- Does the trainer have a background in exercise physiology, anatomy,
injury prevention and monitoring of exercise intensity, as evidenced
by a degree in a related medical or physical science field or certification
through a nationally recognized organization (ACE, ACSM, or reputable
To design a safe, effective workout, a personal
trainer needs a good grounding in exercise technique. A personal training
or exercise certification indicates that the personal trainer has at
least the basic knowledge in areas necessary to conduct a quality session.
- Does the trainer have experience in fitness training, and does
he or she keep current with research through association membership,
journals and educational events?
You want to make sure you can rely on your trainer
as a fitness, exercise,e and lifestyle resource. Because the exercise
industry is changing all the time, trainers need to update their knowledge
regularly to provide you with timely and comprehensive information.
Membership in a professional fitness association like IDEA is one way
you can tell that a personal trainer is staying current.
- Is the trainer certified in cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR)
and first aid?
Safety training enables a personal trainer to
know what to do in case of an emergency in your session.
- Does the trainer require a health screening or release from your
Many medical conditions and/or past injuries
can affect your participation in a training session. A quality trainer
will design a session that takes these into account yet still provides
you with an effective workout. If you are under a doctor's care for
certain conditions, a professional trainer will discuss any exercise
concerns with your doctor.
- Can the trainer provide you with references from other clients
or established industry professionals familiar with the trainer's knowledge
People go to trainers for a variety of reasons:
weight loss, cardiovascular improvement, triathlon training, postrehabilitation,
general toning, pre/postnatal fitness and more. Your trainer should
have experience in the type of training you want. Calling references
can help you determine if the trainer has the expertise to provide you
with your specific needs.
- Will the trainer keep a record of your workouts with a tracking
system and update your medical history periodically?
A professional trainer will help you establish
realistic short-term and long-term goals and assess your progress to
help motivate you. Areas in which your trainer might track your progress
include weight, percent body fat, body measurements, cardiovascular
improvement, strength and stamina. By updating your medical history
from time to time, your trainer will be able to adjust your workouts,
if needed, to reflect any changed conditions.
- Does the trainer have liability insurance?
In case you get injured through negligence on the trainer's part, it
is important that the trainer have liability insurance.
- Is the trainer within your budget?
Trainers charge a broad range of fees depending
on length of workout, location and trainer's experience. You can expect
to pay between $20 and $100 an hour. Some trainers offer reduced fees
if you buy a package of sessions.
- Is the trainer available when you want to work out?
Make sure that the trainer can accommodate your
schedule. If you will need to change appointment times later, ask if
different times are open.
- Does the trainer ask questions about your lifestyle?
Personal training is effective because it is
personally designed for you, incorporating your individual tastes and
needs. Your trainer shouldn't give all clients the same "cookie
cutout" workout. He or she should take into account the demands
of your job, your hobbies and other activities you participate in.
- Does the trainer help you set safe and realistic goals, without
promising unattainable results?
A professional trainer will help you set goals you
can reasonably achieve. This is important because you are more likely
to adhere to exercise if you don't overdo it.
- Is the trainer interested in seeing you maintain a well-rounded,
healthy lifestyle in addition to exercise?
A professional trainer knows that overall wellness
means more than just exercise. Your trainer should be able to provide
information about smart eating, stress management and medical care or
refer you to sources or other professionals who can help you.
- Has the trainer cultivated a network of professionals such as physicians,
nutrition specialists, physical therapists and other fitness leaders?
A professional trainer should have established
sources for specialized questions and referrals in order to provide
you with optimal service for your needs.
- Does the trainer exhibit good listening skills and communicate
If your trainer doesn't listen to what you want,
he or she won't be able to design a program that addresses your needs.
Likewise, if a trainer can't communicate effectively, you won't be able
to understand what to do. Also, your trainer should motivate you by
positive, not negative reinforcement. A professional trainer will never
make you feel inadequate of incompetent.
- Is the trainer willing to explain and put in writing his or her
workout methods and the principles and reasoning behind exercise program
You should always know why you are doing certain
exercises. You should be able to have input into creating your program,
and your trainer should encourage questions so you can learn more about
fitness and health.
- Do you feel you will get along well with the trainer?
In order to have the best working relationship,
you should like your trainer's personality. Your trainer should be able
to motivate you in a way that is meaningful to you. Do you enjoy a high-energy,
intense approach, or are you more comfortable with a low-energy, relaxing
style? Carefully interview the trainer to see what approach he or she
would have with you.
- Are you comfortable with the trainer's gender?
Some people like working with a trainer of the
same sex, and others prefer the opposite sex. Being comfortable with
your trainer is important.