Getting Personal

How to choose a trainer that’s right for you

By Micaela Whitworth

Hiring a qualified personal trainer is a valuable investment toward reaching fitness goals. But what credentials should you look for? How much should a session cost? Is a trainer versed in a specialty area like geriatrics or pre-natal, for example? With so many questions, it can be difficult to find the right match. Here’s what to look for before making an investment both in time and money.

Degrees, Certificates, Experience
Good indicators of a qualified trainer will include the combination of a university degree, additional speciality certifications, and more than two years’ experience. Although a university degree is not required to become a personal trainer, degrees in kinesiology, exercise science or athletic therapy provide a high level of knowledge in human kinetics. Most gyms require trainers hold an up-to-date personal training certification from a nationally accredited certifying body. A valid CPR and first-aid certificate is often a prerequisite as well. Generally, fitness clubs require a trainer have two or more years of experience. The combination of education and years of experience is what normally determines the cost of their services. The ranking or “levels” of a trainer runs between a 1 and a 5, and prices usually range from $50 to $100 per session.

Speciality Training
Trainers might have a combination of additional education and experience in athletic conditioning, youth training, weight-loss, post rehabilitation, geriatrics, and pre- and post-natal. If you’re looking for help in one of these areas, make sure your trainer has taken additional course work on the subject matter since not every trainer is qualified to fit your needs.

Personality Match
A trainer is someone you’ll end up spending a lot of time with so it makes sense to make sure you find someone whose personality helps motivate you. If the first meeting feels more like a bad first date, keep shopping around. Make sure you find the right match, and don’t be afraid to “break up” if it’s not working out.

Questions & More Questions
Ask lots of questions during your first meeting. And ask to speak with references and to see copies of certifications and liability insurance. Remember, you are putting a lot of trust (and money) into this person and you want to ensure they’re truly qualified to help you meet your goals.

Do Research
Do an internet search on trainers in your area. Maybe you’ll spot someone you feel you can relate to. Client testimonials, blogs, and YouTube videos are all good resources to gauge a trainer before meeting them.

Refer to Referrals
Word of mouth is often the best way to find a reputable trainer, so be sure to ask around to see if anyone you know is training with someone they would swear by.

Micaela Whitworth is a personal trainer and certified medical exercise specialist. Catch Micaela extol the virtues of physical fitness on Montreal’s Global TV news affiliate.

Spring 2014, Vol 6 N°2

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