The lore that personal trainers are for the stars lingers. Many people relegate the idea of having a personal trainer to a lavish lifestyle, when, in fact, certified personal trainers work with everyone from pre-natal clients to grandparents.
Getting a personal trainer, for most, isn’t about being a super model, instead finding ways to add movement and exercise to busy schedules, getting in shape after having a baby, staying independent long after retirement, preparing for an athletic event, or simply just wanting to make positive lifestyle changes.
Many are choosing to invest in their health, and a natural place to start is with a certified personal trainer. So, where should you begin? Here are 6 guidelines to help you make an informed decision to help choose the personal trainer who is right for you.
- Ask Why? Why do you want a personal trainer? What are your goals: working off extra weight, preparing for an athletic event, getting strength back after an injury or illness? It is imperative to be assertive when sharing your personal goals with a potential trainer.
- Shopping for a personal trainer is much like choosing any professional service. References and recommendations are essential. I don’t know anybody who has hired a babysitter, gone to a new mechanic, or chosen a doctor without asking around. A personal trainer is no different, as you want to have recommendations for someone who could, potentially, change your lifestyle and exercise habits.
- How close or far do you want to be from a trainer? It’s common to see newer clients more frequently, as they’re just getting used to a new fitness plan. So, ask yourself how far you want to travel to see your trainer.
- Don’t be afraid to ask:
- What results have you achieved with clients? Over what time period?
- Have you worked with clients with goals similar to mine? Can you describe those experiences?
- How do you work with clients with goal setting?
- How do you chart progress?
- Do you require a physician’s release form? Will you update my medical history?
- How much do you charge per session? What are your billing and cancellation policies?
- How many follow-up personal training sessions will I need?
- How would you describe your style?
- Do you work with clients with special needs?
- Ask about qualifications.
- Are you certified by a nationally recognized organization?
- Are you a member of any of the aforementioned professional associations?
- Are you certified in CPR and first aid?
- Buyer Beware! Did a trainer offer you supplements right away? Did the trainer say she’s a representative for a vitamin company? Did the trainer completely forego asking about your eating habits and diet? Did the personal trainer promise “too-good-to-be-true” results (like washboard abs in ten weeks)? A personal trainer is a professional that will help you reach realistic, SMART goals, not sell you a fairytale. So, be cautious. Beware. Listen to your gut. Choose wisely.
Hiring a personal trainer is an incredibly positive experience when you get the right match – someone who can help you achieve your fitness goals. But taking the time to ask the right questions of a potential trainer, as well as yourself, can save you a lot of money in the long run.