ASK ALFONSO: PICKING THE PERFECT TRAINER
I’m thinking about taking on a personal trainer to help get into shape – but I’ll be honest I don’t really know where to begin when it comes to finding a good one!
I’ve been a member of my local gym for a few months now and while I’ve lost a little weight and feel a bit more toned I’ve realized I need one on one attention to really motivate me – and frankly push me… I have a habit of slacking off when I step foot in the gym and heading to the steam room instead!
My gym has a range of trainers of all shapes and sizes – but they all seem to use such different methods and I just don’t know what constitutes a ‘good’ or ‘bad’ trainer… I’ve heard a few horror stories and don’t want to make a mistake – so wondered what your advice would be…
What are your tips on finding a good trainer?
I want to thank you for writing in with this question as it is one I’ve wanted to discuss for quite some time. Finding a qualified trainer is a huge issue that plagues many people looking to get fit. Steve, I want you to find a great trainer, not a good one! It’s ironic to me how much time we spend as a nation searching for the right car, reading reviews and consumer reports, test driving a bunc h- all in the name of finding the car that “fits” you and meets your needs. But when it comes to finding a trainer, most people put no effort in at all! What you need to do is find a trainer whose experience and skill set matches what your personal fitness goals are.
Personal training is about forming relationships, and being able to read emotions and feelings. One of the things I take pride in is my ability to relate to anyone and carry on a conversation, no matter if you’re 7 or 70, I’ll find common ground and use it to establish a relationship. Learning exercises and progressions is easy, the ability to implement an exercise routine with an assortment of personalities and body types is the hard part.
I don’t put a lot of weight in certifications as I don’t believe it qualifies anyone to be a trainer, it means they read a book, or took a class, and passed the test. Although finding a trainer who has an industry recognized certification certainly demonstrates that they at least have interest in the industry. I cannot tell you how many people I have met that are certified trainers that do not exercise at all! I will say that the key certifications to look for in my opinion are ACSM, NASM, ISSA, ACE, AFAA, NCSF, and NFPT. Most of these agencies have trainer locator software on their websites to help you find one in your area. There are many others, but these are the “big” ones that have been around and are well known throughout the industry.
Bridging the gap between what trainers learn in class and what is practical knowledge is where experience comes in to play, not how long they have been, but what they have done as a trainer. You should look for a trainer that has referrals you can call to chat with. Meet with several different trainers to get a feel for different personality types and ask where they have worked prior – and for how long? Ask if they themselves exercise, what kind of program they follow and what are their philosophies on health and fitness? Do they carry liability insurance, and have they ever injured someone or been involved in litigation? Do they have any credentials that can potentially help you with your nutritional needs? And most importantly when you tell them your goals, ask them how they plan on helping you achieve your targets. A trainer worth their business card will have every answer and more. They should be clearly passionate about health and fitness and show sincerity when speaking about helping you.
Basically Steve, treat finding a personal trainer as serious as if your life depends on it, because it does! A competent, qualified trainer can have a profound positive affect on almost every aspect of your life and the search to find the right one should carry a lot of weight (pun intended). Let me know how your search goes and if any of you out there would like to book a more in-depth consultation with me – just drop me a line via the How To Book button in the sidebar.
And if you have a question – please just click here. I’d love to help you!
All information contained within this site, Angry Trainer Fitness.com, is for informational purposes only. It is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any health problem – nor is it intended to replace the advice of a physician. No action should be taken solely on the contents of this website. Always consult your physician or qualified health professional on any matters regarding your health or on any opinions expressed within this website. Please see your physician before changing your diet, starting an exercise program, or taking any supplements of any kind.
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