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Why Hiring A Personal Trainer Could Be The Best Decision You've Ever Made

Updated on October 30, 2009

So why hire a personal trainer?

Whether you're a weight-lifting newbie or a seasoned gym rat, you can benefit from hiring a trainer. If you're a beginner, a trainer can help motivate you, teach you how to use exercise machines safely and efficiently, and help you develop a workout that matches your goals and abilities. If you're already physically fit or training for a particular event, such as a marathon, a trainer can help you build stamina, avoid boredom, and work toward your specific goals. Trainers are also great if you're recovering from an injury.

What should I look for in a trainer?

Hiring a trainer is a little like choosing a spouse: Your number-one priority should be compatibility. If you find him/her condescending or their voice makes you cringe, you won't have a good experience.Since anyone can put on a pair of spandex shorts, print up business cards, and call themselves a trainer, make sure your trainer is well qualified. Look for a minimum of two years experience; a college degree in physical education, sports medicine, or fitness management (or a related field, such as anatomy or kinesiology) and certification by an organization such as the American Council on Exercise, the American College of Sports Medicine, or the YMCA/YWCA.

Your trainer should possess the following qualities:

•a willingness to help:
Your trainer should be able to accurately evaluate your current level of fitness and teach you how to realistically achieve your goals. It's the nature of his job to make himself dispensable, and he knows it. So learn all you can while you have him.

•broad skills and knowledge:
Don't just hire the guy who teaches your aerobics class; he might not have any knowledge of weight machines. Likewise, an equipment addict may not be able to provide you with a good cardiovascular program.

While this person's on your payroll, you should be his main focus. You might need spotting or pointers on how to correctly use a machine. You don't want someone who's off doing his own workout or talking to another client. He should be listening to you and adjusting your workout to meet your specific goals.

If you've hired a trainer for a long period of time, they should be constantly re-evaluating your progress to ensure that you're on the right track. A good one will do so every six to eight weeks.

Things to ask a potential trainer?

Make sure you spend time with several possible trainers, interviewing them as you would potential job candidates. When talking to a trainer, it's a good idea to ask about background and experience, as well as training preferences (indoor vs outdoor,mornings vs evenings etc)

Also, ask for references and check them out. Call current or former clients if possible, and ask if they were dependable and prepared. If they get good reviews, see if they're open to giving you a trial session before you sign on the dotted line.

Trainers Provide:

  • Fitness Assessment
  • Motivation and encourages consistency
  • Nutrition Counseling
  • Routine variation or setting routines for you
  • Resistance Training
  • Structure and discipline
  • Cardio Training
  • Discourages laziness by making you accountable
  • Targeted body composition training
  • Injury prevention

Sport specific training

Things To Look Out For:

* Ignores or dismisses your questions

* Works you so hard you're in pain for days. Soreness is normal, but you should still be able to get out of bed

* Neglects any part of a complete program or recommends a level of training that's obviously too hard for you

* Recommends questionable supplements or herbs. Always talk to your doctor before taking anything!

* Diagnoses injuries or illnesses instead of referring you to a doctor

* Interrupts your session to talk to friends or take phone calls from other clients (unless it's an emergency or can't be avoided)

* Doesn't return phone calls or emails or even worse doesn't show up for a session!

Are you the type of person who excels using the "buddy" system or solo?

See results

Getting the most out of your sessions:

  • Save the chit-chat for after your session.
  • Be prepared by bringing your own towel and a full water bottle.
  • Give at LEAST 8 hours notice if you need to cancel or reschedule
  • If you have questions, write them down and bring them to your session--you'll spend less time talking and more time working out.
  • If you have a problem with your trainer, address it immediately.
  • Don't interrupt your trainer when he/she's with a client. Wait until he/she's finished before approaching him/her.
  • Recognize that your trainer is there to guide you-but YOU still have to do the work!


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