In Part One of this article I discussed several benefits of a personal trainer. As a result, many of you may have expanded your understanding of what a personal trainer has to offer and have now decided to consider the services of a personal trainer. This is great news! However, not all trainers are created equal. You must be selective in your choice of a trainer. This article will provide an overview of what to look for in a trainer who will be a good fit for you.
One of the most obvious qualities a personal trainer must possess is a thorough education in the field of exercise science. Their education may be through formal education or self-education. Having had a formal education in exercise science, I can say from experience that there are things you will experience in a degree program that you simply will not be exposed to through self-education alone. Likewise, there are experiences through self-education that you will not be exposed to in a formal education setting. Therefore, I would recommend finding a trainer who has both a formal education (minimum of a bachelor's degree) and a thorough self-education.
A qualified trainer should be certified. The reason I say this is not due to the certification alone, but instead due to the continuing education units required to keep the certification. Like trainers, not all certifications are created equal either. Some require a bachelor's degree in a related field and some do not. The two most reputable certifying organizations are the National Strength and Conditioning Association and American College of Sports Medicine.
Experience is an important aspect of personal training. Why? Because no matter how much knowledge a personal trainer has it basically useless unless he/she is able to effectively apply it to a real life setting. No amount of formal or self-education can take the place of experience. I recommend choosing a trainer with at least two years experience with training a variety of individuals.
The most overlooked quality of a personal trainer is his/her adaptability! Through my experiences as a personal trainer, I have never trained two people who were exactly alike. This applies to their personality traits as well as physical characteristics. You need to find a trainer who can adapt to your individual needs, whether they are physical, emotional, or other.
Now that you understand the benefits (from Part One) of a personal trainer and how to go about selecting a trainer who is right for you, I encourage you to consider this option if you are serious about getting in shape. Contact a few trainers in your area and arrange a consultation (most do this for free) to speak with them one-on-one and see what they bring to the table. I am confident that with the right trainer, personal training will prove to be a very gratifying experience and a rewarding investment.