How to Choose a Personal Trainer
There are a few important things to consider when looking to hire a personal trainer. Some of these are more obvious, like checking there if they're certified or not and what their experience level is. Other things are not as obvious, such as training methodology, background and understanding of anatomy and physiology as well as injury prevention.
I believe the first question you need to ask yourself is, why do I want to hire a personal trainer?
There are many reasons why it is beneficial to work with a trainer such as accountability, safety, injury prevention, to learn movement skills and more. But, I believe it is important to figure out what your reasons are before beginning in order to ensure you find the trainer that fits your needs and goals.
For a lot of people, the reason they want to hire a personal trainer is because; they know they need to get involved in more activity, exercise, stretching, weightlifting and more, but are not sure where to start. This can be due to a lack of experience or simply intimidation of not knowing how to use exercise equipment properly, and not wanting to get hurt while figuring all this out. These are valid concerns and great reasons to hire a trainer but unfortunately, not all trainers are created equal.
Now that you have decided that you want to work with a trainer, it's time to start the search to fill that need. The first thing you will begin to notice when looking around at different trainers, is there are many types of certifications and different letters after people's names. This in and of itself can be confusing on which credentials are valid and hold more weight than others. One of the problems with personal training as an industry, is there are a lot of different certifications. Some of which can be obtained through the internet without actual training experience. Others however require lots of studying of specific information like anatomy and physiology and challenging tests to ensure that safety and knowledge is the top priority. The most commonly accepted certifications that are accredited and require testing and valid understanding of safety as well as anatomy and physiology are as follows in no particular order.
CSCS Certified Strength and Conditioning Coach,
ACE American Council on Exercise
ACSM American College of Sports Medicine
NASM National Academy of Sports Medicine
This list does not include all of the good certifications, because there are many out there. These are however, the most commonly accepted at national gyms and universities and require testing to obtain as well as continuing education.
The next thing that you want to check about a potential trainer is if they have experience with the goal that you are trying to obtain. For many people, this is simply improving their health status, getting stronger, losing weight, improving their flexibility and just feeling better overall. I believe most qualified trainers can help with these goals.
When you find a trainer or two that meet your specific requirements, it is now important to dive in a little deeper to find out which of these will work best with you. The next attributes you should be looking for is, experience and specific methodology of training. This simply means, what types of exercise or equipment does the trainer use and why. There are many many many approaches to this and most are great. But again, the goal is to find someone that works with your specific goals and can align their training approach to what you are trying to get out of the training sessions.
The final and I believe most important aspect of finding the right trainer for you is, do they practice what they preach?
This to me seems very obvious of an attribute to check, but I see this getting missed a lot. Now, this is not to say that every personal trainer should be a top-level bodybuilder or should have super low body fat. What I simply mean is, does this trainer practice the exercises or their training methodology on themselves or do they teach one thing and do something different with their own approach to training, health, fitness and wellness. If not, I see this as a bright red flag and a great warning sign that this may be the wrong trainer for you!
Why is this such an important aspect of a good trainer? Consider the following question. Would you take Financial advice from someone that is broke? How about health advice from someone that is sick and a smoker? I think your answer to these is the same reason why you want to work with a trainer that practices what they preach.
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Author : Jordan Proudfoot
Here are my thoughts and insights into fitness and wellness to be the best you possible.