I have received several requests to do a post on how to choose a personal trainer. I started this post several weeks ago and finally I am getting around to finishing and posting it! Ah…yes life as a working mom.
There is definitely no exact science to choosing a personal trainer. Just like some people have different preferences when they choose their hairdresser, doctor, favorite restaurant, etc. everyone will have different preferences on what they look for in a personal trainer.
Before you stop reading and think to yourself, “I don’t have the money for a trainer anyway,” keep in mind that working with a trainer can be a fantastic investment. If you feel like you can’t afford it, think about some of the other things you are spending money on and if you really need all of these things. For instance, you’re probably spending somewhere between $100 and $200 on your cable bill each month. How much are you spending on going out to eat and take out? Daily Starbucks runs? Twelve dollar movie tickets? Are there some of these areas where you can cut back?
For some people group training or partner training (working out with a friend) may be the best option. You may enjoy the group atmosphere, the camaraderie, the cost savings and/or the options of classes at different times each day. Alternatively, you may be looking to reach individual goals, need a specific appointment(s) to hold you accountable or simply feel more comfortable working with someone one on one. Whether you’re looking for a group training class or a personal trainer, make sure to do your homework first!
5 Things to Think About When Looking for a Personal Trainer
1. Think about your goal. Is this person going to be able to help you hit your goal? Make sure that he/she is designing workouts that will help you meet your goals. A high school athlete who has a goal of gaining 10 pounds and getting stronger is going to need very different workouts than an overweight 40 year old woman looking to lose 30 pounds.
2. Don’t fall for someone just because the gym is trying to sell you into it. Do research on your own, get referrals and test out your trainer before you invest. Most personal trainers will offer a free evaluation session. As the saying goes, you wouldn’t buy a car without test driving it, right? Well, you shouldn’t pay for a trainer without seeing what the sessions will be like.
3. Make sure that your trainer has appropriate certifications. NSCA, NASM and ACSM are some of the most highly regarded personal training certifications. Note that some gyms do not require trainers to be certified. Additionally, if you’re looking to learn a specific skill, make sure that your trainer has an appropriate certification and/or experience teaching these skills. If you’re looking to get into Kettlebell training, please find an instructor who is an RKC or HKC. I’m happy to help you locate a great kettlebell instructor if you’re looking for one in your area.
4. Make sure that your personalities are a good fit. You’ll be spending your ‘free’ time with this person and you don’t want it to be uncomfortable or a total drag. Find someone you get along with and enjoy being around so that you’ll actually show up.
5. Remember, this isn’t a marriage. If it isn’t working out, get out.Your relationship is not going to last forever. You shouldn’t have to fight to make it work. If you’re not reaching your goals, feeling comfortable and having fun, find someone more compatible or at the very least talk with your trainer about your concerns.
Other things to keep in mind:
- Rates. Can you afford this trainer’s (or this classes) rates?
- Availability. Does this trainer work and have open time slots during times that fit in your schedule?
- Location. Is the location convenient to either your home, work or both? If it’s not convenient it will be a lot easier to find excuses to skip sessions.
Some questions you may want to ask:
- What is the cancellation policy?
- Is there any discount for purchasing packages or committing to a certain amount of time?
- Do you have any references?
I asked a few poeple what they thought was most important when looking for a trainer:
- “They know things that I don’t already know.”
- “They are flexible and push me hard!”
- “They have some knowledge about nutrition coaching.”
What do you look for in a Personal Trainer or Group Fitness Class?
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