How Should I Choose a Personal Trainer?

Tricia Christensen
Tricia Christensen

If one has the extra cash, employing a personal trainer may be one of the best ways to either get or keep fit. While some have the luxury of employing a personal trainer on a long-term basis, others may be able to get by with several sessions with a personal trainer to set up a system of exercise. This may be a better choice for those who don’t have a lot of extra money and are self-motivated to exercise and make dietary changes. Personal training is not a field licensed by the US government, so in the US, one should consider several things before employing a personal trainer.

Look for a trainer who is certified.
Look for a trainer who is certified.

Look for a personal trainer who is educated in Physical Education, Nutrition, and who is certified. There are several certifying agencies that require the personal trainer to take examinations prior to inclusion in their agency. These include the Aerobic and Fitness Association of America, the American Council on Fitness and Exercise and the American College of Sports Medicine. Examine the certification of a personal trainer, and look at the website for the certifying agency to see what requirements the personal trainer must meet to be part of the agency. If requirements do not seem stringent enough, then it is probably best to look at another candidate.

Carefully evaluate the references of a personal trainer.
Carefully evaluate the references of a personal trainer.

Carefully evaluate the references of the personal trainer. If one’s goal is weight loss, contact references and find out how much weight they lost and how soon. If one’s goal is rehabilitation or better nutrition, ask questions of references specific to these areas.

Personal training can include specific running goals.
Personal training can include specific running goals.

Avoid the personal trainer who wishes to sell things, like exercise equipment, vitamins, or nutritious shakes. These trainers may not really have one’s best interests at heart, since they may make commissions on their sales. It may be okay to buy a yoga mat or an exercise ball if one is needed, but it is not necessary to drink nutritional shakes that only the trainer can provide.

Personal trainers have different philosophies, so it's best to pick one that shares in your philosophies.
Personal trainers have different philosophies, so it's best to pick one that shares in your philosophies.

One should also see a doctor prior to beginning an exercise regimen. Even sporting teams for children require a medical sign-off prior to allowing a child to participate on a team. A personal trainer who is not sensitive to one’s health issues or is not aware of them is probably not a good choice. As well, a personal trainer who does not want one’s full medical background may expose one to dangerous health risks.

Personal trainers often get accredited through the American Council of Sports Medicine or the American College of Exercise.
Personal trainers often get accredited through the American Council of Sports Medicine or the American College of Exercise.

A personal trainer should also carry liability insurance. This protects the personal trainer, and the person being trained should an injury occur. If the personal trainer does not carry liability insurance he or she may not be the best choice. Injuries occurring during a personal training session may not be paid for by one’s insurance. Also beware of the personal trainer who wants one to sign a release of liability. This tends to mean the trainer is absolved from liability should an accident occur.

Personal trainers might focus on toning certain muscle groups.
Personal trainers might focus on toning certain muscle groups.

Personal trainers have a number of different personal philosophies. Choose one that best fits with one’s own philosophies. However, it should not be an exact match, since the personal trainer should be able to push and motivate one to exercise. Someone who likes to take it easy may not provide one with enough motivation to succeed.

A personal trainer should carry liability insurance.
A personal trainer should carry liability insurance.
Tricia Christensen
Tricia Christensen

Tricia has a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and has been a frequent wiseGEEK contributor for many years. She is especially passionate about reading and writing, although her other interests include medicine, art, film, history, politics, ethics, and religion. Tricia lives in Northern California and is currently working on her first novel.

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