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What to look for when selecting a Personal Trainer

Alright so you have decided that the best way to reach your fitness and health goals is to enlist the help of a Personal Trainer but you aren’t sure who to go to or what to look for. This is a common issue when someone looks to find the right Personal Trainer, and it can be rather overwhelming trying to sort through the options.

Here are some of the most important criteria to consider when selecting a Personal Trainer.

Education – It is no secret that the fitness industry has a VERY low barrier of entry when it comes to obtaining employment. That is why education is the most important criteria to consider. You can go online and search for Personal Training Certifications and find hundreds of options. There are some that you can sign up, not study, pass, and be a “Certified Personal Trainer” in under an hour and then there are others that require a Bachelor’s Degree and take months to study for and still have a high rate of failure on the first attempt. Obviously, there is a lot more merit to the latter of the two certifications. Make sure that your Personal Trainer has done their homework and studied to make sure you are safe. Some of the top certifications in the industry are: National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA) Certified Personal Trainer (CPT) or Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS), American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) CPT, and National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM) CPT.

Experience – Practice makes everyone better at what they do. There is a theory called the 10,000 hour rule that states it takes 10,000 hours to become really efficient at doing a certain task. This means if you do a certain task 40 hours a week 50 weeks a year it would take you 5 years to become efficient at what you do. When it comes to your health and safety you can’t be too careful.

Philosophy – A good Personal Trainer should be able to clearly and easily tell you what their philosophy is. This is something that should be formed early in their education experience, whether that is in college or during their time studying for their chosen certification. A Personal Trainer’s philosophy is the basis of how a Personal Trainer trains their clients. If they aren’t able to define their philosophy, how are they going to be able to effectively and safely train clients?

Reputation – Reputation is everything. Ask people in the community about the Personal Trainer you are looking to work with. Are the Personal Trainer’s current or past clients willing to recommend them to you and others? Have there been any complaints about the Personal Trainer in the past? These questions can give you valuable information about the potential client/trainer relationship you would have.

Tracking Progress – Does the potential Personal Trainer have a system of tracking your progress? Without any progress tracking system in place there is no way of knowing if you are making progress towards your goals or if the program the Personal Trainer has designed is working. Without this valuable information there is no way of knowing if your investment is paying off.

Personality – Does the potential Personal Trainer’s personality match yours? Are you a quite reserved person that does not like being the center of attention? Then a loud victorious Personal Trainer might not be a good fit for you. Are you a person who enjoys a good conversation to help the time pas during your workout? Then a Personal Trainer who is quiet and has a softer demeanor might not be a good fit.

Talk the talk AND walk the walk – Does the Personal Trainer practice what they preach? A Personal Trainer should have a passion for what they do, which means that they should be getting their own workouts in. If they are getting the workouts in, they should look the part and be able to perform the exercises they are asking you to do.

Keep these things in mind when you are selecting a Personal Trainer OR take time to ask yourself these questions about your current Personal Trainer to make sure you are getting the most out of your investment.

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