Things To Consider When Hiring A Personal Trainer
Getting in shape can be intimidating and overwhelming, which is why millions of Americans turn to personal trainers every year. But with over 350,000 personal trainers in the US alone, how do you know which one is right for you? Here are some important things to consider when choosing the right person to help you achieve your health and wellness goals.
Do you know what certifications or licenses are required to become a personal trainer? None. You read that right. In the US, there is no requirement necessary to call yourself a personal trainer. Some “trainers” have never had any experience learning the form and function of the human body, or developing exercise plans. Maybe they played football in college, but that hardly translates to being able to help a 40-year-old woman with a knee injury lose 15 pounds. There are several certifications that are highly regarded that do require a substantial knowledge base which can be applied to a variety of demographics. By and large, NASM (National Academy of Sports Medicine) is the most highly respected and recognized. They have a basic CPT (Certified Personal Trainer) certification along with other specific ones, such as Performance Enhancement, Corrective Exercise, and many more. Other notable certifications are ACE (American Council on Exercise), NCSA (National Strength & Conditioning Association), and ACSM (American College of Sports Medicine).
Do you prefer to work out alone
or with a group? Some personal trainers prefer to work one-on-one with clients while others specialize in small group or boot camp style training. There are pros and cons to each. One-on-one allows the trainer to focus on your specific needs which is more focused and less likely to lead to injury. But time slots can be more limited and it tends to be more expensive than group training. Group environments are great if you want to be challenged along with friends, but you may not get the individualized workout plan to help you hit your specific goals. Also, do they offer nutritional counseling? Do they track your progress or help you develop goals? Or do you just want someone to make you move for an hour? The specific of what trainers offer can be as varied as the trainers themselves.
Even if you find the best match for you, if the trainer’s studio is an hour away or they only have open spots at 11 am and you need before work, it won’t do you any good. Do they offer online coaching? Consistency is key in making progress, and be honest about how much time and travel you are willing to commit.
Even the most knowledgeable people can sometimes make terrible teachers. Just as important as how much a trainer knows is how do they relay it to you and do you “click” with them? Most trainers will offer an assessment to go over your medical background and talk about your goals. Try and get a vibe if you feel comfortable with them. After all, if you are consistent, you are going to be spending several hours a week working out with this person. Hopefully it should be something you enjoy! That’s not to say they won’t challenge you or hold you accountable, but do you want someone to yell at you like a boot camp, or someone to guide you with a calmer approach? There are merits to either and it’s up to you what you want.
There are people in every profession that gave others a bad name and trainers are no different. Basic skills such as being punctual and respectful should go without saying. But unfortunately, I’ve seen other trainer’s clients on a treadmill staring at their watch because their trainer is late, again. If you are paying someone to hold you accountable, they should be accountable too! There are always things that may pop up causing tardiness, but it should always be the exception rather than the rule.
As much as I would like to say that cost doesn’t factor in, it obviously does. But realize that when you hire a personal trainer, usually you get what you pay for. Trainers with more experience or in greater demand will generally charge a higher rate. With that being said, don’t confuse expensive with quality. Do your homework and look for testimonials or references online!
Ramsey Bergeron owns and operates Bergeron Personal Training in Scottsdale, AZ and has over a decade experience in the fitness industry. He is an NASM CPT, 7-time Ironman, and former spokesperson for EAS Sports Nutrition. He has been seen in Men's Health Magazine among other periodicals and over 40 million newspapers across the country. He is also an expert contributor to various online fitness articles. He also founded Bergeron Adventure Travel which he uses to motivate clients to by preparing them for and leading them on hikes and trips around the world. Having led groups over the Inca Trail in Peru, the Lysefjord in Norway and the Milford Sound in New Zealand, he is planning to lead another group on a 5-day hike in Patagonia in Feb of 2020.