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Saturday, May 2, 2015

Factors to consider when hiring a personal trainer

I love working with a trainer because it helps with motivation and provides the direction and guidance I need to reach my fitness goals.  I must admit that proper form does not come naturally for me and I often do not even realize when I am doing an exercise incorrectly.  This is why it is so important to have someone who can provide immediate feedback on proper form and technique.  I am very fortunate that I have found someone whom I enjoy working with and I look forward to our training sessions each week.

In hiring a personal trainer it is important to think about your personal goals and the reasons you are looking to make changes to your fitness routine.  You should be able to speak openly and honestly about yourself and your personal aspirations.  You should always speak to your doctor before beginning any new exercise regimen and in advance of hiring a trainer.  If you have physical limitations or prior injuries, this information would need to be communicated to your personal trainer so that a program specific to your needs and limitations is developed. A trainer would want to know your goals and what you would like to get from your program and how committed you are to achieving it.  This knowledge helps a personal trainer put together a suitable program that helps you reach your goals of being healthier and stronger.

Trainers should have and be able to verify their credentials and show an appropriate certification for their area of expertise.  Trainers may specialize in a specific area including for example nutrition, sports conditioning or weight management.  Some widely recognized programs include the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM), the American Counsel on Exercise (ACE), and the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA).  In addition, some trainers also may hold a four year college degree in a Fitness related field. As this is a field which is constantly evolving, trainers should stay current with the latest trends and research.  It is also important to check that the trainer is keeping the certification he or she has current.

Another important consideration is cost.  Rates are usually charged by the half-hour or hour.  The rates in larger cities and urban areas tend to be higher than in smaller towns, therefore it is important to do some research.  The number of sessions an individual needs can vary depending on fitness level and budget.  Group training sessions allow for the trainer to have up to 4 or 5 clients in a class at the same time and can help in reducing the cost.  This may be beneficial to the participants if it helps with motivation and in holding the other members of the group accountable during class. Discounts may be offered when multiple sessions are purchased in advance resulting in a lower cost per session.  You should check that the trainer has availability when it is convenient in your schedule.

It is important to choose a trainer that suits your personality and that you are motivated to work with. Give some thought to what training style is most suitable for you.  Would you prefer someone who is more laid back and encouraging or a trainer that is assertive and drills you to work harder and stronger.  Keep in mind that what is important is finding a trainer that encourages and inspires you.  Communication is key and you should feel comfortable asking questions if you are not certain about the proper form for an exercise.   
I am grateful to my trainer, Terry, whom I have been working with for some time.  It is with her ongoing encouragement and support I have been able to reach many of my fitness goals and maintain a healthy weight.  She has become a close friend and confidant and the inspiration for this post (Photography credit: Terry).

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