How to Choose a Personal Fitness Trainer

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Improving physical conditioning and losing weight don’t come easy, even when one is seriously committed to achieving results. If you are struggling, don’t beat yourself up over any lack of progress. Quite a bit of knowledge and experience are necessary to devise the right workout program. Sure, some folks can watch some YouTube videos, create a workout schedule for themselves, hit the gym, and see impressive results. Their numbers are probably small, however, and such people likely won the proverbial genetic lottery. That is, their genetics simply make them predisposed to great results with less effort.

Others have to work a lot harder and a lot smarter to see results. A bit of guidance wouldn’t hurt, either. Guidance comes in the form of hiring a personal trainer. Choosing the right person to help you on your path to better fitness must become a top priority, and you must be deliberate in how you pick a personal fitness trainer.

Selecting the first trainer you come across or hiring the least expensive one leaves you relying on a lot of luck. Since you haven’t really evaluated the personal trainer, you cast fitness fate to the wind and hope the trainer delivers on all expectations. To see better results, you want to be careful and thorough when trying to find a personal trainer.

Goals and the Right Personal Trainer

People from all walks of life wish to hit the gym and see results. These come in many forms and usually reflect a host of different goals. The many reasons for hitting the gym include:

• Reducing body fat
• Increasing strength
• Building muscle mass
• Improving cardiovascular conditioning
• Reducing stress

iTrainer is the perfect place to acquire support to achieve all these goals. Visit the iTrainer Directory to find a personal fitness trainer in your area.

Workouts and exercise routines must be modified in order to achieve unique goals. Improving muscle mass generally requires eating a calorie surplus, which creates complexities for someone who wants to build muscle and burn fat. Exercise intensity and dietary choices must be carefully selected so that both goals can be met. Again, experience and knowledge play a role in devising the right strategy to achieve a difficult outcome.

A personal trainer who has helped a multitude of other clients likely knows how to assist clients in reaching a variety of goals. If one cannot be easily found, then the search must go on to secure the trainer who can help with the desired results. The first step in choosing a trainer is finding one with the best credentials.

1) Determine the Trainer’s Credentials

Qualifications matter. Since there are no federal or state legal requirements mandating certifications and training, anyone can become a personal trainer if he/she so wishes. Yet, thousands of personal trainers seek certifications from reliable and reputable organizations.

Certifications essentially involve passing a test that covers a broad range of material related to exercise science and other aspects of personal training. However, not all personal training certification programs carry much weight. Some are better than others, and the top personal training certificates are accredited ones.

Accreditation means that the testing and the material in the test have been evaluated by a third party known as the National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA). The NCCA accredits not only personal training organizations but also various other professional organizations in a multitude of fields. When a trainer holds an NCAA-backed certificate, you know he/she is legitimate.

Hiring a personal trainer who holds an accredited certification can build quite a bit of confidence in the customer making the decision. The top personal trainer certifications that are accredited by the NCCA include:

• National Council for Certified Personal Trainers (NCCPT)
• National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM)
• American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM)
• International Sports Sciences Association (ISSA)
• American Council on Exercise (ACE)
• National Exercise & Sports Trainers Association (NESTA)
• National Council on Strength & Fitness (NCSF)
• National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA)
• Athletics and Fitness Association of America (AFAA)

A personal trainer may hold more than one certification, which can be a good thing for the client looking for a qualified professional. Passing the rigid requirements of more than one serious personal trainer examination should definitely boost confidence in the client seeking the best fitness pro.

While the search for a personal fitness trainer should include the examination of certification credentials, confirming certifications doesn’t end the evaluation process. A certificate certainly doesn’t tell you everything about a trainer. What about other established aspects of his/her background? You just need to delve a little deeper to learn more.

2) Examine the Experience of the Trainer

Personal fitness trainers who have been at the job for many years possess valuable insight into what their clients want. They also know how to properly structure a training routine when taking on a new client. An experienced trainer may include information such as “20 years’ experience in the fitness field” on a business card or a website. If the information is missing, do not feel there is anything wrong with asking for clarification about how long he/she has been working as a trainer. If someone has been in the field for 10 years and maintains a good base of clients, it would be safe to assume the fitness pro is good at what he/she does.

3) Ask for References

In a way, hiring a personal trainer isn’t much different than hiring a new employee. You want to be sure you are getting the best person for the job, so asking for references doesn’t hurt. The references could be previous clients or managers of gyms or fitness facilities the trainer is affiliated with.

Some might think this is a step too far, but you want to be sure you get the results for which you’re sacrificing. After all, quite a bit of time and money will be directed to the trainer with the hope of achieving a particular outcome. Who wants to be disappointed with results and feel that time and money were wasted? Contacting references can give you peace of mind that you are choosing the best available trainer.

4) Look at Where the Trainer Runs Sessions

A great personal trainer can set up shop anywhere. Running sessions in parks or recreational facilities is commonplace. Unfortunately, inexperienced trainers may also try to set up shop in these places since no other venues will have them. Working with a totally inexperienced trainer might not be in your best interests.

Clients who have never worked with a trainer won’t likely be able to fully evaluate qualifications. Gym owners, however, do possess such abilities. If you wish to access the best trainers, it may be wise to look at who’s offering training sessions at top gyms in the area.

Gym owners wouldn’t benefit from hiring unqualified personal trainers. Even when the personal trainer only rents space from the gym and isn’t an employee, the trainer remains a reflection of the gym. No proprietor of a fitness facility wishes to hire someone who might create headaches, so the owners usually make sure to hire people who are highly qualified.

With this in mind, it may be a good idea to look closely at the gyms or facilities with which the trainer maintains a professional relationship. This does not mean you should ignore looking at certifications, experience, and references. Still, the fact that the trainer runs things at an established business can be a good sign.

5) Check Out What Type of Programs Are Offered

Once you define your goals, look for the trainers most qualified to craft the program necessary to reach those goals. Areas of training to consider include:

• Personal Fitness Training

“Personal fitness training” is a bit of a catch-all term. Usually, this type of training involves general fitness, weight loss, and strength conditioning. Depending on the client, different approaches may be taken. A program can be designed to be light to moderate, or it could be very intense. Generally, the workouts entail performing weightlifting, cardio work, bodyweight exercises, and more. Nutrition may be touched on as well.

• Recreational Fitness Training

Recreational fitness training isn’t much different from personal training, but the emphasis may be more on the fun of participation rather than being too concerned about results. A person who is already fit and in shape may choose to work with a trainer to expand his/her fitness horizons or come up with new goals. Maybe there is a meditation-like quality to working out that you enjoy experiencing. A trainer could help you on that path quite nicely.

• Sports-Specific Competitive Athlete Training

With this type of training, results count and count big. High school, college, semi-pro, professional, and even recreational athletes must build up the stamina, strength, endurance, and flexibility necessary to succeed at their chosen sport. Working with a personal fitness coach who has a sports background may be the best way to improve in a particular athletic endeavor.

This type of training does require a detailed and focused approach. Training someone to play tennis may be much different from training someone to play football. Going through the motions won’t be the focus of these workouts. A trainer gauges performance closely. He/she is going to make sure you are making progress, which is what you want in the first place.

• Fitness Training for a Medical Condition

This may be the most sensitive of all aspects of one-on-one fitness training. A person with a medical condition may need to follow a certain protocol in order to undergo effective rehabilitation. Even with general fitness goals, an individual with a medical condition might require a safe and appropriate workout program that addresses any limitations or special considerations associated with the condition.

If you are looking for highly specific training, it becomes necessary to inquire if the trainer possesses the appropriate background. Personal and recreational trainers won’t likely be hard to find. The other two trainers might require doing a little searching.

Be sure to also look at how the client-trainer relationship starts out. How does that first lesson work?

6) Inquire About Introductory Lessons

Business-savvy trainers may provide a one-time introductory session that is completely free or offered at a greatly reduced price. Nothing gives you a better indication of the talents a trainer possesses than an actual session. The intro session can be beneficial to both the trainer and the potential client. The trainer is able to make an evaluation of the client’s balance, physical conditioning, strength level, and motivations for training. Such things prove helpful when a trainer plans out a program for the client.

You gain a lot from the introductory session since you learn many things about the trainer that won’t be revealed in promotional materials. The temperament, disposition, and training talents are all on display during the introductory session. The sessions allow you to ask questions and discuss personal expectations when taking sessions. Hopefully, the intro session makes the ability to choose the right trainer a lot easier.

7) Check on the Trainer’s Insurance

When you’re hoping to find a personal trainer, asking about the personal trainer’s liability insurance should be a top priority. Yet, it may be the most ignored aspect because the average would-be client probably doesn’t think about potential liabilities and filing claims. However, you really should.

Personal training sessions require physical actions, and this means the specter of an injury exists. If you are hurt due to negligence, filing a claim against an insurance policy could cover your losses.

Choosing the Right Trainer Is Essential

Choosing the right trainer means a lot. When you find the best trainer, you do more than increase your chances of meeting short-term goals. A top personal fitness trainer may start you down the path of a life dedicated to health, fitness, and, yes, fun. Choose wisely.

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