So, you’ve finally made the smart choice to get fit? Congratulations! It’s a courageous step and you should be proud of yourself. The next step is to actually walk into a fitness center or gymnasium – or you could decide to opt for a personal trainer.
If you’re really keen on stepping up your fitness game, a personal trainer is the right person to help you achieve this. However, choosing the right person can be a bit overwhelming, especially if it’s your first time doing so.
To help in your search for the right personal trainer, I’ve put together the following 10 rules:
- Ask for qualifications
This is a no-brainer. You have to be certain the trainer you have in mind is qualified to handle the task at hand. A trainer should be able to show you proof that they are certified in a specific area of expertise. They must have passed the relevant exams, completed personal training courses and achieved some form of accreditation before you can put your health and life in their hands. This way, you know that they’ve met a certain standard of proficiency and professionalism from a reputable training institute. You can check the NRPT listing for qualified trainers in your area.
- Ask for experience
While it’s not impossible to come across a newly qualified trainer who can deliver the goods, it is better to look for someone who has been around the block a bit. Therefore, make sure you choose a personal trainer who has a bit of experience under their belt. This way, you can be sure that the person has likely perfected the techniques for providing the best workout regime. Unless you’re willing to play the role of a test subject, ensure that you choose a personal trainer who has the relevant professional experience.
- Know their schedule
Everyone knows that consistency is key when it comes to a successful fitness programme. With this in mind, it’s vital that you look for a trainer who has sufficient time for you. Of course, we know that personal trainers are in very high demand, but that doesn’t change the fact that you need someone who can be available for you. Before committing to a personal trainer, try to find out their schedule. Are they booked solid? Would you need to book in advance for an appointment? How can you make up for missed days? The answers to these questions will give you an insight into their schedule, so you don’t pay for a class you will not benefit from.
- Make sure you like them
While you cannot know everything about a person you are just meeting, the way they talk and act will provide an insight into their personality. Before signing up, meet the personal trainer one on one, and visit the facility where they’re based. You’re going to be spending lots of time with this person and your sessions will be fruitless if you don’t like them. Hiring a personal trainer is almost like getting a nanny or babysitter; make sure the chemistry is right.
- Ask for proof
A good personal trainer should have proof of success. Before making any commitment, ask the personal trainer to show you some proof of the transformation they were able to achieve with past clients. These may come in forms of pictures, videos or one on one meetings. Look for at least a dozen clear transformations from a variety of clients before thinking about making a decision. Don’t forget to look for evidence of cases that are similar to yours. This tells you that you can get the same results as that person in the picture or video.
- Ask for recommendations
Of course, you can walk into any old gym and hire a trainer ‘off the mat’ or you can look for any one of the many that populate the internet. While this could cost you relatively less, you might not get the results you desire. A more efficient way is to ask for recommendations from family members, friends and colleagues who have used a personal trainer in the past. Asking for recommendations takes away the risk of the unknown. The people you are asking have worked with these trainers and likely trust their skills and professionalism.
- Know their specialty
Unless you have no specific goal in mind and just want to know how long you can spend on a treadmill before giving up, it’s important you look for a personal trainer who is an expert in a specific area. Most personal trainers have general knowledge about every aspect of fitness and weight loss, but you need someone with experience and expertise in your desired area. For instance, if you are looking at breaking a new 5k PR record, then you need someone with expertise in running and not bench presses.
- Plan your budget
Just like experience, personality and specialty, the cost can differ between personal trainers. Some charge based on your unique situation, while others have a fixed hourly rate. Cost can be a huge deciding factor in your personal trainer choice. A good idea is to first sit down and plan your budget. How much are you willing to ‘max out’ for fitness training? This figure will help you decide between different prospects. Some personal trainers actually offer discounts, but if you’re on a budget, it’s advisable to start in a gym and plan for a personal trainer as your finances improve.
- Be open
Many people have a history of one form of illness or another. Such an illness or injury might affect the success of your fitness programme and may even cause further health complications. It is therefore important to open up to your fitness trainer. Injury or illness is not something to be ashamed of; instead, it will help them prepare a programme that best suits you. Let your trainer know everything about your physical and mental health, so they can know how to plan in case you need special attention.
- Take your time and shop around
Even though you may have your timeline all drawn up, it’s important that you take your time when looking for a personal trainer. Don’t be in a hurry and don’t rush. Take your time to shop around. Not only can you get a better qualified and well suited personal trainer, you may also come across someone more affordable.
It is always advisable that you first consult your doctor before starting a fitness programme. You need to be in the right state of health and mind for your fitness programme to succeed. If you’re not healthy enough, you open yourself up to potential health complications.