It can be a little daunting/overwhelming to pick a Personal Trainer, especially if you've never hired a trainer, or you've hired a BAD trainer in the past. Today's blog post is designed to help you pick out the right trainer for YOU.
First, ask yourself this:
1. What do I want to achieve? Are you looking to lose weight? Do you want to become a body builder? Are you looking to gain flexibility, or run a marathon?
What you want to achieve is important when it comes to who you hire. You don't want to hire an Olympic Lifting coach if your goal is to become a triathlete or marathon runner, for example.
I get a lot of weight loss clients, clients looking to pass a physical fitness test for work (like police officers and fire fighters), as well as those interested in kickboxing and weight lifting. I get a lot of people who want to train in a functional way as well. Those interested in Olympic Lifting and Body Building, I send to my body building and olympic lifting friends... the ones I know are experts in their niche.
But how do you know if your potential trainer is an expert?
Here are my top 5 ways of vetting a Personal Trainer before you hire:
1. What are their qualifications? Anyone can call themselves a Personal Trainer, charge money and lawfully work as a Personal Trainer in the state of Texas. What you want is someone who has the qualifications and certifications to back it up.
You want a trainer who is has a Certification as a Personal Trainer through ACSM, ACE, NASM and/or NSCA. Why? Because they the certifying bodies that are accredited by the National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA), which is held as the standard for personal training.
You may also want to look at the educational background of the trainer. Do they have a bachelors degree in Kinesiology? Do they have a masters degree? The higher the education, the more they will charge by the hour, however, you will be getting someone with more education, more experience, and more expertise (MOST LIKELY).
2. Book a Consultation. Your personality might clash with your personal trainer. You need to know that before you hire them. Book a consultation with them to sit down and get to know them and their school of thought. You want to feel comfortable with your trainer, or you'll be even less motivated to get to the gym. Most trainers offer this consultation free of charge.
3. Be Wary of the Cheap Trainers. Sure it's tempting to go onto a site like craigslist or thumbtack and find the lowest bid possible for training. There are backyard trainers out there who will train you for $20 or less per session, but I guarantee you, you're getting what you pay for. No trainer with the education, skills, and knowledge I believe is necessary to make them worth your money at all will go that low in price. Good personal trainers are worth the investment. Trust me, when your body is at stake (and I'm mostly referring to potential injuries you could sustain from a trainer who doesn't know what they're doing), it's worth the money to get a trainer who knows what they're doing. Here in Austin, a trainer should be charging between $40-$100 per hour.
4. Listen to YOUR body and YOUR intuition. A good trainer understands body mechanics. If you have a trainer who is not correcting your form, who isn't adjusting you or at least discussing how you should be holding your body... run. If you have a trainer who doesn't do a body assessment/postural analysis beforehand, ask them to do it. And if they don't know how, find someone who does. If you work out with a trainer and end up with joint pain or an injury, it's time to find a new trainer. Granted, accidents happen, but if it's because your trainer didn't teach you good form, they are not doing their job and they don't deserve your money.
5. Do look into private trainers who own their own business. I'm biased here. I offer personal training at a rate that is affordable and better than most big box gyms charge. I've been training for 9 years now. I know what I'm doing. A lot of the trainers at big gyms are newbies. They eventually branch off for themselves. This isn't ALWAYS true. So if you do decide to go with a big commercial gym, make sure you ask for their most experienced trainers, interview more than one of them, and pick the one who seems the most knowledgeable and who you get along with the best.
Choosing a trainer is an important decision. You are about to make a big investment into your health. And just like picking a good doctor, the decision can make your life better or it can make it worse.