You’ve hit a slump at the gym. Or you’re struggling to focus your efforts on training for that marathon. You may even currently have problems getting into a routine to help with your weight loss or body toning goals. If you’re new to exercise, you may think it wise to hire someone to help.
Getting a personal trainer is something many people do. There are benefits to hiring one for your fitness needs. Personal trainers do more than motivate you. They can help design a workout with your goals in mind and offer tips on how to perform workouts more safely and effectively.
It’s the safety aspect that means you need to think carefully about any personal trainer you hire. Make sure you have one knowledge and experienced in helping you reach your goals. Getting the wrong trainer is more than not getting the motivation. You end up missing out on exercises that are good for your goals; that will set you on the right path for your overall health. Bad trainers can suggest exercises that are bad for your health condition or may not listen to your likes and dislikes or even your end goals.
Here are seven things you must consider before hiring a personal trainer.
Check References and Qualifications
The first thing you need to do is look at references and qualifications. If you join a large gym and get a personal trainer through them, you’ll find that the company will do most of the work for you. However, it’s still worth checking the references. Do you want to make sure you get the best personal trainer at the gym, right?
When it comes to choosing one outside of the gym, you want to start looking at both references and qualifications.
References are essential. Good personal trainers will ask their current clients to do testimonials. Or they may have a business page for people to leave reviews. Investigate the full details and not just the before and after pictures from supposed clients. After all, there are many ways to fabricate the before and after results, with personal trainers showing how others before them have managed it.
What you really want to do is learn more about the personal trainer. How does this individual live their life? What do they do day to day? Most will live the life they promote to their clients, knowing that it’s the best one.
When it comes to reading reviews, look at more than just the before and after shots. This isn’t about helping clients lose weight but being there for every training session. You need to find a personal trainer who is dependable and honest; someone who wants their clients to improve and not just reach one goal.
As for qualifications, you want to make sure they have an accredited one. Look out for NCCA-approved certifications. These take time to gain but also require extra work afterward to keep the certifications. Those who are willing to make the most of their certification will put the money into the approved and accredited ones.
Some may opt for the university or college degree instead of the certification. Look out for those who have done degrees in sports science, exercise science, kinesiology and other similar courses. These are ones that offer theoretical knowledge and that offers the base for the technical knowledge.
Find out if a personal trainer with a college degree plans to get their certification. Some will be working towards it at the time, needing the experience to complete. They’ll likely offer a discount until they become certified.
Find Out How Long the Personal Trainer Has Been There
Personal trainers don’t stick around in big gyms for too long unless there are a lot of perks and they’re very good at their jobs. Unfortunately, there is a high turnover rate. So, you can’t just base your decision on one session at the gym.
Before you sign up for your gym’s personal training sessions, find out more about the turnover rate. Spend a few weeks or months getting used to the gym and keep a look out for the people joining and leaving. Follow and track the staff members, so you can see who is there the longest. If you’re at a gym with a high turnover rate, you’ll find you constantly need to start from the beginning with a new trainer. That’s not going to do your workout any good.
When you watch, you can also see how the trainers work with clients. Look at their personality and the way they motivate. How are trainers with those who are struggling for motivation? What do they do when their clients find the workouts too challenging? How do they help different body sizes and goals? Watching them in their element will give you an idea of whether the personality fits yours.
If you’re not going to your own gym, you may find it a little harder to watch. In this instance, you’ll need to talk to friends and colleagues. A lot of personal trainers will spread the word of their offerings by mouth.
Consider One Further Away
A great trainer isn’t necessarily going to live close to you. Sometimes, you’ll need to consider whether you should travel further for one that comes highly recommended.
When you start with a new trainer, you’ll likely spend 2-3 sessions a week to get to know them. This can happen for a few months, just to create a baseline and figure out the best plan for you. A trainer will want to help get you into good habits and will need to see how you’re progressing to make sure a plan is right for you.
After that, you can drop to maybe once a week or once a month. These later sessions are more to continue good form and adopt a new plan as you outgrow your old one.
While traveling further out may be a hassle at first, it will become easier in the long-term. And you want to think long-term when it comes to personal trainers. Find one you’ll be happy with monthly for the next year.
Watch Out for Supplement Sales
Most personal trainers won’t attempt to sell you supplements. Well, some may suggest protein powders, but they’re not going to attempt to push bars, shakes, and pills when you don’t need them. A company or trainer that instantly attempts to push a supplement should be considered with suspicion.
Some personal trainers are reps for other companies. They make a commission based on the products they sell, making them reps for that company. You’ll notice that everything they suggest is overpriced and of the same brand. And the trainer will never suggest something else.
Those that suggest a supplement based on your goals will remain a little broader. You may find they suggest against a one, but then make a wider suggestion when it comes to costs and types. This is someone who doesn’t have a financial agenda but wants to make sure you’re putting your body first.
Those that aren’t out there to make money from supplements will also spend time getting to know you first. They’ll want to know more about the diet you have and suggest ways to improve that. Many of the remedies they’ll offer will be completely natural to make sure you get the nutrients in the best way. You’ll find that they spend more time talking food and nutrients than they do supplements to top up.
When good trainers do make supplement suggestions, they will be honest and thorough. This won’t be just about what the supplement can do, but about what it can do specifically for you. A good trainer will be able to tell you how you will improve and work towards your specific goals.
Discuss Medical Needs
There are all types of reasons people will hire a personal trainer. Managing your medical needs or working towards specific goals is one of them. Before you hire a personal trainer, you need to make sure they’re able to help you. One of the first things you need to do is talk about your special needs.
If you have chronic pain, make sure this is mentioned. A good trainer will have experience in handling medical conditions. They’ll know how to adapt their suggestions and their exercises to suit your needs. Trainers should also be able to work with doctors to make sure your health is always put first. Some will work specifically with physiotherapists and osteotherapists to make sure the most current medical advice is followed.
You’ll also want to discuss pregnancy, whether you are pregnant or you’re trying to conceive. Make sure a trainer can put your baby first, suggesting the best activities to support the core but not put pressure on the bump. One of the things a trainer should point out is that all pregnancy exercises are kept off the back. If the trainer gives you these exercises when you’re pregnant, this is a sign that they don’t know what they’re doing.
Talk About Your Goals
Personal trainers will want to work with you, so you can reach your goals. This isn’t about what the personal trainer wants to achieve, but about what you want to gain from your workout sessions. There are no right and wrong answers when it comes to the workout goals.
Some people want to lose weight. Trainers will share the best, up to date advice on strength training, cardio workouts and HIIT classes. If you want to tone up, a good personal trainer will listen to that and create a program that is more weight or bodyweight based. When you want to improve flexibility or focus on a specific part of your health, the trainer will have certain types of exercises for that.
What you’ll find is your program is completely tailored to you. If you talk to another client, you should find that you have different workouts. If clients who leave reviews share their workouts and they look similar, there are high chances that the personal trainer doesn’t really know how to manage different goals.
You should be able to see this by observing a personal trainer too. Therefore, you want to watch the personal trainers at the gym to see the types of exercises they encourage each of their clients to do.
Sometimes you may not have a specific goal in mind. Good personal trainers will spend some time in the initial appointment to chat about what you want to achieve. While they’ll have their own ideas, they’ll want to hear from you. They need to know about your lifestyle, the reasons for looking for a personal trainer now and the type of experience you have with exercise. This then helps them determine what type of overall goals you must break down into smaller goals.
Yet a personal trainer shouldn’t be focused on one specific goal. Your health and fitness levels are fluid. Good personal trainers will understand that a goal now may not be a goal next year. Communication will remain open to make sure you’re always following the best program for your needs.
Don’t Just Work on Looks Alone
All personal trainers are built differently. Just like you, a personal trainer will have had their own goals to work towards. Some will have wanted to remain slim and tone, while others will have wanted to bulk up. It’s important not to judge based on what you see and instead look deeper into the lifestyle.
Find out more about the personal trainer. How long have they been working out and what were their goals when they started? What did they do to reach their goals and what are their goals now? Why did they choose the goals they did? The answers to these questions will give you a chance to understand knowledge and experience.
Just because a personal trainer doesn’t have the same exact goals as you don’t mean they can’t help you. It’s mostly based on skill and personality, rather than personal experience in training.
You also can’t base a decision on shape. Just because a trainer looks in good shape doesn’t mean they are on the inside. They may not have the skills to help you reach your goals. Those who are slightly larger may not have the look, but they have the knowledge.
It’s going to be hard to get away from the initial judging factor and that’s okay! That’s completely understandable. However, you need to listen to the information the trainer shares to make sure they’re skilled to help.
It’s Not All About Price
Now you have a guide, you can start looking for a personal trainer. It’s not going to be all about the price. Choosing a personal trainer involves learning more about who they are and what they offer. Spend time watching and observing. If you like the personality while they help others, there’s a chance you’ll like their personality when helping you.
Of course, the price will come into it. You can find one within your budget, but you may need to make the sacrifice of location.