So, you've made the decision to hire a professional personal trainer to help you achieve your fitness goals. As well as helping to be a motivational force and hold you accountable to ensure you stick to your arranged workout times, they will also educate you so you perform exercises correctly and ensure you make the most effective use of your time at the gym or wherever you are working out.
Although a great trainer will help you achieve your goals and improve your overall health, not only will a bad one be unable to do those things, they could injure you. How can you make the right choice?
You need to make the effort to research prospective personal trainers thoroughly and not just book time with the first one you come across. To help you, we've put together a guide covering the important things you need to look for when selecting the best personal trainer.
1. Their Qualifications
This is crucial. You should not start working with a personal trainer until you are sure they are properly qualified. In many countries there is no formal bodiy that a personal trainer should be a member of in order to work as one, but there are a number of different qualifications they should hold. Normally, personal trainers are awarded their qualifications through City and Guilds, Active International Qualifications (Active IQ) and Central YMCA Qualifications (CYQ). Further education is most commonly how individuals achieve these qualifications unless they do so through a private training organisation.
After this, they are then eligible for the Level 3 REPs, also known as Register of Exercise Professionals. Graduates from University with the appropriate degree with honours are also able to apply for approval through APL (Accreditation of Prior Learning) and APA (Accreditation of Prior Achievement) by REPs. They should also have health and safety training and be certified to perform CPR.
If a personal trainer you are interested in hiring does not provide their qualifications, don't be afraid to ask them and if they don't have the relevant certification - look elsewhere.
2. Their Experience
It makes more sense to trust a personal trainer with numerous years or even decades of experience under their belt, than someone who has barely worked in the industry for a month. This is because the more experienced they are, the more finely tuned their methods and techniques will be and the more likely they will be to achieve great results.
3. Their Personality And Style Of Training
Undoubtedly, you will know better than anyone else what motivates you. While some people work harder when they are intimidated and not pampered, others prefer a gentler style. Even if you are not sure what will work best, speak to potential personal trainers and determine whether their style of training and personality will help you to reach your fitness goals.
4. Their Specialties
It can be nice to generally cover all bases. However, if you are looking to achieve specific goals, such as running in that marathon or achieving that ideal dress size, you need to find a personal trainer that can help you with those specific goals. Therefore, a personal trainer who specializes in weight management and gentle workout plans is not going to help you build your endurance skills. As well as having a greater level of expertise in the specific area of fitness and exercise you are looking for, they are also more likely to be more motivated to help you out if it's their favourite style of workout or sport.
5. Their Prices
Personal trainers can vary greatly from one to another in terms of their experience, style, personality and what they specialize in. They can also vary greatly in the prices they charge on an hourly basis. A lot of this will depend on location, their specialties and qualifications. It is wise then to take some time to calculate the available budget you have to spend on a personal trainer before you start looking for quotes.
6. Their Availability
Consistency is vital when it comes to working with a personal trainer, so it is recommended that you check the schedule of those you are interested in hiring. Check how fully booked they are and if there is any flexibility with when and where you work out. It would be a shame to hire a personal trainer that you enjoy working out with only to discover because of last minute changes to your work schedule that you can't change appointment times.
7. Their Reputation
Last but certainly by no means least is a personal trainer's reputation. If you have been recommended a personal trainer from a friend or relative, and you can see the positive results from their work together, this is usually a good sign that they might be the one for you. However, even if you haven't been referred to one, any reputable personal trainer will be more than happy to share client references, testimonials and success stories. Read reviews online and if you hear bad thing after bad thing about a particular trainer, it could be for a good reason.