exercise with a group of five to 10 people for a much lower cost. Some people like group sessions for the social or competitive nature, while others may feel intimidated if the rest of the group is more advanced. Another important consideration, besides personality and communication style, is fitness style. Are you more interested in aerobic conditioning or anaerobics? While most trainers will combine both types of exercise, make sure you are comfortable with the balance and focus.

Checking Credentials and Experience

The trainer should be certified in this line of work. Some of the typical certifications include ACE (American Council on Exercise), ACSM (American College of Sports Medicine), and AFAA (Aerobic Fitness Association of America). Your trainer should be well-groomed, able to communicate clearly, and be able to motivate you. A good trainer will show a sincere interest in helping you reach your fitness goals, and he or she should be educated in anatomy, kinesiology (the scientific study of human movement), and joint structure. Ask for references or success stories from previous clients. An inexperienced trainer will not be able to provide this information. Also, make sure the trainer is experienced at tailoring a workout to suit your goals or any physical limitations you may have, such as a bad back or knees.

Where to Start?

Your gym is the best place to start when searching for a personal trainer. Most gyms have personal trainers available, either on staff or freelance. Often times, the gym will have completed background and credential checks on the trainers, helping make your selection process easier. These trainers are already familiar with the gym's location, layout, and equipment selection. Another good option is to ask for referrals from someone you trust. Asking your friends or co-workers, especially those who have recently achieved a fitness goal, is another great place to start. The bottom line is that it's your money, your time, and your fitness goals on the line. Make sure you choose a personal trainer that's right for you, and don't be afraid to talk to several potential trainers before making a commitment. How did you find your favorite personal trainer? We'd love to hear in the comments.