A personal trainer can serve as a consultant to help you design a workout at home or at a health club that will meet your needs. Or the trainer can work with you regularly, motivating you through each workout. You may also consider hiring a personal trainer if you are aiming toward a specific goal, wish to update your exercise program, are returning to exercising after an illness or injury, need motivation or have been inactive and feel out of shape.
You should follow these guidelines when looking for a personal trainer:
- To design a safe, effective workout, the trainer should 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, such as the American College of Sports Medicine, the American Council of Exercise or the Aerobics and Fitness Association of America.
- You have to be able to rely on your trainer to provide you with the latest fitness information. Does the trainer have experience in fitness training and keep current with research through associations, educational events and publications?
- Is the trainer certified in cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and first aid?
- Many medical conditions and/or past injuries can affect the way you exercise. Does the trainer require you to have a health screening or release from your doctor?
- Can the trainer provide you with references from other clients?
- A trainer should help you establish realistic short-term and long-term goals and motivate you by assessing your progress. Does the trainer keep a record of your workouts with a tracking system and update your medical history periodically?
- Does the trainer have liability insurance in case you get injured through negligence on the trainer's part?
- Does the trainer provide clear-cut cancellation policies, billing procedures and any other policies in writing?
- Is the trainer within your budget? Trainers charge a broad range of fees depending on their experience, the length of workout and its location.
- Does the trainer listen to what you want and communicate well with you?
- Is the trainer willing to put the workout methods in writing and explain the reasoning behind exercise program decisions?
- Do you feel you will get along well with the trainer? Is the trainer interested in helping you maintain a balanced, healthy lifestyle in addition to exercise?