When you consider hiring a personal trainer to help you with your fitness or sports goals, there are several things to consider. There are literally hundreds of fitness certifications out there. Someone could buy a personal trainer certification online and become a “certified” personal trainer after paying a nominal fee and passing a test. There are weekend certifications that after two days of seminars; you take a test to determine if you are eligible for certification. Then there are other certifications that require college degrees and months of study before taking certification tests. So, what do you ask and look for when considering a personal trainer?
What kind of education does the trainer have? There are only two fitness-related certification bodies that are recognized by the NCCA (National Commission on Certifying Agencies). One is the NSCA (National Strength & Conditioning Association), which offers certifications for conditioning coaches and personal trainers. The other recognized certification body is ACE (American Council on Exercise). Also consider the American College of Sports Medicine and the National Academy of Sports Medicine. How many years has the trainer been working in the fitness field? Sometimes having those extra years gives the trainer the advantage of having worked with other individuals with similar challenges to you.
What are the trainer’s specialties? If you are looking for a trainer to help you with endurance events, you don’t want one who is into body building.
What kind of continuing education has the trainer pursued recently? Knowing that a trainer is continually trying to better his or her knowledge means that they are looking to give you the best possible services to meet your needs.
Is the trainer willing to work with you during the times you need them? If you are a person who likes to work out first thing in the morning, will your trainer be ready to be there at 5 am to push you through the paces? If a trainer is honest, they will refer you to another trainer if they can’t handle a certain time of day.
Is the trainer going to provide you with nutrition and stress management plans if they are needed to help you achieve success? If the trainer does not have this expertise, do they have professionals that they can refer you to for assistance?
What kind of personality does the trainer have? Can you handle that kind of personality? When interviewing the trainer, do they listen actively then give you a course of action that might work for you?
If you are an athlete, does the trainer understand your sport and the demands that are placed on your body, and can they develop a yearlong program that helps you to peak at the right time?
Hiring a personal trainer is a highly personal decision. As a personal trainer I know that sometimes personalities clash or I just can’t give a client what they need to succeed. Referring them elsewhere or understanding their need to look elsewhere is something that I don’t take personally. It's part of being in the service business.