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How to Choose a Personal Trainer

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Authored by Andy Chasse’ in Exercise
Published on 07-24-2009

Are you one of the struggling gym goers who seek the help of a qualified fitness professional? Kudos to those who are. Well-educated personal trainers are a great resource for new lifters in need of assistance. Unfortunately, well-educated personal trainers are also highly difficult to locate. Choosing a personal trainer makes for a rather difficult task for this very reason.

The fitness industry is swamped with newbie personal trainers who have no idea what they are doing. You will see overweight trainers and trainers skinnier than yourself. Of course, you will also encounter monstrous trainers whose sheer quantity of muscle would surely swallow you. Here’s the catch – appearance doesn’t mean much in this industry. There are some insanely intelligent fitness professionals out there who don’t even look like they work out. And on the other end, a fit and athletic trainer might be full of complete garbage.

The following four characteristics should be closely examined before choosing a personal trainer. Be sure that the trainer you are looking to hire possesses most these qualities.

1) Knowledge. Be sure the trainer in question is certified. Trainers who lack a certification are nothing more than glorified gym junkies. Look for NASM, ACE, NSCA, or ACSM. In addition, a quality personal trainer should have a basic working knowledge of anatomy, physiology, biomechanics, and biochemistry – at the very least. Ideally, you should be looking for someone with a high level of knowledge in each of these fields, excluding biochemistry. Biochemistry deals more with the nutrition side of fitness and that is something you should seek out a qualified nutritionist or dietician for advice on. A quick google search for some basic anatomy, physiology, and biomechanics terms should allow you to make a short list of questions to ask the prospective trainer. Also, remember that while a college degree is certainly helpful, it is not necessary for this job.

2) Communication. Obviously if the trainer in question has difficulty forming clear and concise sentences, there is going to be a problem in the future. A good personal trainer has great people skills and has no trouble speaking. However, the personality one person seeks in a personal trainer is probably different from the personality the next seeks. If you are looking for a humorous individual who makes you laugh during the workout, give him or her a few opportunities to demonstrate this trait. Only you can judge the personality in which you are looking for. Don’t settle for a trainer that you don’t click with.

3) Experience. Is this particular trainer completely new to the field, or does he or she have years of experience in the gym setting? Many newbie personal trainers have no idea what they are doing. You will more or less become a guinea pig. This is not necessarily negative, however. Both you and the new trainer will likely learn some interesting stuff. On the other hand, working with an experienced trainer provides you with a much better knowledge base and probably quicker results. Choose carefully based on what you desire in a trainer.

4) Appearance. While choosing based on this particular category was talked down up in an above paragraph, it should hold some weight when choosing a personal trainer. You will likely be making a poor decision by choosing to hire a morbidly obese or sickeningly skinny trainer. Look for a trainer with the body type you desire and go from there.

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