How To Choose The Right Personal Trainer


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By Kurt Garrity

Working with a personal trainer can be very rewarding. These guys and gals push us to the limits of what our bodies can take, helping to burn off the excesses of life that we so frequently indulge in. Some of us would be big fat tubs of goo without regular visits from these spandex-wrapped drill sergeants.

Let’s face it – most of us would kill to look the way personal trainers do, all ripped, tone and healthy. That’s why we pay them huge sums of money per hour to put us through hell, hoping for just a bit of what they possess. But how do you find a good one? How do you tell the good from the bad? What’s the criteria, anyway?

First off, they’re all in great shape, so that’s not really much to go on. I mean, who in their right mind would hire a trainer who wasn’t in awesome shape anyway? Do you go for personality? Looks? OK, let’s get this straight, you are not trying to date the man or woman, right?

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Here’s a primer before you start interviewing candidates:

1 – Is the trainer certified?

While there is no legal requirement for personal trainers to be certified in the United States, more than a dozen nation organizations offer accreditation programs which require trainers to have a high school diploma, pass a written test, and both CPR and defibrillator certification. The IHRSA – which represents health and fitness club industry and fought for personal trainer standards – has posted a guide to recognized accrediting organizations here, although they say the list is not official in any way.

2 – I’m a man, should my trainer also be a man?

If you think you can handle being bossed around by some buff hottie in tight clothes, then go for it. On the other hand, training is hard work and can be quite personally revealing. If you have any doubts – go with the same sex, say the experts.

3 – Find a trainer that actually teaches you a system you can use AFTER you are done paying them

Make sure your trainer understands upfront that you want to learn to workout and develop a system that best suits your body and schedule. Also, don’t hide the fact that you are documenting everything and plan on using the system well after you part company (some day).

4 – Your personal trainer should also teach you about nutrition

Proper nutrition is just as important as working out, and if your personal trainer doesn’t offer much in this area, dump that chump and find one who can school you on the finer points of a healthy diet, not the other way around.