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  • Writer's pictureCoach Sandy Robinson

5 Tips for Choosing the Best Personal Trainer for You

It’s officially January 2020 and if you are like many others, among the many new goals you are motivated to achieve, you most certainly have health goals added to your new year’s resolutions. Whether it be to lose weight, gain weight, add muscle, build strength, improve flexibility, shape your figure, improve blood work, reduce stress, or simply learn how to get active in an already busy lifestyle, you may be wondering how you can actually do it? This is the time of year when people by the masses seek Certified Personal Trainers to help, motivate, encourage, and hold them accountable with reaching their newly inspired fitness goals.

January 2nd, is National Personal Trainer Awareness Day!!

A special day has been created just to recognize personal trainers and what an important role they can play in helping you reach your goals, safely exercise, learn new habits, and teaching you how to love the body you’re in! Finding the right one however, can be a bit of trial and error if you don’t do some research first. Here is a quick list of 5 things you can do to choose the right trainer for you!

Determine your actual goal. What exactly are you needing help with? The type of goal you have will help you determine what qualifications you need to look for. It’s kind of like getting your car worked on. If you know up front, you want new brakes, you’re going to look for an auto shop that specializes in installing brakes, you wouldn’t just take it to the quick lube place that specializes in quick oil changes. Although either shop may be qualified to do both, one might be better at the actual brake service than the other. Does that make sense? When hiring your trainer, you want to go to the trainer that specializes in your goal such as mass building, marathon running, physique competitions, functional training for long term health, weight loss, or possibly a trainer that’s more therapeutic and able to work with lots of injuries and/or limitations. By knowing your goals ahead of time, you can discuss this with your prospective trainers to see if they can show they are qualified to handle your specific needs and goals.

Determine your desired training environment. What type of setting will make you most comfortable to push hard and reach your goals? For some, a group setting where you compete for training stats such as number of reps, target heart rate, heavy lift, or speed will work best. For others, a smaller setting, one on one, or small groups in more of a boutique environment may work better. Neither is better than the other, it simply depends on your personality and training needs.

Once you determine where you think you will be most cared for, it will help you determine where to look for your type of trainer. Big box gyms will often charge less, as their trainers are typically paid an hourly rate, and only a small portion of what the gym collects. That program is designed to reach the masses, to make money on training a lot of people. It may be just right for your training needs, and of course, easier on the budget. You can find these trainers by visiting your local gyms. There should be group options as well as one on one. Hourly rate is usually anywhere from $50-$100 per hour depending on your area and their level of experience.

If you prefer a smaller setting, or more of an exclusive relationship style of training, you will need to research local boutiques, and freelance trainers that will train in private locations or possibly in your home. Their budget tends to be a little less on marketing compared to the big box gyms, which possibly means less online presence or advertising, but definitely does not mean they are less qualified. Often times they can even be more qualified and operating on a VIP client list and therefore keep a more low-key profile by operating primarily on a referral basis. Asking co-workers, friends, and locals who they recommend for trainers, will likely yield more options to choose from and may just be the best way to find the perfect trainer for this more specialized and exclusive need.

Interview your potential trainer. Before signing any contract, interview your trainer and determine if your personalities connect. Often times a trainer might look good on paper, and have a well styled photo showing how physically fit they are, but if their personality is one that makes you cringe you may want to keep looking. You need to be able to respect, and trust your trainer. You need to feel like they are there because they care about your goals and needs, not just to collect a paycheck. If while you are meeting, they are focusing on everything else around you, looking at their cell phone, or carrying on conversations with other members, you may want to keep looking. If they can’t focus on you in the interview, and take you serious now, they won’t when it’s time to train either. You are considering paying them a hefty payment each month. Your time and money are valuable, make sure they think so too!

Take your schedule seriously. Your trainer should be ready to lock in a training schedule and keep you accountable to what you agree upon. If there is so much flexibility that you just “wing it” each week, it may be a sign that not much preparation is going into your sessions. A trainer that is planning ahead, and designing custom workouts will be preparing your session ahead of time and expect you to show up. A routine schedule is important to them for ideal planning. Flexibility to adjust upon emergencies is fine, and expected, but if they are just leaving you out to schedule a session whenever, it may be a sign that they aren’t preparing ahead and therefore possibly not very concerned about your results either.

Ask for references. A qualified trainer should have an arsenal of clients who can give positive reviews of their experience working with them. Keep in mind, you want to know of people who have achieved what you hope to achieve, working with this trainer. They may have online reviews, or written references, some trainers may even give you contact info of previous clients who have agreed to be a reference if requested. Either way, checking references will give you an added element of trust that your trainer knows what they are doing, and therefore will potentially give you the confidence to choose one over the other if you are on the fence with possibly several trainers to choose from.

If you already have a trainer, or know one, then take the time to thank or encourage them today.

Take a gym selfie and post it on social media with #nationalpersonaltrainerawarenessday giving your trainer a shout out.

This time of year, there is so much pressure to meet the urgent needs of many. Motivating, Educating, and holding others accountable to reach their fitness goals can be very demanding and even sometimes draining. Let them know you appreciate them by a quick phone call, writing them a note, or sending a text telling them something specific that they have helped you with or inspired you to do. Trainers need love too!!

Leave a comment below, I'd love to hear your thoughts or answer any questions you may have!

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