There is an increasing awareness and appreciation of the role played by exercise and physical fitness in overall health and with that an interest in personal trainers. Exercise improves immune function reducing chances of infection. It reduces the chances of getting certain cancers, prevents gallstones, and prevents the physical and cognitive decline of ageing. It strengthens the physical body including the bones and muscles. It also improves mood, boosts energy, promotes sleep, and puts the spark back into your sex life all of which are great for your mental health (promotes sleep). Do you need a personal trainer to keep you focused and motivated and help you reach your exercise and fitness goals? And if you do, what should you consider before getting one? That’s where we come in.
One of the most important things to keep in mind about the whole personal fitness industry is that is highly unregulated and service is arbitrary. There are no standard practices or certifications and qualifications for personal trainers. That makes the entire process of hiring a trainer more of an art than a science and one in which you really should pay attention to your gut.
1. Check references
Do your homework on the trainer/s you are considering. Find any testimonials online. Also, ask the trainer to give you the contact information of at least two previous or current clients so that you can speak to them. There’s no guarantee the testimonials will be honest so you should also consider checking in on them in practice just to get a feel of how they are on the job and whether that fits with your personality and temperament.
2. Leave your wallet at home
Don’t take your wallet with you to the gym as you scout for a personal trainer. This will keep you from making any emotional or rash decisions on the spot. Leave the wallet at home and take your time evaluating the gym’s offerings in terms of available personal trainers.
3. Decide how important convenience is
Are you willing to travel to a gym far off just to get access to a certain personal trainer? Is the trainer flexible enough to offer online personal training if that is most convenient for you? You need to determine how important convenience is for you.
Ideally, you want to work with someone operating out of a gym or facility that is close to you. Although people are willing to travel to a good personal trainer, they shouldn’t be far out of your way or it will be easier to skip sessions.
4. Does their schedule match yours?
Choose a trainer whose schedule matches yours and the time that’s most convenient for you to work out. Ask about their schedule and what time they have available and don’t sign on it if it doesn’t align with the most convenient time for you based on your schedule. If they only have morning slots available and you only have evenings available or evenings work best for you, don’t move things around for that. If it’s not convenient for you, with time you will begin to skip sessions.
5. Good communication
Communication is critical for a successful relationship between you and your personal trainer. The best trainers will be able to communicate their ideas clearly and they’ll also be good listeners who pay attention to what the client is saying.
6. Experience and qualifications
Don’t hesitate to ask about their experience. Best case, pick someone with at least 3-4 years experience. Find out how long they’ve been with that particular gym and other gyms they’ve worked with so that you can at least establish that they have a good working relationship with them and they are not just hopping from one to the next which would be a red flag. Also ask about their credentials including education if any, certification, specialization, and the types of clients they have.
Because of how unregulated the industry is there may not be specific certifications and papers to look for but one of the things you can look for is a college certification or university degree in exercise science, kinesiology or something similar so that you can at least be certain they have a good baseline of theoretical knowledge.
7. Don’t be fooled by a big name
In the age of social media and influencers, it’s easy to equate big names with quality. A big name does not guarantee results. Also, the purpose of getting a personal trainer is getting personalized help and coaching, really big names will likely be unable to offer personalized service.
Because of the way this industry is not regulated the prices vary wildly. The price charged is dependent on a host of factors including location, speciality, and experience. Expensive cities and neighbourhoods will cost higher as will trainers who are really experienced. Trainers who specialize in specific areas like post-natal fitness will also charge more.
Work within your budget and move on up when you’re financially able to. Take the time to look for someone in your local area who fits within your budget. Also, don’t commit to a large package of sessions if there is no iron-clad refund policy in place.
9. Their values and personality
Some trainers favour a very hardcore approach while others are more laid back or prefer training a specific demographic such as women. Pick one whose personality and values align with yours. If you’re a mom trying to lose post-natal weight, a trainer who specializes in helping men lose belly fat and beef up may not be the best fit.
10. Their actual service offering
Read the fine print on what different personal trainers are offering. Are they offering 1 to 1 sessions or running larger group programs with anything from 4-20 people? Group sessions are cheaper than 1 on 1 sessions.
11. Mention any special needs
Discuss any medical or special needs you have. For example, if you have chronic pain you should share that so that they adapt their training suggestions and exercises to suit your needs. If you are pregnant or trying to get pregnant you should share that as well. In some cases, your trainer may even need to work with your doctor to ensure your medical needs are put front and centre.
12. What your trainer should look like
Judging a personal trainer based on their physical appearance is expected. However, it is not the right way to choose a trainer. Just because someone is ripped does not mean they know how to help you reach your fitness goals. What matters is that the coach has experience helping people reach their fitness goals.
13. When to become immediately sceptical
Multi-tier marketing schemes are rampant in gyms so if your potential trainer or trainer tries to sell you supplements or says they are the rep of a particular company, be concerned, perhaps even time to run, fast. A good trainer should focus on establishing a healthy lifestyle change from eating habits to exercise not trying to sell you some type of powder. Health: How To Identify A Nutrition Scam
Begin by determining what you hope to get out of the personal training. What are your goals? Articulate that for yourself then begin the search. Follow your gut as you listen to the trainer and interact with them, are they confident? Do they come across as experienced and genuine? Do your personalities align? Are they communicating clearly with you? Don’t rush to sign on the dotted line. Take your time. Shop around, comparing and contrasting, and when you sign up make sure there’s at least a money-back guarantee of sorts or an out so that you are not bound for years if after a few weeks you determine it’s not a good fit.
If for one reason or another you cannot hire a personal trainer, you can still achieve your fitness goals on your own. Check out 5 tips for creating a workout schedule that works for you and Lifestyle: 8 Considerations When Choosing A Gym
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