Wednesday, 28 October 2009
Choosing a good Personal Trainer can be a bit like choosing a husband.
It’s important that you click with them, enjoy spending
lots of time with them and share the same goal – ie,
your fitness. If you’re going to be investing your time
and money into this long-term commitment, it’s important that
you shop around thoroughly before settling for the right one.
Here are some very important factors to take into consideration:
If you click with someone initially this is a fairly good indicator
that you will work well together. If, after a few meetings, you feel
as though there is something not right, this isn’t the person for
you. You will be spending a good amount of time with your PT so
having a good working relationship will be important for you to
want to attend your sessions.
your personal programme
A “client-centred” programme is one of the most important
features you can look for when shopping around. This means
that the PT will do their utmost to assess your current fitness
condition, and formulate a programme exclusively for your
needs. A good PT with a client-centred programme will:
• offer a lifestyle assessment all about you
• have you fill out a PAR-Q form (Pre-participation questionnaire)
• ask you about specific goals and discuss how best to attain them
• do fitness and lifestyle tests with you, eg, blood pressure
reading, strength and/or cardiovascular testing,
measurements (All of these monitor your progress and can
help motivate you to see results and reach your goals)
• ask you what activities you like or dislike. Are they then
making you do activities you dislike? This will not help you to
adhere to a programme
• offer to set up programmes for you when you are away from
the gym or on holiday/business trips
• look at you as a whole person; eg, lifestyle, foods and
• offer to speak with other practitioners in your life, such as
your physiotherapist, GP, osteopath, massage therapist, etc
• communicate well with you and show up on time
If you already belong to a gym, look at the PT board and read about
each professional. The ones who have experience in the areas
you need help with will be a good start. If you don’t have gym
membership you may want a trainer who visits your home. A
good place to start is on the Register of Exercise Professionals
website in the UK or in your country a fitness association or register. You can also look on the net generally or find
advertisements in health and fitness magazines, but keep in mind
all of the above qualifications mentioned when shopping around.
Tertiary education is probably the most important box to tick. A
PT with a sports science or physical education degree means you
have someone with advanced training in anatomy, physiology and
other human studies essential for creating a safe and effective
programme. Having said this, there are many great trainers who
have taken other forms of professional qualifications.
Professional qualifications are shorter-term courses than tertiary
education degrees. If you choose a trainer with this type of
background, ensure the qualifications are the equivalent to an
NVQ Level 2 or above. Professional qualifications can come
from around the world. Some of the best are from America. The
NSCA (National Strength and Conditioning Association) offers a
certified strength and conditioning specialist diploma as well as
other levels of certification. To take this course a trainer must
already have a degree. The ACSM (American College of Sports
Medicine) is another highly recommended certification.
Ask about prices before you start, and make sure you’re
comfortable with what’s on offer. If you can only buy 30
sessions up front and there are no other choices, you may want
to look elsewhere. If they offer you different packages to suit
your needs then they are offering a good service.
Overall, you want someone with strong qualifications, a
personality that works well with yours, a convenient location
and an affordable cost scheme. If you choose carefully and
know exactly what to look for, you and your PT can achieve
excellent results, together.
Good luck with it and have fun on your new adventure.