Making the decision to get professional help from a certified personal trainer is a big step that should not be overlooked. You could just show up to the gym, cut a check and get started but this may not be the most ideal approach to teaming with someone who is going to be your partner in meeting your health, fitness and possibly, personal goals. Below we take a closer look at what questions you should be asking your personal trainer before moving ahead with them and what you should be looking for before trusting your fitness with a complete stranger.
The general public is unaware that there are literally dozens of different options when it comes to personal training certification. The most popular personal training certification bodies are the National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM), the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM), and the American Council on Exercise (ACE) to name a few. The NASM-CPT is said to be the most widely chosen certification among fitness professionals, making it the most widely accepted in the industry. To most trainees (i.e. you), the difference in the actual personal training certification won’t make a huge difference, this is just a gateway for the personal trainers to actually start their professional careers. The real meat and potatoes of selecting a personal trainer – in addition to ensuring they are credentialed – is looking for specific certifications or continuing education coursework that applies directly to your interests. For example, if you are interested in sport-specific training, exercise for pain management, weight loss or nutrition, you can likely find personal trainers with additional certifications in these categories. The main takeaway is that if you have a specific training aspect in mind you can likely find a personal trainer who specializes in this area.
The approach in which personal trainers educate or guide you is important as you’ll want to mesh well with them if you are going to maintain a positive relationship. When you begin to talk to personal trainers or the gym staff members that will be helping you narrow down your selection, you’ll want to know the communication and motivational style of your candidates. Where some people might not mind a personal trainer who gets in their face to help them through that last set, that could be the last thing you need. At the same time you might not want someone who is not pushing you to improve your goals and this is something to consider or communicate when you are in training.
This is a commonly overlooked aspect of choosing a personal trainer but nonetheless an important one. A personal trainer’s personal brand encompasses their mastery of specific areas of fitness, their individual health and nutrition plan and as shallow as it may sound, how they look from an aesthetic perspective. Experienced personal trainers will generally have their own style of fitness or approach. For example, a CrossFit trainer may emphasis bodyweight exercises and be well known for 100s of variations whereas a more traditional gym personal trainer may preach natural body building techniques. Then comes the personal trainer’s definition of health – what it means to be healthy as it pertains to eating, sleeping and exercise. Do they follow the plan that they preach and does it sound appealing enough for you to adapt? Is it something that they want you to try or will they be conforming their plan to you based on your personal needs, goals and interests? Finally, you want to take a look at your personal trainer’s body. Are they amongst the fittest people you have ever seen? Shouldn’t they be?
According to the National Strength and Conditioning Association, the average personal trainer charges about $50 an hour. This number will fluctuate depending on whether your trainer is part of a gym or private, does group sessions or individual, what region you are in, and what their reputation is. If your trainer is extremely knowledgeable about certain topics that interest you – like nutrition for example – they may be worth the extra money. Also keep in mind that you need not get a full hour of training – many people opt for 30 minutes with the trainer and decide to stay at the gym working on the things they learned to save money.
If possible, try to talk to people who are currently being trained by personal trainers you are considering. If they are using them they are likely to like them so try to use specific questions when asking them about their style and approach to fitness. You may also be able to look at your gym’s website to see if they have testimonials to get a better idea of what your personal trainer’s reputation is like.
Transforming or improving your health is a step in the right direction and requires the trust of a personal trainer. When considering to invest your time and money with someone, be sure to do your due diligence and check out their certifications, specialties, coaching style, personal brand, how much they charge as well as if they have any customers you can speak to. If your personal trainer is not working out don’t hesitate to switch them up. It’s your body and your time so you want to make the best of it. Thank you Fitness Mentors for the great article!!