Be choosy in hiring a personal trainer

Last week we discussed why hiring a personal trainer might be in your best interest. This week we discuss what to look for once you have made the decision to put a professional in your corner. It is important to know who you are getting involved ...

Last week we discussed why hiring a personal trainer might be in your best interest. This week we discuss what to look for once you have made the decision to put a professional in your corner. It is important to know who you are getting involved with, so do your homework before you shell out your coins.


Look for someone with a recognized certification. There are many personal training certifications, so do some homework. Check out the National Board of Fitness Examiners (NBFE) Web site and view the list of certifications they will accept before a personal trainer can sit for the National Board Exam. This is a great starting place because these certifications have to pass a third party verification before the NBFE will accept them. Depending on where your personal trainer is employed, it is a good idea to check for liability insurance.

Trainers should carry it if they are not covered by their employer. Unfortunately, physical activity can cause injury and you want a trainer who is covered, just in case. (If you plan to train outside of a facility the trainer may not be covered under a club's policy even if they are covered when working inside the building).



Certifications, workshops and continuing education are all ways a personal trainer can stay up-to-date on industry changes.

It is not necessary that your trainer have a related degree, but it can help. A trainer who does not have continuing education should make you wonder. You want a trainer who is passionate about fitness, and if they are not willing to take some time to learn what is new in the industry how passionate are they?

In addition, research in fitness is exploding, things change very quickly, and better ways to reach our goals are developed. A trainer who lacks continuing education could possibly recommend outdated or contraindicated exercises, ways to do a workout, or exercises which are not as effective.

Make sure your trainer is passionate about fitness and wants to continue to bring you the best services and education, look for an exercise science and fitness testing background.

Prior training experience is a plus, and a must with someone who does not have a related degree. As with any profession the more experienced a practitioner the better they can serve you, and as with any profession this does not always ring true, but it is important for you to be comfortable with the level of experience your trainer has.

If you are worried about a spending too much, try the local university as many times you can find a student who is completing a degree in exercise science and learning the ropes as a fitness professional. If they work for recreational sports they will typically have gone through a training program and are under supervision while they learn.

Your trainer should not push supplements, fad diets or work outside their areas of expertise. A trainer with no nutritional background should not be analyzing your diet and making complicated recommendations, especially if you are taking any medications, herbs or other types of supplements that could be affected by the changes.

Most trainers have basic nutrition in their backgrounds and are comfortable telling you when you need to get help from another professional. A trainer who claims they will not train you or you won't see results unless you take a particular supplement or follow a fad or extreme diet is worth leaving behind.


Yes, you may see results faster with one of the above, however, it should be your decision and you should gather information from a variety of sources, not just your trainer. Like getting a second opinion, it is important to find out who has done the research. I found a multi-vitamin I loved, but when I explored the company further I could not find any research done by outside sources. It was all done within the company, no wonder their products were the best. A quality trainer will be honest about their affiliation with any supplement company and respect your decision not to take them.

A trainer who backs a particular diet should also be respectful of your decision to leave it or try it. You must make sure it is the right diet for you. Are you getting enough to eat, is there anything that may react with a medication or other concern individual to you, do you have a condition which does not support this diet? For example: high protein can be hard on the body and some conditions do not support removal of excess. These are all questions you should consider before beginning a new diet, regardless of what your trainer may be pushing.

Look for someone who is willing to work with your health care professionals, and someone willing to listen to you. A good trainer will see the value of a team environment to help you reach your goals.

They should help you feel supported and comfortable. Look for someone who meets your needs.

Your personal trainer should also be ready to challenge you, confront you and help you stay on track. Be picky when selecting your helper -- this may be one of the biggest, most important changes you make in your life

Healthy lifestyle challenge

Head out to Wisconsin Point. Get some exercise collecting wood for a fire and playing in the surf. Enjoy the sunset and bring along some healthy snacks for a great evening.

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