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Monday, May 30, 2011

Finding the Right Trainer

When you make a commitment to get in shape, a personal trainer is a great asset. Depending on where you live and the type of facility you are going to workout in, a personal trainer can cost between $40 and $100 an hour. Regardless of your price point, you need to look at this as an investment. And just like investments, you need to do your research.  Here are 5 things to consider when selecting a personal trainer.

First, and most importantly, your trainer should have a degree in exercise science, physical fitness or similar speciality, or hold a certification from a recognized leader in exercise training like ACSM, NSCA, NASM, or ACE, to name a few. All of these organizations can be found on the web. You can research what it takes for someone to become certified through their organization and what it takes to keep certified. It's worth the check. After all, you're trusting this person with you're greatest possession - your body. They need to know what they're talking about.

Second, verify that the trainer you choose is insured. All trainers should be insured either on their own or through their gym.

Third, the trainer should ask you for your goals. Some trainers get into personal training for their own ego or agenda. They love the gym and have found the best way to work themselves out. Why not help other people, right? Wrong. Your trainer needs to help you meet your goals in the way that is best suited to your ability, lifestyle and budget.

Fourth, your trainer should offer a baseline assessment of your fitness. These baseline assessments measure a few fitness components like heart rate, sit-ups, strength and flexibility, but these vary. A baseline helps to determine what exercise are appropriate and at which effort level you should train. Importantly, they also give you a way to measure improvement. Your initial assessment should also include a health screening, like a PAR-Q, and a medical history. This gives your trainer vital information for proper design of your program. Steer clear of a trainer who does not request this information.

Lastly, but certainly not least, personality! You and your trainer are a team. It's important that you are comfortable with each other, that you can talk openly with them about your goals and feelings, and cofess those diet oops-ies, all without concern for judgement. Your trainer needs to be smart, focused, and dedicated to your fitness. But they also have to be some one who motivates and inspires you to reach your goals and someone you want to be around.

So take time selecting your trainer. Ask questions. Do your research. Get recommendations. And get fit!

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