Choosing the Right Personal Trainer for Your Fitness Goals

A personal trainer is an investment in your health. We have a list of questions to help you assess a trainer with the qualifications to safely work with you to achieve your fitness objectives.

 

The holidays are upon us, and after a Thanksgiving weekend filled with the temptations of stuffing, gravy, and pumpkin pie, you have come face to face with the obvious truth told by your slightly too-tight jeans: your fitness goals are going to require more than your own willpower and self-motivation. Going it alone isn’t working. You need help; you need a personal trainer.

We think a qualified personal trainer is a great idea. These professionals can assess your individual level of fitness and create a fitness program based on your objectives. Because the level of training and professionalism can vary widely from trainer to trainer, there are a few questions you can ask to assess your options, and hone in on a trainer with the education, experience, and personality to guide you successfully to your goals.

Does your trainer have an academic degree?

Not everyone understands the distinction between a trainer and an academic degree in athletic training. Athletic trainers are sports medicine professionals with a depth of experience in orthopedics and sports medicine via an accredited degree in exercise science, kinesiology, exercise physiology, physical education, or sport management from a reputable college or university. Graduates are dedicated to the science of their field, completing between 2,000 and 3,000 hours of in-class instruction, research, and laboratory work.

Is your trainer certified and licensed?

Once they’ve completed a 4-year undergraduate program and the requisite number of clinicals, athletic trainers are eligible to sit for a certification exam. Upon certification, they apply for state licensure or registration, based on the state governing board. Certification and licensing insure that your trainer has demonstrated clinical ability and comprehensive scientific knowledge.

Does your trainer abide by the professional code of ethics of his or her certifying organization?

Reputable trainers take the time to sit down with you to explore your health history, physical activity readiness, and fitness goals. They stay abreast of developments in exercise science through continuing education courses. Be wary of trainers who are hesitant to provide their credentials, lack liability insurance and/or current CPR certification, or want to sell you dietary supplements as part of your fitness program.

When you take the time to identify a professionally credentialed athletic trainer with whom you feel comfortable and confident, the benefits are invaluable. You will have a fitness partner with the science-based skills that make the difference between good intentions and good health.

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