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Monthly Archives: August 2008

Selecting a Good Personal Trainer

Q: I’d like to hire a personal trainer but I’m not sure what I should look for to make sure I get a good one. Any help?

A: To increase your odds of hiring a qualified trainer, ask these 10 questions:

1) Do you have a college degree in kinesiology or exercise science? A degree in itself isn’t failsafe, but it improves your chances of hiring a knowledgeable trainer. Core classes consisting of anatomy, physiology, exercise programming and exercise prescription are standard in exercise science curriculum.

2) Are you certified by a nationally recognized organization? These certifying agencies are the most recognized certifications in the industry. All require a minimum score on a demanding exam. Some require a college degree as a prerequisite to becoming certified.

3) What type of workouts do they do themselves? How frequently? Personal experience with exercise is VITAL to be an effective personal trainer. There is no substitute for hands-on experience with strength, cardiovascular and flexibility training.

4) What is your knowledge of nutrition? Often, the missing ingredient with someone not achieving their fitness goals is improper nutritional habits. Typically, trainers are not registered dieticians but if they have a kinesiology degree, or are certified through a well established organization, they likely have had nutrition classes.

5) Do you have experience working with special populations? This may or may not be applicable to your situation, but if you have high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease etc., it is imperative that your trainer has the knowledge to prescribe appropriate exercise.

6) Do you have expertise in athletic performance enhancement? Again, this applies only if you’re interested in training for a particular sport. Proper sport-specific training often is beyond the scope of many personal trainers.

7) Do you have liability insurance? Personal trainers should carry liability insurance; a risk of injury exists any time you engage in physical activity. Proper insurance coverage would protect you and your trainer in any lawsuits.

8) Are there any incentives for pre-payment? Many trainers offer a discounted rate for payment received in advance. Pre-payment also tends to improve exercise adherence.

9) Is there a time commitment involved with your services? Sometimes trainers require a minimum number of sessions before they will accept you as a valued client.

10.) What is your availability? You must be sure that your personal trainer will be available at times convenient for your daily schedule.

Other issues like personality traits and integrity will surface the more you work with your trainer. One last thing; be sure to look for past results!  If the personal trainer you are thinking about working with has a history of success with clients, it is very probable that you will achieve your goals as well.  Remember, it’s a two-way street. You make the commitment to exercise regularly, and the trainer commits to helping you achieve your goals!

The most important part of any routine is that it be realistic.  When referring to an exercise routine, what I see as realistic is most likely diffrent than what you consider to be realistic.  For example, I do not enjoy doing cardio. I do the minimum amount of cardio necessary to maintain good cardiovascular health; twenty minutes, four times per week.  Due to the fact that I only do a minimal amount of cardio, I keep my intensity very high when I lift weights to compensate for the lack of time and intensity in my cardiovascuar routine.  Combining that with senseable nutritional habbits (sensible for me, mind you) I am able to maintain around 8% body fat year round so it is not as much of a challenge to get to 3% bodyfat during competition time.

This relates to you in that your lifestyle is diffrent than mine.  You may enjoy cardio and not enjoy weight trainig as much.  You may not have a problem following a very disiplined meal plan,  you may like a lot of variety when it comes to nutrition.  The Health and Fitness Lifestyle is about seamlessly integrating the way you want to live your life with your health goals. 

This is where we come in.  Our Health and Fitness Lifestyle Directors will plan and show you how it will be done. Our personal trainers will guide you along the course to success.  With your Health and Fitness Lifestyle Director periodically checking in on you, our team of professionals invite you to feel the Health and Fitness Lifestyle experience.