A personal trainer should meet certain qualifications. The title of “personal trainer” does not tell you if the person has the necessary background; unfortunately selecting a trainer is truly a “buyer beware” situation because there are no mandated standards on what qualifications are needed to be a personal trainer. It is important to ask some specific questions to determine if the person has the appropriate qualifications. When meeting a potential trainer, cover this list of questions below, and look for a different trainer if you find many of the answers to be no.
1. Does the trainer have a college degree in the health and fitness field?
(Look for degree names such as exercise science, physical education, or kinesiology.) These days anyone can go online, pay a fee, take an online test and title themselves a “personal trainer.” Those who have a college degree and some experience in the field, tend to be better qualified in more ways than one.
2. Does the trainer hold a nationally recognized certification from a not-for-profit organization? Again, you want to make sure that the trainer you are working with is certified by an accredited organization.
3. Is the trainer involved in continuing education opportunities in order to keep their personal training certification current? Don’t be afraid to ask for proof that their current certification is up to date. Why put yourself or your body at risk by working with a trainer who may not be up to date in current training practices or education?
4. Is the trainer certified in CPR, First Aid, and AED? With your health in their hands, it is important to know you are in the hands of a skilled personal trainer who has been trained in life-saving measures in case anything should ever arise involving you.
5. Does the trainer have liability insurance? Every trainer should have liability insurance to cover themselves and their clients. If an incident/accident should occur and it happens to be at the fault of your trainer or while working with them, you need to make sure that you will not be liable for the expenses that come from this occurrence.
6. Does the trainer have sufficient experience working with clients other than you? Many franchise gyms allow new personal training staff to train members while working towards their certifications needed. So, if you have any special needs that need to be considered in your training program, watch out…..you may be working with an inexperienced and/or uncertified trainer who has zero or minimal client experience.
7. Does the trainer use preativity screenings and fitness assessments? Your trainer should have a client questionnaire for you to complete prior to beginning active training sessions and/or should evaluate your fitness capabilities in the first session before moving forward and customizing your full fitness program and putting you through it.
8. Did the trainer ask you about medications or your health history? If you trainer does not know the entire picture about you , they cannot provide a safe personal training for you. Make they ask you for this information and make sure your doctor approves of any program they may suggest.
9. Will the sessions include cardiorespiratory, muscular, and flexibility training? These are the three most important areas that should be included in a well-rounded customized personal training program.
10. Are the session length and cost reasonable? If the answer to many of the questions listed above is no, yet the cost of the sessions in comparison to the length seems high, you may need to re-evaluate your program and choice of personal trainer.
Selecting a qualified personal trainer will require you to interview the person. This list of questions is a great starting point. You should also consider whether your personality matches that of the trainer. Do you feel at ease with person? Do you feel the trainer really listens to you and understands your goals? Hiring a trainer is not a necessity, but if can truly make a difference in transforming your body and reaching your health and fitness goals. If you make the investment, be sure to find out his or her educational background and certifications.