So you’re thinking about hiring a personal trainer. Great! That is an awesome step toward reaching your goals and the right person will be able to bring out the best in you and teach you the best way to stay safe and get fit. That being said, training is expensive and not a very well regulated industry–just about any meathead can call himself a personal trainer and start charging $100/hour for workouts. Here is what you need to ask to make sure the trainer you hire knows their stuff and is able to help you reach your goals.
What certifications do you have?
This is a big one and many people don’t realize how important it is to ask. As I mentioned, there is no regulation in the US on calling yourself a “personal trainer”. Plenty of people out there are claiming to be one when they are in no way qualified. You want someone who is up to date on their certification so you know they have been completing continuing education and are up to date on their CPR/First Aid/AED/all that other fun stuff that you don’t want to be worried about when someone is telling you what exercises will work best for your body. Here are the top few certifications that you can be assured mean your trainer has worked hard to earn their title:
- NASM (National Academy of Sports Medicine)–this is who I am certified with!
- ACSM (American College of Sports Medicine)
- ACE (American Council on Exercise)
- ISSA (International Sports Sciences Association)
- NSCA (National Strength and Conditioning Association)
If I come in with a knee (or shoulder or back, etc) injury, what modifications can you give me?
This is another huge one. If you walk in to a session with knee pain and your trainer insists on sticking to their plan of squat jump, you know that they either don’t have your best interest in mind or aren’t equipped to adjust to your needs. Further, if you are doing an exercise in a session and it feels too hard or too easy, any good trainer will be able to tell you how to make it easier or harder. Personal training is about YOU. You are there to get the results that you want and any trainer that can’t or wont adjust their goals for your needs is one that you should run as far away from as possible.
What is your training style?
Every trainer and every client is different. Some people love having a drill sergeant yell at them for an hour and find that to be highly motivating. Other people want a trainer who is more conversational. Still others want the silent type who will correct them when needed, but otherwise stay out of the way. All trainers and clients are different and there is no right or wrong style of training–what matters is whether it jives with your personality. If a potential client and I see that our personalities wont quite fit, I am always happy to refer them to another trainer who can better fit their needs and any trainer worth their salt will do the same. We are all used to this and it wont insult a qualified trainer if you don’t think your personalities will work well together so don’t be afraid to speak up!
Personal training is exactly that–it’s PERSONAL. The decision to hire a trainer is a big one that is often wrapped up in our own insecurities. Asking these questions at your consultation should help put your mind at ease and help you know that you are making the right choice when you hire your trainer. Do you have any other questions you would add to the list? Is there anything here you would like to know more about? Leave a comment or reach out via the contact page and let’s start the conversation!