How to Pick a Personal Trainer

January 17, 2018 by Liz Morgan

A new year means new resolutions. For some people, this means getting serious about working out and hiring a personal trainer. Having a trained, professional exercise coach helps guide your workouts and makes sure you are achieving the results you want. However, before you make the investment, it’s important to verify your potential trainer’s credentials and make sure they have the right qualifications. Here are four questions you can ask to make sure you choose the right physical trainer for you.

What certifications do you have?

This simple question will weed out a whole group of “professional” trainers. Unlike other professions that require employees to be licensed by a board or meet federal guidelines, personal trainers can sometimes find employment by just calling themselves trainers—even if they lack proper certification or a four-year exercise degree. In addition, online and “Instagram trainers” can be anyone—ranging from a real, certified professional to a person with abs. Steer clear of trainers with no credentials and look for current certifications from reputable organizations like the National Strength and Conditioning Association, the American Council on Exercise, the American College of Sports Medicine or the National Academy of Sports Medicine.

The certification not only helps trainers understand the science of exercise and how it affects the body, but it also ensures they know the basic knowledge requirements of the fitness field.

What is your education?

You should consider both a trainer’s certification and education level. Some certifications require trainers to have a four-year degree in exercise science or a science-related field, while others simply require a high school degree. Despite this, having a degree in exercise science doesn’t always mean they’ll make a great trainer. A trainer with a non-science degree might be a better coach than a trainer with a science-related degree.

What’s your specialty and training experience?

It’s important to not only consider a personal trainer’s years of experience, but also the types of people they specialize in. If you’re an older adult looking to lose weight, a trainer who specializes in working with high school students may not be the best choice and vice versa. Ask potential trainers to connect you with past or current clients with similar health histories and goals, or ask your friends for trainer recommendations. From there, you can check certifications and education levels. Make sure your trainer not only knows what they’re doing, but can also coach people with your unique needs.

Do you have liability insurance?

If you’re ever injured during a training session, you want to ensure that your trainer’s insurance will pay for your health-care expenses. The best way to make sure this will happen is to ask for proof of insurance before signing up. Though most gyms insure their employees, it’s your trainer’s personal responsibility to obtain their own insurance, usually through their certifying organization.

Ensuring that your personal trainer is not only professional but knowledgeable is a solid step towards avoiding injuries and attaining your personal fitness goals!

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