What You Need to Know Before Hiring a Personal Trainer

As smart phones become more popular, so are apps promising to help you get into shape. These apps might make you think there’s no reason to spend money on a personal trainer. But some experts say relying on so-called “virtual trainers” might not be the best idea.

“Every person has a different body and learning curve, for this reason I think it is crucial to workout with a trainer,” said celebrity trainer Joel Harper. “The modifications and the tweaking that is done by a personal trainer, so that you exercise properly, is key.”

Experts say this is something lacking when you are using a workout video, website or phone app. You can follow along, but it takes someone actually watching you, ensuring you are doing the exercises properly. If not, you run the risk of injury or not getting the results you are expecting.

Your first step in hiring a personal trainer is finding one. If you are a member of a gym, that’s a great place to find a personal trainer. This gives you the opportunity to observe the trainer and see how they work with their clients. The gym can also provide you information on the trainer, including their certifications, specialties and testimonials.

If you’re not a member of a gym, you can also find personal trainers by doing a search online. The American Council on Exercise website is a fast way to find ACE certified trainers in your area. Go to www.acefitness.org and enter your zip code. Another website to use is www.personaltrainercentral.com.

Certification is one of the most important things to look for in a personal trainer. Legally, anyone can say they’re a personal trainer whether they’re certified by an accredited organization or not. So do your research and make sure they have the proper qualifications and education first.

There are several places a trainer can get certification from including: National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM), The American Counsel on Exercise (ACE), International Sport Sciences Association (ISSA), and American College of Sports Medicine (ASCM).

After you know they are properly certified, the next important step is to find out if the two of you are compatible.

“If they don’t have a personality that you are attracted to, you are not going to enjoy setting up appointments with them and in turn you are not going to get your goals accomplished,” says Harper.

Ask is if they offer free consultations because this is a great way to see how well the two of you interact together before you commit.

An important quality to look for in a trainer is professionalism. Julie Eckstein, an Air Traffic Controller from Chicago, Ill., committed to a trainer before she realized he lacked this quality. “He would show up late, text on his phone during our session and not pay attention to what I was doing. He wasn’t encouraging at all,” she said. “Even though I had already prepaid for all my sessions, I stopped going.”

This is something you can hopefully avoid by discussing your goals and expectations. Seeing how they listen to you and react is a good indication on how they will be during your sessions. If they are certified, encouraging, and you feel comfortable with them, you’ve just found your personal trainer. Now let the training begin!

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