What to look for in hiring a personal trainer

If you really want to improve your physical fitness, working with a personal trainer is a great way to reach your goals.
You might be surprised to find out, though, that there can be a big difference between personal trainers.
Here are five tips on what to look for in a personal trainer and make sure your hard-earned money and valuable time are well spent:
1. Certification — Many personal trainers can show different certificates from seminars or classes they’ve taken, but ideally you should be working with someone who has a four-year college degree in a field related to health and fitness. They should be certified by the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA) and-or the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM, which both require four-year degrees.
2. References — Ask around in your community for references and find out what type of experience a trainer has.
Find a trainer who has experience working with people similar to yourself. Some trainers specialize in working with elite athletes, others are geared more toward helping average every-day people, some may help special-needs clients, etc.
3. Have a clear plan — Ask your prospective trainer how he or she will help you track goals and progress and adjust going forward. Once you’re working with a trainer, give them feedback if exercises are too hard, or too easy and especially if something is too painful. You want to work hard, but nothing will derail your fitness goals faster than being sideline with an injury.
4. Accessibility – Make sure the trainer will be accessible to a place that’s comfortable and convenient for you to work out, whether that’s a fitness club, your home gym, or their personal training studio.
5. Fees – Make sure you know ahead of time how much the trainer will charge, how accessible they’ll be to make appointments and what their policy is regarding cancellations.
Finally, understand that if you’re on a budget just working with a trainer for a few months can help you learn many new ideas and then you can practice them on their own.
Some people work with a trainer for short durations, while other work with one year after year.

At Home Fitness consultant Aaron Dorksen’s blog deals with a variety of fitness topics, ranging from workout tips, motivational ideas and feature stories on how exercise impacts people’s lives. E-mail him with comments, questions or ideas for future blogs at aaron@athomefitness.com