Selecting The Right Personal Trainer For You - Health - Fitness

Personal trainers can certainly help you achieve your physical goals faster. They can give you personalised attention, help reduce the risk of injury when exercising, make the workout much more enjoyable and most of all, provide the extrinsic motivation you need to maintain the lifestyle habits that are conducive to getting the results you want.

Personal trainers vary greatly in cost, educational background, training practices and personal philosophy. Make sure their experience and qualifications are up to date. A good point to keep in mind when choosing a personal trainer is to see if they practice what they preach. There is no point being trained by someone who doesn't look the part and isn't passionate about what they do. The Golden Rule regarding selection of the right personal trainer is:

'If they don't weight train themselves, don't let them weight train you!'

Before employing the services of a personal trainer, ask them the following questions to see if they meet your needs:

Why did you become a personal trainer? Personal trainers must have a passion for health and fitness. Not only should they practice what they preach, but they should also love sharing their expertise with others. They should also enjoy helping other people achieve their physical goals and they should gain satisfaction from encouraging people to adopt a healthy lifestyle. Great personal trainers are enthusiastic ambassadors of the 'fitness lifestyle'.

What type of exercise program do you provide to get your clients the best results? Some personal trainers prefer cardiorespiratory exercise for training their clients and this is OK, but only if it is combined with a regular resistance-training program. If they don't include weight training as a part of your exercise program, don't even consider them in becoming your personal trainer. They might say you don't need to train with weights to get results, but to get the best results in the shortest time you must train with weights. The 'body-shaping' results through any other means of training are slow and limited.

What qualifications do you have? Do they have a university degree or other formal accreditation from a registered training organisation? Just because they have won a local bodybuilding or fitness competition certainly doesn't make them a good trainer. They may have a good practical knowledge but have very little theoretical knowledge and therefore they may suggest unsafe exercises or dietary practices.

On the other hand, don't get someone to train you simply because they have lots of letters after their name. They may have an enormous amount of theoretical knowledge but their practical abilities may be seriously lacking. Select a personal trainer who has a good balance of theory and practice.

Do you keep up to date with current research? Their answer must be an emphatic YES! Personal trainers must continually update their knowledge through workshops, seminars, books, journal articles and magazines, etc. By doing so, they can provide their clients with the most effective information to accelerate their results.

Do you have many clients? This gives you an indication as to how popular they are as a trainer and also as to whether they can fit into your time schedule (you should not have to fit into theirs).

Have your clients got results? This is one of the most important questions you should ask. Some clients just like to have a trainer as a social outlet, not necessarily for the physical benefits. Some do it for the, 'I've got a personal trainer' image. Obviously these people have plenty of money to throw around and shouldn't be included in the equation. However, if you really want good results from your training, then your trainer should be as keen as you are in getting you the results you desire. Perhaps ask to see the before and after photos or appraisal results of some of their clients. If they don't have any, it may indicate that they are more concerned about taking your money than getting you results.

How often do you perform appraisals on your clients? If the trainer is 'results-orientated' (as they should be), they should do an appraisal on all their clients every four to six weeks to see how they are progressing and to quantify their results.

Can you supply client references? Good trainers will always have satisfied clients and they should be more than happy for you to contact their 'client references' to find out what they are like as a trainer. Call two or three clients and ask them about the trainer's ability. Find out what they think the trainer's strengths and weaknesses are. Is the trainer professional, dependable, enthusiastic and knowledgeable? Do they explain the reasoning behind their training principles? Has the client been trained by other trainers before? If so, how does this personal trainer compare? Is the trainer always on time? This is just a sample of some of the questions you should ask the clients of the personal trainer in question.

Do you have public liability and professional indemnity insurance? These days litigation is commonplace, so it is imperative that the gym facility has suitable insurance to protect it from being sued by clients who may injury themselves on the premises or who may lose property that is being kept on the premises. It is also essential that any gym instructors and personal trainers have professional indemnity insurance to protect themselves from potential litigation. Trainers must show a 'duty of care' to their clients at all times. If they do so, they are almost free from litigation. This may be done by being qualified, by performing pre-exercise screening on clients before training them, by carefully supervising clients throughout all workouts, by documenting workouts and by having documented emergency procedures for the gym. How does your potential trainer compare?

Have you completed courses in CPR and first aid? The trainer must have a good knowledge of CPR and first aid as well as know the proper procedures to follow in emergency situations. This is particularly important if they perform outdoor exercise sessions.

What do you charge for your services (and what does it include)? Personal trainers may charge as little as $20 dollars an hour up to several hundred dollars per hour. The cost depends on their qualifications, the length of the workout (however, it shouldn't be longer than an hour), what additional services they provide (before and after photos, re-appraisals, nutritional plans, etc.) and what type of personal training they do. Make sure that the personal trainer's fees fit comfortably into your budget and make sure you are aware of any additional costs that may have to be paid (i.e. Gym membership fees, supplement purchases, accessories, etc.).

What are your training policies? Before signing any contracts make sure you understand the trainer's policy on payment for sessions, contracts, cancellations and training procedures.

Are you available at the times suitable for me? The personal trainer must fit into to your time schedule, not you fit into theirs. The main reason for having a personal trainer is so they can assist you in achieving your physical goals at times that are convenient for you.

After speaking with the personal trainer and asking the above questions, ask yourself the following questions regarding the personal trainer:

1. Is he/she suitable for me? 2. Do I like his/her personality? 3. Does he/she have good communication and listening skills? 4. Would I prefer a male or a female personal trainer? 5. Will I look forward to training with him/her? 6. Am I happy with the program he/she suggest in order to achieve the results I want? 7. What level of professionalism does he/she have? 8. Does he/she wear a uniform? 9. Is he/she dressed well? 10. Does he/she always carry a towel with them? 11. Does he/she keep a record of every workout for every client? 12. Is the personal trainer focussed 100% on his/her client when he/she trains them or do they look around the gym, talk to other people or leave the client on his/her own during the training session.

After asking the personal trainer and yourself the above questions, decide whether or not he/she is suitable for you. It is important that you are totally happy with the trainer first before going ahead and signing contracts or starting a training program with them. Good luck!

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