To Your Health
August, 2008 (Vol. 02, Issue 08)
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Is it Time for a Personal Trainer?

By Chelsea Cooper

Once you've made the decision to get in shape, it's important to take the next step and develop an appropriate fitness plan while you are committed and motivated.  And once you begin your new lifestyle focused on fitness, you'll likely need someone to help you stay motivated and keep you on track.

A personal trainer is your next step - but how do you even start the process of finding one?

There are some basic questions you need to ask, things to consider and research to be done when you begin your quest for a competent trainer. First, I will address those people who already have a gym membership and are looking for a personal trainer/fitness coach. Then, I will give some tips to those who don't have a gym membership and are looking for a trainer/fitness coach.

If You Are a Gym Member

  • Qualifications: Find out what the trainer's qualifications are, what certifications they have and inquire about their background.
  • Experience: How long have they been training and at which facilities?
  • Supervisor: Talk to the fitness manager or supervisor of the training staff about the trainer.
  • Workout: If you can, speak with the trainer. Many times, the trainer will give you a complimentary workout so you can get to know their style and expectations. Do they seem like a drill sergeant who will whip you into shape, or an encourager who can gently lead you where you want to go?
  • Observe: Most of all, watch how the trainer interacts with their clients. Are they attentive, helpful, etc.?

If You're Not a Gym Member

image - Copyright – Stock Photo / Register Mark Finding a trainer if you don't have a gym membership can be a little more difficult. You will have to do a little more legwork than the person already committed to a gym. There are plenty of advertisements in the local papers and around town, but your best resources probably are your friends and family. Ask around and find out if anyone you know currently is training or has trained with a quality trainer. If they know someone, get as much information as you can about the trainer before speaking with them.

You still want to know how long they have been training, their background and their certifications/schooling. Ask if they give free sessions so you can try them out. You might see if they have a portfolio of past clients' weight loss or gain depending on individual client goals. Ask if you can come in and watch them work with their clients, just to see what type of workouts they do. There also are small gyms and studios that are strictly personal-training gyms. You can definitely call or walk in and get some information that way as well.