When you look for professional services from a dentist, a physiotherapist or psychologist – you look at degrees, recommendations, specialisation and, to some extent, professional chemistry. Looking for a personal trainer is very similar, yet because it is still a relatively new profession, people tend to be less critical and less careful. Here are a few tips on what to look for in a personal trainer.
Make sure that he or she has more credentials than a ﬁt body or a popular Instagram account. The trainer should have a university degree in exercise science or athletic and/or some sort of ofﬁcial exercise certiﬁcation such as NASM, ACE or ACSM. This means that their workouts will more likely be organised according to a method, rather than improvised on the ﬂy. For safety reasons, they should also be have a CPR-AED certiﬁcation.
If your trainer is a registered nutritionist, great – getting in shape is as much about eating right as exercising. If not, the trainer should appreciate the importance of nutrition. He or she should be knowledgeable and willing to answer a few basic questions.
Make sure you both understand your goals and expectations
You both need to be clear about your background and what you’re trying to achieve. You both need to be in agreement on how you’re going to work together. Are you motivated by a more aggressive trainer style? How much are you willing to train between sessions? How personal will the relationship be?
Book a trial session
To ensure good professional chemistry, it can be a good idea to start with a single session to see how you work together. This will also give you an opportunity to see if the trainer is teaching you a new variety of exercise techniques and explaining them to you.
An interview and a trial session should give you plenty of opportunity to evaluate the trainer and spot possible red ﬂags. Does the trainer understand the difference between burn and pain (burn means progress, pain means trouble). Other red ﬂags include the trainer spending more time looking in the mirror than at you, lack of explanation, putting you on the treadmill alone and the universal classic, too much time on the phone.
Use your common sense, your personal trainer should be both a trainer and personal.