Are your workouts becoming a bit of a bore? Have you overextended your stay on the elliptical? Taken one too many steps on the stair climber? Tracked more miles than you can count on the treadmill and still aren’t seeing the results you desire? Well, perhaps it’s time to call in the big guns.
Hiring a personal trainer can be one of the best decisions you ever make for your body and also one of the trickiest. While I’d like to tell you all personal trainers are created equal, the truth of the matter is they’re not.
Trust me, as someone who has worked out with a handful of trainers over the years in hopes of getting into killer shape, I’ve definitely had my share of successes and failures (i.e., gaining 12 pounds of “muscle” on my petite 5’4 frame? Not exactly the look I had in mind). The good news is, my experiences (both good and bad) have given me a keen eye for what to look for and avoid in a trainer and I’m going to share my secrets with you!
Determine your fitness goal
First things first: It’s important that you have a clear idea of your personal physical goals before speaking with a trainer. Is your goal to lose weight? To tone up? Name the specific body regions. Whatever the reason, be up front with your potential trainer about what you hope to accomplish and pay attention to whether or not he/she takes your goals into consideration.
Test-drive your trainer
It’s also helpful to do a “test run.” Ask your potential trainer if he or she would be willing to give you a free session so you can decide if their style suits you. Every trainer is different, and what works for one person might not work for another. Don’t be afraid to try out a few trainers before signing up and dishing out your hard-earned dough!
Save on a group session
Speaking of which, personal trainers do tend to be a bit on the pricey side. On average, a one-hour personal training session in a gym will cost you around $45 to $65, although less-experienced trainers may charge less and vice versa. If that price is more than you’re willing to part with, don’t lose hope just yet! Some trainers offer a “small group” option where you work out with five to 10 other people and still get the perks of a personal trainer at a significantly lower cost than a one-on-one session. This is also a great option if you (like me) tend to have a bit of a competitive nature.
SheKnows also chatted with certified personal trainer Steph Dickson to get his take on what makes a trainer good. He says:
Make sure they communicate well
“Look for a trainer who is clean-cut, speaks well, is clear with instructions and of course, is motivating. A good trainer should be empathetic and show sincere interest in caring for his/her clients. A good trainer should also be well-versed in anatomy, joint structure and kinesiology.”
Check their certificate
“A personal trainer should have some sort of certification to prove he/she is qualified in this line of work. Some of the more notable certifications (although there are many others) include: ACSM (American College of Sports Medicine), ACE (American Council on Exercise) and AFAA (Aerobic Fitness Association of America).”
Make sure the style suits you
“For women, I believe [in] aerobic exercise to get the body going; anaerobics, using weights, is one of the fastest ways to get results.”
Consider their track record
“No track record of previous clients is a huge red flag. If the trainer doesn’t listen to his/her client’s goals or needs, that is also a sign that they are not qualified or knowledgeable. A good trainer will tailor the workout to suit the client.”
Start your search at the gym
“The gym is a great place to start when looking for a trainer. Another way is to ask for recommendations from people you trust. That’s how I base my business; it’s pretty much a referral. That’s like an official stamp for a qualified trainer. It also doesn’t hurt for the trainer to be in good shape!”