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How to Choose a Personal Trainer

By Chad Tackett

Having your very own personal trainer has several great advantages: Trainers provide motivation, professional expertise, and personalized attention--all key components of reaching your personal health and fitness goals. All the personal trainers in the Global Health and Fitness (GHF) directory are certified by an accredited professional organization (ACSM, ACE, etc.). However, personal trainers vary greatly, not only in educational background and costs, but also in personal philosophy, training and consulting practices.

Before simply hiring the first personal trainer listed in our directory, click on the listing of each personal trainer in your hometown. This will take you to their web page where you can learn more about their personal philosophy, education/credentials, experience, and rates. This way you'll know if the personal trainer is qualified and likely to meet your personal needs before you spend your hard earned money. Once you've narrowed down the list, you should talk with the trainer, make sure your goals and objectives are very clear, and see if the trainer is best-suited to help you. Call or meet with the trainer and ask the following questions:

1. Why did you become a personal trainer?
Personal trainers should not only have a passion for good health and fitness, they should also love to share their expertise and help others reach their personal goals.

2. Do you keep current with research?
The answer must be yes! Personal trainers need to continually update their knowledge through seminars, workshops, books, etc., in order to provide you with safe and effective information.

3. Can you supply client references?
Good trainers have satisfied customers and won't hesitate to put you in touch. Give two or three of the clients a call, asking about the trainer's strengths and weaknesses, and if they were professional, informative, and dependable. Also ask them if the trainer explained the reasoning behind their recommendations and program decisions.

4. Do you have liability insurance?
Personal trainers should protect their clients by insuring themselves and their services against personal injury and property loss.

5. Are you certified in CPR and first aid?
The trainer must know the proper procedures to follow in emergency situations.

6. Are you available on the days and times I've selected?
The whole point of having a personal trainer is to get the personal instruction and motivation you need, at times that are convenient for you.

7. What are your fees?
The answer to this question varies greatly. Personal training can cost as little as $20, or as much as $200 per hour. The personal trainer should not only be qualified, he/she should also fit comfortably within your budget. Be sure to ask if there are any additional fees and if the rate includes the use of a local health club.

8. What are your training/business policies?
It's a good idea to find out up-front their policy on extra fees, contracts, cancellations, and billing procedures.


- After speaking with the personal trainer, ask yourself the following questions:

1. Did the trainer ask me questions about myself and my lifestyle?

2. Does the trainer promote an integrated program that includes all five components of optimal health (strength training, weight management, cardiovascular exercise, nutrition, and flexibility training)?

3. Did the trainer have good listening skills and communicate well?

4. Am I comfortable with the trainer's gender?

5. Will I get along with this trainer and look forward to working with him/her?

I really hope this helps you choose the fitness professional that can best meet your needs and that you have the opportunity to enjoy all the many wonderful benefits of a healthy, active lifestyle!



- Bio: Chad Tackett has degrees in Exercise and Heath Science and Nutrition, is a Certified Personal Trainer, and is a regular guest lecturer to both professional and lay audiences on the principles of effective exercise and good nutrition.




last update: February 2009



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