Getting the right personal trainer for your fitness goal may not be as straight forward as many people think especially in regards to getting the right results. After all, who wants to end up looking in the wrong or worse shape than they started off? The problem is anyone can get a fly-by-night online personal training certification and claimed that he is a qualified personal trainer even without proper practical experience. In fact, there are literally hundreds of personal training certifications out there and there is only a handful that meets the highest standard. Unfortunately, most people who are looking for personal trainers do not have an idea what are the reputable certifications they should be looking out for.
Although you can be in good hands when you find a “superstar” trainer, it does not guarantee success in achieving your fitness goals. A great personal trainer is certainly not a magic bullet. All he can do for you is motivate you, show you the right way and become a vital resource for you. In the end, your level of success depends on your level of commitment to the program.
Like all things, there are personal trainers who are better at their job and with their advance knowledge and experience they can get the most out of you than you trying on your own. Certainly, some are just being in the profession to earn some part-time cash and may not be into training.
How do you find the right trainer for yourself? What do you look for? Let’s look at the following:
What are their relevant qualifications?
First and foremost, the level of education or training is an important factor you must consider when getting a personal trainer. Having a college degree in exercise science certainly helps but it should not be judged as a sole determinant on the quality of the fitness professional. There are many great personal trainers who do not have a college degree but still have in-depth knowledge in training. However, the trainers should be at least certified by reputable international fitness certification agencies. So what are the good few one? They are as followed but by no mean limited to the following:
American College School Medicine (ACSM) Certified Personal Trainer or Health Fitness Specialist
National Strength & Conditioning Association (NSCA) Certified Personal Trainer
National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM)
American Council on Exercise (ACE)
As a personal trainer in Perth Western Australia, I know for a fact most of the fitness trainers in Australia do not hold the above mentioned certification. This is because the tightly regulated fitness industry requires the personal trainers to hold Cert IV Fitness Qualification, a set minimal Australian national vocational standard, to conduct personal training services. Therefore, you are most likely to find a qualified fitness professional with at least Cert IV qualification in Australia. However, all the paper qualification counts for nothing if he or she does not have industry experience.
What are their Industry Experiences?
Depending on your fitness goals, you should find out about the type of experience the trainers have. Some of them can be more specialized in strength and conditioning in sports, rehabilitation or weight loss. If you are seeking results, be sure to look for someone who is specialized in your area. Although it can be very impressive to hear of someone having more than 10 years of experience in the fitness industry, it is important to ask about the work experience, seminars and relevant certification courses he or she had attended. You will be surprised that some of them do very little in their careers to stay current to the latest practice and trend in fitness.
Are they insured?
Be sure to ask about liability insurance. Have yourself covered. No matter how good the trainer can be, there is always going to be an inherent risk to exercising. Not having liability insurance may also be a sign that the “trainer” is not adequately certified. Especially in Australia, it is not possible to get liability insurance if you are not a member of the Fitness Australia and not hold a Cert IV fitness qualification.
Do they have Testimonials?
If the personal trainer you are seeking out has been in the fitness industry for some years, he or she should have written testimonies from his former and existing clients. So don’t be afraid to ask for testimonies and make a call or two and find out what other people are saying about the trainer. If he is specialized in weight loss, he should have before and after pictures of his clients to show for.
How about you?
It is important that the prospective trainer you meet does not just talk about his great careers achievements and certifications that he holds without asking about you. After all, personal training is about you and your fitness goals.
At the very least, the personal trainer should find out about your specific fitness goals, exercise history, past and present medical conditions and current lifestyle. If the fitness professional shows no interest in why you are meeting him or her for, it is better to look for a trainer somewhere else.
The aforementioned guidelines are not hard and fast rules on what you should be looking for in a personal trainer. It is intended to help you in your decision to get the best possible personal trainer for your fitness goals. In the end, it boils down to personal preferences and the rapport you have with the prospective personal trainer that you meet. However, do bear in mind that it is YOU that have to make things work! Be sure to work closely with the personal trainer you choose for the best outcomes.