If you’re working on a fitness goal, hiring a personal trainer is a beautiful way to help accomplish it. Before you sign on the dotted line, however, here are eight things that you have to consider before hiring a personal trainer.
The non-negotiable rule for finding a personal trainer is finding one who has a certification to train you in the first place! Trainers have to receive their certifications through a handful of different industries: the ACE, or American Council on Exercise, for example, requires 80-100 hours of study for their trainer certification exam. Other certifications, like the National Backbone and Conditioning Association or the National Academy of Sports Medicine, offer similar certifications. Be wary, though: not all certifications are equal when it comes to personal trainers. Look for a trainer who can confidently explain their certification.
This one goes hand in hand with expertise: a fancy certification doesn’t mean too much if a trainer hasn’t done anything with it. Trainers who have had multiple clients generally know the best practical methods of training their clients. Unless you’re okay with being a test subject, ask a personal trainer about any clients that they’ve had. All the book learning in the world can’t make up for a client or two’s worth of experience.
Want someone who doesn’t get up in your face? Need some tough love to get through a workout? Find a personal trainer that meets your motivational needs. Scheduling a meeting or two with a potential personal trainer is one way to get a feel for their coaching style and see if you’ll mesh with them.
How a trainer motivates you is just one part of the way they train. Do you like the way they structure their workouts? What do they think is essential to personal training? Outdoor or indoor workouts? Researching the philosophy of a potential trainer is another vital part of finding a trainer that works for you, especially if you have a specific goal in mind.
Is your trainer known for their cross training prowess? Are they a running coach? Can they help you become a Russian power-lifting champion? Finding a trainer that specializes in helping you reach your specific goal is an integral part of meeting that goal! Not only will a trainer know how to train you to achieve your sport-specific goal, but they’ll also tell potential pitfalls people face on the road to meeting that goal and will know what to help you avoid on the way to your next PR.
If you can’t afford a trainer, don’t hire them. Finding a trainer that fits into your fitness budget is an integral part of finding a trainer! If your dream trainer has private sessions that are out of your price range, look for semi-private trainers or fitness classes that you can take with them until you can afford one-on-one sessions. Settling for a trainer who you enjoy and who pushes you, instead of your dream trainer, is also a completely viable option.
A trainer has to be friendly to you, your wallet, and your calendar. If your schedules won’t match up, it’s likely that they won’t be a good fit for you. If you like routine scheduling, look for a trainer who offers that. Have a variable schedule? Find a trainer who has sessions available at different times. At this point, it’s best to find out information about canceled appointments and how far ahead that you can book appointments, so that you are on the same page.
Does your trainer have some way to tell how much progress you are making? Do they regularly ask you about your goals? On the road to accomplishing your goals, find a trainer who will help reinforce and check up on them for you, too. Different metrics that trainers can use include weight, PR’s, and other pieces of qualitative information. Quantitative information, like moods or how you feel about workouts, is also essential pieces of information trainers can use to evaluate you on your goals.