Personal trainers come in all shapes and sizes and from tons of different fitness and educational backgrounds. From the drill-sargent drive of Jillian Michaels to the ultra-positive Bob Greene, there’s literally someone for everyone.
Working with a trainer is one of the biggest boosts you can get toward attaining your fitness goals. As a personal training manager, there are certain things I look for when hiring a personal trainer and you should too! Here are eight tips for choosing your “personal” personal trainer!
There are a million certifications out there and almost anyone can go online and take a test. For this reason, it’s important to know a few of the most highly credited certifications and then use them when selecting your trainer.
Here are a few of the best:
ACSM (American College of Sports Medicine)
NSCA (National Strength and Conditioning Association)
NASM (National Academy of Sports Medicine).
Great personal trainers are invested in their education. They are passionate about staying on the forefront of new research and to applying that knowledge to clients’ programs.
A good trainer will invest in continuing education courses, conferences, and even teach classes themselves to broaden their fitness knowledge and pass it along to their clients.
Ask your personal trainer about their success stories. The best coaches will spout off specific examples in a heartbeat. Better yet, they may have a portfolio of before and after pics of clients to help motivate you even more.
4. Strong Assessment Skills
Your trainer should perform a battery of assessments before your first workout. This is an essential step for planning a client-specific program and to get the results you’re looking for. Regardless of your goals they will measure your resting heart rate, blood pressure, girth measurements. Your strength , body composition, and flexibility will also be tested to better tailor your plan.
Your trainer should reassess your fitness level every 6 – 12 weeks to ensure your are on the right track and that the program is working!
5. Get With the Program
A dedicated personal trainer will create at least an 8 week program for each of their clients. During each session, your trainer will record your work and progress on your program. Now you know what their writing on that clipboard after you finish each set!
6. Constant Coaching
Look for a trainer who will motivate you far beyond your training session. The really good ones know when to text you to check in on your cardio or to offer up some nutritional advice. They ‘ll tirelessly come up with new ideas and tricks to keep things fresh and fun!
7. Walking the Walk
I once heard of a client who would go out with his trainer after sessions to drink scotch and smoke cigars. I’m not saying that an occasional celebration should be avoided, but do you really want a beer swigging smoker in charge of your fitness?
A personal trainer should embody all the traits of a healthy lifestyle. That includes a well-balanced nutritional plan, strength training and cardio, plus attention to recovery and wellness. We should all practice what we preach!
8. Personal Personality
While all of the above suggestions are incredibly important, this is the one that will make or break your relationship. Choose someone you look forward to spending time with, but remember what you’re there for. A little chit-chat is a great way to bond, but this shouldn’t be a social hour! You should feel good in your trainer’s presence and still get a motivating and focused workout.
I always tell our clients that its okay to try a different trainer. Most of us don’t marry the first person we dated, so don’t expect the first trainer you try to be your perfect match. If you need a little help with picking the right person try contacting the personal training manager. They can also help make the transition from one trainer to another a little less awkward. After all, every trainers’ ultimate goal is for each client to achieve his or her fitness goal.
A personal trainer is an essential part of a FIT lifestyle. Whether you’re new to exercise, have been out of the loop for a while, or you just aren’t getting the results that you crave, adding a trainer to your routine will get you back on track. Now finding a trainer should be a no-brainer!
Jessica Dart Personal Training Manager Equinox Fitness Clubs, NYC Jessica.Dart@Equinox.com
Photo Credit: istockphoto.com
NOTICE: None of the celebrities or individuals discussed here have ever received treatment, surgery, medical advice, or evaluations from any author, physician, surgeon, or representative of this blog. All images and photos in this article represent models only. No actual patients or clients are shown.