What Should You Look for in a Personal Trainer?

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You made the choice to get in shape and get a personal trainer.  The next step is trying to figure out which trainer is a good fit for you.  The options are endless but how do you know you have chosen a quality trainer?  What should you be looking for in a personal trainer?

Checking the personal trainer’s credentials may be one of the first things you do, but what does it mean to be certified.  There is a big misconception in the fitness industry that having a certification means you are qualified.  Anyone can read a certification book, pass the written test, and be declared a personal trainer.  A qualified personal trainer will not only have a certification but experience as well. Experience is knowledge.  It is important to know how to train any type of client.  Which can include a client with a fused back, shoulder injuries, heart disease, athletes, knee problems, elderly … the list is endless.  Knowing how to teach and correct exercises because form is the key to weight lifting.  With improper form you are subject to injury.  Being able to modify an exercise or routine, on the fly, based on how the current session is going. Being knowledgeable on nutrition because how you eat is just as important as exercise.  What you eat in the kitchen will affect your performance in the gym and life in general.

A good trainer is someone who values you as a client. They will have a plan and show you how you will reach your goals. They will pay full attention to you during your sessions.  They will focus on watching your form, motivating you, and getting to know you (not ignoring you, texting, or goofing around).   They are going to be honest and hold you accountable for your actions. They will track your progress good or bad. If you are constantly late or not following the program design set up for you they address the situation and see how it can be fixed.   They are compassionate and understanding that you have other obligations in your life. They will try their best to work you into their schedule when there is a conflict instead of canceling.  They will motivate and push you to your limits, getting you to do exercises you once though impossible. Most importantly they will try to connect with you because they realize that you are taking a huge step to better yourself. They want to be a part of that transformation no matter what the goal is.

Although recommended, but necessarily a requirement, for a good trainer is a certification.  There are so many different types, how do you know which ones are the best?  The top certifications are, in no particular order; NSCA (National Strength and Conditioning Association) ACE (American Council on Exercise), ACSM (American College of Sports Medicine), NASM (National Academy of Sports Medicine), and ISSA (International Sport Science Association). CPT/ CFT would indicate certified personal trainer or certified fitness trainer.  There are no personal trainer degrees you can obtain in college.  A trainer can obtain a bachelors/masters degree in Exercise Science (or an equivalent).  This means that they understand how the body functions while under the stress of exercise. Exercise Science can lead you to a vast array of careers such as physical therapy, cardiac rehab, work cite wellness, personal training, strength and conditioning, public health,  and again the list goes on.

Finding the best personal trainer, for you, can be one of the most rewarding experiences.  The fitness industry is growing which means there are more trainers to choose from.  Make sure you chose one who is knowledgeable, values you as a client, and is qualified. Once you find the perfect trainer get after it and reach your goals! The sky is your limit!

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