So you have decided to begin an exercise program and are contemplating investing in a personal trainer. Let’s face it, it’s not easy to design your own exercise routines and stay motivated. A trainer can provide the knowledge and expertise to help you achieve your health and fitness goals safely and effectively and keep you accountable. Finding a personal trainer is easy. Finding the right personal trainer can be a bit more challenging.
First, determine what your needs are.
- Where do you want to train? You may feel more comfortable having a trainer come to your home. If not, many trainers work independently out of private training studios or you can train at a nearby health club.
- How often are you going to train? Are you interested in regularly scheduled sessions each week or simply a one-time consultation to help you create a program that you can follow?
- How much do you want to spend? Personal training rates can range from $25 - $100 per hour. The price will depend on the trainer, his/her level of education and experience, and whether you train in a fitness center or in your home. Typically fitness centers charge more for training packages than if you train privately in your home.
- What kind of communication/style are you looking for? Are you looking for a trainer that is tough and barks out orders (Jillian style!) or do you prefer someone that you can relate to and talk about your day with.
Since you are hiring this person to work for you, be prepared to ask questions that will give you the information you need to make an informed decision.
- What are your credentials/education? Your trainer should be certified through a reputable organization. There are hundreds of organizations that distribute certifications, so be sure they possess a nationally recognized one. Some of the more well known ones are, ACE, ACSM, AFAA, AFPA, NSCA, and NASM, They may also hold a degree in Exercise Science or other exercise-related field.
- How long have you been a Personal Trainer? Find out if the individual is new to the industry or has significant experience. Get references from current and previous clients. Also, ask if they are up to date with their continuing education. Feel free to ask specifically what trainings/workshops they have attended over the past year. Trainers are required to accumulate continuing education credits in order to maintain their certification.
- Are you CPR/AED certified? All trainers must maintain a valid CPR/AED certification, preferably through the Red Cross or American Heart Association.
- Do you carry liability insurance? All experienced trainers should have liability insurance coverage in the event you get injured.
- What is your rate per session? Do you offer package discounts? Typically if you purchase a package of sessions, the rate drops. Find out if you need to pay in full prior to the sessions commencing or if the trainer has another preference. Also, if you want to train with a friend, find out if the trainer offers semi-private or small group sessions.
- What is your cancellation policy? Most trainers require notice if you are not going to keep your appointment. Notice can range from 24-48 hours. It is important to know this policy since it can mean losing a session.
Remember, your personal trainer is a professional. He/she should be punctual, dressed appropriately, and be in good physical condition. During your training session, you should be the focus of their attention. Texting or taking personal calls is considered unprofessional and should be addressed immediately. You will be spending a lot of time with this person, so be sure that you feel a connection with them during your interview. If you do not click with them initially, continue interviewing other trainers. You need to feel comfortable with your trainer so you can focus on achieving your goals and not your relationship with them. So take your time and choose carefully. Once you do the homework, you will be happy with your decision and your investment.