A personal trainer can design an exercise program to meet your fitness goals, keep you motivated and adapt your training as you progress. But your first step is finding a qualified professional.
While there aren’t any national standards or minimum requirements for someone to call themselves a personal trainer, asking the right questions will help you hire the right person, according to the American College of Sports Medicine.
Ask about their education, ideally a four-year degree in exercise science or physiology, kinesiology, physical education or a field related to health and fitness. He or she should also be certified by a respected organization.
Nationally recognized certifying organizations include:
- the American Council on Exercise,
- the American College of Sports Medicine,
- the International Sports Sciences Association,
- the National Academy of Sports Medicine,
- the National Strength and Conditioning Association.
Ask about the number of years they’ve been training clients. You might request a resume and current references.
Don’t be shy about discussing fees, which can vary widely — from $20 an hour to more than $100 based on factors that could range from the trainer’s qualifications to the length of each of your sessions. Ask if lower hourly rates are available if you prepay or agree upfront to a certain number of weeks or months.
Since results depend in part on having a good working relationship, make sure the trainer’s personality meshes with yours and that he or she communicates in a way you feel comfortable with.
Once you’ve made your decision, ask the trainer for a written agreement that details fees, your workout schedule and policies regarding cancellation and payment.
The American College of Sports Medicine details key aspects of finding and working with a personal trainer.