Hiring a personal trainer is an admirable venture as it shows you are extremely dedicated to your fitness goals. The problem may be that you lack the knowledge to pursue specific types of training such as weight lifting or high intensity interval training. If you’re in the market for a trainer, it’s important to do your research and shop around.
Trainers have specialties based on their own interests and continuing education requirements. This means that one trainer will not be suitable for everybody. Let’s review the top ways to prepare you to make the right choice when shopping for a personal trainer.
DEFINE YOUR GOALS
Before you can start looking for a personal trainer, it’ll be important to define exactly what you want to get out of these sessions. Having these goals in mind when you meet a trainer will help both of you determine whether it’s a good fit. Sit down with a pen and notebook to consider the following:
What are your general goals?
- Fat loss?
- Muscle building?
- Sports performance?
What are your specific goals?
- Usually described in the form of an “I want to…” sentence
- May pertain to life events or deadlines
- Contains very specific measurements
- “I want to lose 15 pounds of body fat by July 2020” (as you can see in this example, everything is measurable)
- “I want to gain 10 pounds of lean muscle mass before my high school reunion in November 2020.”
- “I want to be able to shed 15 seconds per mile off of my race pace before the 10k race in September 2020.”
MAKE A QUESTIONNAIRE
Now that you’ve defined what you want to achieve, it’s time to make a questionnaire for the trainer. Think of shopping for a trainer like a job interview where you are the boss. You will be putting your health, time, and money into the hands of one person so you need to make sure they are right for the job. Here is a set of questions to use or expand on to find the trainer that’s right for you.
- How many years have you been in personal training?
- What is your specialty area of focus?
- Every trainer will have at least one!
- How much experience do you have in helping clients (enter your goal from above)?
- Have you trained clients with previous injuries/surgeries?
- Very important to ask if you’ve had either.
- Tell me about your greatest client success.
- This type of prompt challenges the trainer to think. They should be able to provide names, dates, programs, etc. These types of prompts also help to tell if the trainer is just full of hot air.
- Tell me about your greatest client failure.
- Which organization did you attain your certification?
A great trainer will be able to speak to all of these questions to the point where you fall asleep! If you get a trainer who isn’t saying much and can’t respond with specific information and examples, then this is not someone you want to work with.
CERTIFICATIONS: SOME ARE (MUCH) BETTER THAN OTHERS
Personality and experience is important but the certification the trainer holds is absolutely crucial. As you’d expect, not all certifications are the same. When you ask the trainer what certification they hold, make sure to jot it down. Take some time to research it after your meeting. Here is a list of the top 4 nationally recognized and research-driven certifications:
- National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA)
- American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM)
- National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM)
- International Sports Sciences Association (ISSA)
COST OF A PERSONAL TRAINER
This is a factor that can fluctuate wildly depending on the following:
- Commercial vs. Private
- Years of experience
- Number of sessions
- Duration of sessions
You may find a trainer that charges $15 per session and another that charges well over $100. The general average, agreed upon by several fitness resources, is $45 to $50 for a one-hour session.
A personal trainer is an investment in your future; hence, it’s important to make sure you find the right one for you. Don’t be afraid to ask questions and voice your opinion. After all, a personal trainer is a big commitment of time and resources. That’s all the more reason why you should be over ambitious in your search.