It can certainly be overwhelming when beginning the search for a personal trainer. Where do you begin your search, and what qualities and qualifications should you look for in a trainer? These are all excellent questions, and given the time and proper guidance, you will find a great personal trainer. Here are our top nine tips on how to select a personal trainer:
1. Where to Begin
Personal trainers aren’t just for the rich and famous anymore. More and more people these days are hiring an exercise consultant to help them with their workouts and achieve their health and fitness goals. Now that you’ve decided to hire a personal trainer, the question is where do you look? Begin with your network of friends, colleagues and acquaintances. Most likely, someone in your close circle works with or has worked with a personal trainer that they would highly recommend. If this search doesn’t work, you can try a basic local Internet search. If these two avenues fail, there are professional directories, such asIDEA FitnessConnect, that help connect the consumer with a fitness professional.
There are numerous personal training certifications, and some of the best certifications require classroom hours where the trainer is immersed in anatomy, biomechanics and kinesiology, as well as practical applications. Some trainers also hold undergraduate and/or graduate degrees in the field, which also makes for an excellent background. Certifications can also be obtained online, which requires fewer classroom and practical hours. Make sure you do your research and check that your trainer has a reputable certification and educational background to support their certification.
Ask your personal trainer if they carry liability insurance; they should be insured. This is very important in the unforeseen event you become injured while working out with your trainer.
Ask your trainer to provide a few references you can connect with. This will give you the opportunity to speak with past or present clients and allow you to gain some insight from actual clientele. You can also check out their testimonials on their website or reviews online.
Personal training rates can vary greatly, from as low as $20 per session to as high as $200 per session. Rates can depend on many factors including the experience and expertise of the trainer and the distance they have to travel if it’s an in-home session. Keep in mind that hiring a personal trainer is an investment in your health. Ask your trainer if discounts are available for larger packages (50 sessions instead of 25 sessions) or higher frequency training (three times per week instead of two). Ideally, your trainer should offer price breaks for committing to a larger package of training sessions or for training multiple times per week.
6. Health History
Before jumping into any exercise program, your trainer should go through a full health history evaluation with you. This will highlight any red flags, such as a heart condition or past/present injuries, that they should take into consideration when working with you. This is also a great time for your trainer to ask you get to medical clearance from your doctor if they feel it is necessary before you begin exercising. A quality trainer needs to know about your health history in order to create a safe and effective training program for you.
Does your trainer show up for your sessions on time, and do they give you their undivided attention during the session? Do they dress appropriately and communicate with you effectively? Do you feel totally comfortable with this person? These are all key questions to ask yourself when working with a personal trainer. Your trainer should exhibit professionalism at all times. Most importantly, you should have your trainer’s undivided attention during your workout.
8. Training program
Your personal trainer should have an exercise plan for you that they follow. It is fine for the trainer to deviate from the plan when they need to make necessary adjustments, but they should always have a plan and your goals in mind. Your trainer should be tracking your workouts and progress with tangible notes; they should never “wing” your workouts. Lastly, the training should always directly relate back to your goals.
9. Ability to Adjust the Workout
You may show up to your workout feeling tired, sick, sore or with an injury; these things happen. Your trainer should have the ability to adjust your workouts to accommodate how you are feeling that day. Not only should they be able to adjust your workout without notice, but the training should make sense. For example, if you’re feeling sick, your trainer should have the ability to give you lighter session with dynamic movements, stretching, foam rolling and possibly some light cardio.
Jason DeHenzel has trained some of New York’s most prestigious clients, including high-profile lawyers, advertising executives, movie producers and musicians. Sophie DeHenzel is a Pn1-certified nutritionist and former downhill ski racer. The pair founded DeHenzel Training Systems to develop customized fitness plans for clients of different abilities, experience and commitment. Find out more at dtsnova.com.