So you’ve decided that you’re going to fight the fall and winter “heavy holidays” in advance with a few new fitness DVDs and a personal trainer. Shopping for the videos may be the easy part, but shopping for a trainer may leave you making a list and checking it twice.
As a personal trainer, I know that trainers’ styles and training regiments vary. And, it’s crucial to find one who is qualified and meshes with your personality.
Here are some tips to find the perfect personal trainer:
- Ask for proof of their certification and how long they have been. Most common certification bodies accepted by gyms are AFAA, ACE and NASM. The trainer should have a current certification (that requires extra classes, educational training and credits each year) and a current CPR certification. Also, besides toning and cardio, you may want a trainer who can also do boxing and yoga with you. Not all are qualified to do so.
- Decide if you want to go with a trainer at your gym, or if you’ll try an independent trainer. Just because a trainer works at a gym doesn’t mean they’re better. Often, the best trainers go outside the gym so they can keep more of the profit and have a bigger following.
- Once you find a qualified candidate, ask for free first-trial session. Many gyms and independent trainers offer a free-trial session. Independent trainers can charge less if they don’t need to pay a gym and can train you at your home or outside. At a gym you need to pay for the membership and the trainer, but research which option is better for you.
- Ask your friends or family members about their personal trainers. Inquire about the trainer’s techniques, training regiment and price.
- Observe the trainers at your gym with their clients. Do they do the types of exercises you’d like to do? For example, do you crave creative moves or need to start with machines? If haven’t worked out in years, or have any sort of medical issues, you should start with machines that isolate. After a few weeks you can do upper body, then lower, then abs/back one part at a time. As you get stronger, cardio intervals and multitasking toning moves can be added. I focus on these types of workouts in my fitness DVDs, and you can see demos of these moves on my website.
- Talk with the trainer, the personal training manager, or a sales person at the gym about your physical goals, limitations, and current fitness level. Let them suggest the right trainer for your needs and budget, or let the trainer refer you to someone else if they’re not the perfect fit for your fitness or price range.
- Emotionally, do you need a quiet supporter, a cheerleader, or a drill sergeant to motivate you? Which one will you need to get you looking forward to session and push you the hardest, not make you want to give up.
- Has your trainer ever been interviewed in a fitness magazine? Written his/her own fitness-related articles? Does they have a blog where you can learn about their philosophy and style? Google them or check Yelp reviews to see if their clients are happy with them.
- Ask for referral phone numbers and e-mail addresses so you can talk to some of their other clients, especially for independent trainers.
- Know their cancellation policies. For example, do you pay up front, for how many sessions in advance, and will you lose your session if you have to cancel within 24 hours? Many times that is the policy so that they don’t save a slot for you and show up, only to lose the money when they could have been training another client or stayed in bed.
Print this list and use it interview trainers. Hopefully, it will help you find the person to challenge your muscles before the Halloween candy, Thanksgiving turkey and December treats try to challenge your willpower.
If all else fails, or you can’t afford a trainer, I will be your trainer through the New Year through my DVDs and weekly motivational newsletters, all for a quarter of the price of one session.