How to Choose The Right Personal Trainer

A Little Perspective

I was a Personal Trainer for over 5 Years and worked for corporate gyms such as In-Shape Gyms and Renaissance Club Sports.  From a personal trainers perspective, having the clients that fit trainers expertise is very important for a clients success.  So keep in mind that it’s a two way street, where clients listen to trainers and hopefully do the homework that trainers may ask of them, in order to get results they desire.

Please enjoy the article below by Elizabeth Renter.

7 Steps for Choosing and Keeping the Right Personal Trainer
About 8 million people use personal trainers in the U.S. Finding the right fit can make the relationship last.
Determining your needs and fitness goals is the first step in picking the best trainer for you.

By Elizabeth Renter April 9, 2015

You feel like an octopus on roller skates in the gym, and you’re certain everyone’s looking at you. Or maybe you know what you’re doing but struggle with the follow-through – setting fitness goals with vigor, but never achieving them. When you need help, deciding to hire a personal trainer is only the first step. Actually choosing one and making the relationship work is the hard part.

Approximately 8 million people use personal trainers in the United States, according to the International Health, Racquet and Sportsclub Association. But while these millions have gone before you in choosing a trainer, there isn’t a single accepted tool or source to amass and evaluate your many options. Instead, the footwork of finding the right trainer is entirely up to you.

Get Focused on Your Goals

What do you want to get out of your training: weight loss, muscle mass, a marathon medal?
personal training“It’s essential you match your goals and needs with a trainer that specializes in that area,” says Rocky Snyder, a personal trainer and gym owner in Santa Cruz, California. “Most trainers have niches they work within, so it doesn’t make sense to hire a trainer that works with bodybuilders to get you ready for your first triathlon.”

Make a Short List

This is easier if you live in a big city with gyms and trainers at every corner, but use the Internet, friends and family and your local gym to find a few personal trainers in your area. While making your list of potentials, keep your fitness goals in mind.

images of PF

Check Credentials

If you want to make sure your trainer’s knowledge is vast and up-to-date, look for certifications. There are many certifying agencies, all with different requirements. Both Snyder and Christine Kwok, trainer and owner of Balanced Strength in Los Angeles, suggest you look for those that are nationally accredited. There are several of these agencies, including the National Strength & Conditioning Association, National Academy of Sports Medicine, International Sports Science Association and the American College of Sports Medicine, to name a few.

“These nationally recognized certifications generally must meet a minimum standard of education for their particular certification – like strength and conditioning, group fitness, corrective exercise or the like,” Kwok says. “Also, these credentialed trainers will need to attend further education workshops and lectures to earn continuing education credits throughout the years.”

You can also look for trainers who have college degrees in related fields (think exercise physiology and physical education). Though they aren’t necessarily required to have additional certifications, many do.

These credentials may do more for a trainer than years of experience. A study published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research found that among 115 trainers, those who had both a bachelor’s degree and certification from either the ACSM or the NSCA had greater knowledge on exercise topics than those with other certifications or no certifications but several years of experience under their belts.

Young man and personal trainer working out in gym.

Check Prices and Know Your Budget

Prices for personal trainers vary depending on everything from your geographic location to where you plan on training (your gym versus your home) and, of course, the experience and level of expertise of your trainer. Kwok says you don’t necessarily get what you pay for, however.

“Some trainers’ rates are not dictated by their experience and education,” she says. “Independent trainers may name their hourly rate based on the going rate of the local area to stay competitive, and some may quote a rate that they feel is an appropriate hourly rate based on the salary they want to learn. And then, of course, there are trainers who may charge an exorbitant rate just because they can.”

If your budget is tight, you stand to save if you’re willing to:

  • Train in a gym rather than your home.
  • Use group or couple’s sessions rather than one-on-one training.
  • Purchase a package of sessions.
  • Use a commercial gym’s on-staff trainer rather than an independently employed one.

“Training is very much like any other practice,” Snyder says. “You can have many brilliant individuals who are worth their weight in gold, but there are a number of ‘quacks’ who you wouldn’t trust to care for your pet hamster, so the buyer should be choosy.”