Credentials & Experience
To call yourself a Personal Trainer you must have a certification from a nationally accredited organization. Some of these include The National Association of Sports Medicine (NASM), The American Council on Exercise (ACE) and the International Sports Sciences Association (ISSA), to name a few. In order for trainers to obtain these certifications, they must pass an exam that covers exercise physiology, anatomy, nutrition, and weight management. They must also be CPR certified in order to take the exam and obtain a certain number of continuing education hours per year to keep their certification up to date. A trainer should never hesitate to show you their credentials. You may also want to consider how many years they’ve been in the industry. Fitness is an ever-evolving practice and knowledge comes with experience.
The best compliment a trainer can receive is a referral. Are their current clients seeing results? A great trainer will be happy to share references, testimonials, and before and after pictures of clients with similar goals as yours.
A trainer can’t be with you 24/7 and if you're only working out 1x a week with your trainer and not working out on your own, you’re never going to see results. You also can’t expect to not change your eating habits and see results. A great trainer should be available to you for whatever you need. Can you text your trainer from the grocery store if you’re unsure about a certain food? Will they give you an exercise program to follow on your own? Will they give you a travel program for when you’re on vacation or traveling for business? Open communication is imperative to success and a great trainer will make sure you have all the tools to be successful for the other 23 hours a day when they aren’t around.
Let’s face it, not all personalities are going to work well together. If you’re motivated by positive reinforcement and a cheerleader type, then a bootcamp style, in your face trainer, just isn’t going to cut it and vice versa! Talk to your trainer to get a feel for their style and be open about what motivates you. Also, ask if they will do a trial session. A lot of trainers will give a free or discounted trial session, so potential clients can get a feel for their personality and training technique before committing to buying a package.
Specialities & Special Conditions
A great personal trainer should always ask about previous/current injuries, limitations, or special conditions. As a client, you should always make sure that a trainer has experience working with your condition. Some conditions can be exacerbated by certain exercises and its critical you choose a trainer that is knowledgeable.
Trust is the key to all relationships in our lives, especially with your personal trainer. Trust between a client/trainer allows for each to be their authentic selves. Lose that trust and defensiveness sets in. Personal training is just that, personal and if you don’t feel comfortable sharing your root reason for hiring a trainer, what has stopped you in the past from reaching your goals, what you eat on a daily basis, how you feel not only physically, but emotionally then the relationship is bound to fail.
Are you performing the same exercises every time or is your trainer consciously making an effort to switch up your workouts? Does it feel like your trainer is just going through the motions or do they have a genuine passion for the profession? Finding a trainer who walks the walk and talks the talk is important. Do they love what they do or do they seem burnt out? Personal training is an industry with long hours and constant work, but finding a trainer who loves what they do and has a vested and genuine interest in your success is crucial.
Are you ready?
Hiring a personal trainer is a big investment in your health, but before pulling the trigger it's important to ask yourself, “Am I ready?” Are you ready to work hard, are you ready to change your eating habits, are you ready to push yourself to reach your goals? Having the right mindset is the first step in becoming the best version of yourself.
Kalene Walsh is a Certified Personal Trainer with 13 years of experience training men and women of all ages and abilities through every stage of life. She is also a local Hoboken mommy to her 3 year old son Cash.