Hiring a personal trainer might be the best thing you do for your fitness. Not only are they trained in proper form and technique they are also a wealth of knowledge about what routine will work best for your individual goals.
The two most common options for personal training are trainers who work for themselves and trainers who work at a gym facility. Commercial gyms usually offer introductory personal training sessions as part of signing up.
Hiring a Personal Trainer
Investing in your health can be a daunting process. Should you join a gym? Do online workouts? Simply eat better? It’s hard to know where to start when you make the decision to take control of your health. If you choose to work with a personal trainer there are some questions you should ask before signing on the dotted line. Remember that this is your health and that you deserve the best fit for you.
1. Check Qualifications
Before you start working with a personal trainer, find out what their qualifications are.
Make sure that your trainer is specifically certified as a personal trainer, since there are also certifications in group exercise instruction. This would be someone who teaches group classes in a gym, for example. It is good to note that personal trainers can also be group exercise instructors, but that group exercise instructors can not be personal trainers without a specific personal training certification.
2. Ask About Experience
Use the answer to this question in conjunction with all the other answers to have a more thorough basis for your decision.
“How long have you been doing this?” is a good follow-up to learn more about
Personal trainers are also required to renew their certification every 2 years, which means that there are continuing education credits that need to be accrued.
3. Verify CPR/AED Certification
If your trainer is not CPR/AED certified, chances are that they are not certified as a personal trainer.
If your trainer is properly certified through a nationally accredited program, this answer should be yes. Applicants are required to take a CPR/AED class prior to sitting for the exam.
4. Know Their Cancellation Policy
Make sure you know your trainer’s cancellation policy before you sign up.
Every person and every facility is different, so make sure you know how long you have before a session to cancel before you hire a
If you work an unpredictable job that may require you to cancel last minute, see if you are able to schedule closer to the actual time rather than planning out a weekly schedule that you may not be able to adhere to.
5. Gauge Their Fitness Philosophy
Think about what kind of personality works well with you to determine if a trainer is the right fit.
Even though personal trainers will hold the same certification, that doesn’t mean that they all share the same fitness philosophy. Find out why he or she became a trainer and how the concept of fitness is approached. If this is your first time hiring a personal trainer, check out these extra tips for determining if they’re right for you.
6. Understand the Time Commitment
Talk about your goals and, together, determine the duration and the frequency of the training sessions.
Some people only work for trainers for a short period of time, while others need continued motivation from another person to move into action. If you are a beginner to exercising, two times a week is usually a good starting point. If you have more specific goals of strength improvement, for example, you may utilize a trainer 3 or more times a week.
A common question to ask your trainer once you start working with him or her is what to eat before and after you work out and also how you should be eating on a regular basis.
If you are looking for specific meal plans and nutrition monitoring for your training, a registered dietician is formally trained in this area and should be your resource. Personal trainers can give you general guidelines, but legally they aren’t allowed to get into the nitty-gritty of nutrition with you.
Bonus: Take Advantage of Specializations
Ask your trainer for a complete list of his or her certifications to get a more complete picture of the type of regimen that may be offered.
On top of a general personal training certification, there are many different specialization certifications that trainers can complete. They can range anywhere from nutrition to working with special populations such as women or the elderly.
Make it a Lifestyle
If you are having a tough time maintaining a workout plan or you feel like there are aspects in your life which are impacting your dedication to your health, hiring a personal trainer with a behavior change specialization may be able to help you overcome those obstacles.
- Eat Like a Champ: Nutrition for Training & Performance
- Finding A Personal Trainer That’s Right For You
- Boutique Fitness Classes for You
Erin Bahadur is a NASM-certified personal trainer, writer, and owner of the blog Erin’s Inside Job, a site dedicated to focusing on physical, emotional, and mental health. She is currently working on an addiction and recovery-based memoir to destigmatize mental health and addiction issues in our society. When she’s not writing, she’s trying out new desserts in Chicago and relaxing with her husband Neil and her dog Donut.