10 Questions You Should Ask Before Choosing a Personal Trainer
- How many clients have you worked with as a trainer?
There is a relationship between the time your trainer has spent helping clients, and what they've learned. Every client a trainer has worked with provides unique experience and individual exposure to empirical knowledge. There is no singular authority on training or nutrition. If there was, there wouldn't be so many books on the subject. So experience matters.
- What education, certifications or qualifications does the trainer have?
A background in fitness and nutrition is an important foundation to a trainer's ability to provide you with effective and safe means to accomplishing your goals. But don't get lured or wooed by a laundry list of certifications. A basic certification from NASM, ISSA or ACE, for example, is a good start. But what the trainer has accomplished and learned in the field will often far outweigh redundant certifications. One essential piece of education is a current CPR/first aid certification. This is commonly offered by the Red Cross or American Heart Association.
- What kind of clients has the trainer worked with in the past and what type of results were attained?
This is one of the most informational questions you can ask. The answers the trainer provides will enlighten you to the true breadth of the trainer's experience and knowledge. This will ensure you more security than a wall of certifications, or boasted guarantees. This is an excellent time to inquire about references.
- What are the trainer's rates, forms of payment, session lengths and cancellation policy?
These should be clear and straightforward. Ask for discounts based on the purchase of pre-paid blocks of training. Many trainers are sole proprietors and work from a mobile operation so don't assume they can take credit cards. There will be a wide wage of rates offered, with top trainers charging $300 an hour. Good trainers are like any professional and will charge rates comparable to other wellness experts. Your needs are unique and you should trust your judgment as to a potential trainer's worth.
- Does the trainer hold liability insurance?
Low cost insurance is available to trainers. Although the incidence of injury is low with an experienced trainer, accidents do happen.
- What is the trainer's exercise and wellness philosophy?
Seek out a trainer that embodies a lifestyle that matches their expressed philosophy and training guidelines. A model or bodybuilder image wasn't necessarily created in a safe or healthful manner.
- Does the trainer offer a free initial consultation including a health assessment prior to beginning a fitness program?
Like most professionals, trainers will often offer an initial consultation at no charge. Regardless of a fee, the initial sessions should contain a fitness assessment covering your health history, cardiovascular risk assessment and exercise history. These are essential to ensure the safe development of an exercise program. An experienced trainer will also provide an exercise assessment to seek out weaknesses and inequality in your body's alignment and performance.
- Why did the trainer embark in this profession?
While everyone has to provide for themselves and their family performing some kind of vocation, every trainer I've met that gained my respect entered the training profession to help others.
- How does the trainer seek out continuing education?
As mentioned above, if there was a singular answer to all our fitness and nutrition questions there wouldn't be so many different books on the subject. Modern wellness is an evolving science and while some older principles still hold true, so much new information is being offered on an almost daily basis. Ask what associations, newsletters and periodicals your prospective trainer reads and belongs to and whether they've continued to build their body of knowledge.
- Is the trainer adaptable and willing to create a program that is truly well suited for you?
Many fitness professionals bring an athlete's mentality to their approach to fitness. While this may be well suited for an athlete, it may be far from what the average individual needs. Often times it has taken many years or even a lifetime to wind up in need of professional fitness expertise. It will take time and patience to begin to reverse problems, so make sure you enlist the services of someone you can truly partner with.