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How To Choose A Personal Trainer

Your Guide To Making An Informed Decision 

So you’ve decided it’s time to get into shape.

Finally, you’re ready to look better and feel better the sensible way: through good nutrition planning and regular exercise. Time and experience has shown you that fad diets don’t work, ab machines don’t show your abs and infomercials are complete scams. You’ve heard the amazing success stories, watched many late night episodes of Extreme Makeover and it’s inspired you to get real, commit to a program and transform your body once and for all. 

But to do this, you need a guide. So you’ve decided to hire a personal trainer. 

The thing is though, not all personal trainers are created equal. So how do you find the right fitness professional for you? Here are my top tips for choosing your ideal trainer.

They Must Be Certified By A Nationally Accredited Institution

The gold standard for certification bodies are:

  • National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM)
  • American Council on Exercise (ACE)
  • National Strength & Conditioning Association(NSCA)
  • American College of Sports Medicine (ACS)

A qualified trainer should at very minimum have a certification with one of these agencies. It means that they’ve passed a baseline of standards to be a fitness professional.

That being said, it still does not mean that they are good at what they do, or that they can deliver a specific result. But it is a good start! It shows they have taken the time to study the fundamentals and foundation of the human body, how to program accordingly and possess a baseline of understanding on the topic of nutrition and supplementation.

They Should Do More Than Just Take You Through A Workout

A top quality fitness professional does more than simply taking you through a workout. I’ll argue that anyone can count to 15 by themselves and hold a clipboard. So look for a coach who will educate you about all of the components necessary to achieve your optimal health and fitness result.

This includes:

  • Taking a fitness assessment. Whether it’s by using calipers, body fat
    calipers
    Body Fat Calipers are great for measuring progress.

    machines, measuring inches, scales etc – taking the time to log metrics with you will give solid and measurable proof that your body is changing throughout their program. When the scales only show a small part of the story, this is crucial step to monitoring progress.

  • Reviewing nutrition and proper supplementation with you. Although personal trainers are not specifically required to learn how to meal plan scientifically through the certifications listed above, there is still time spent learning about the importance of adequate nutrition and general dos and don’ts. Training is one part of your success equation in health. What you eat is the other part. So choose a trainer that can advise you accordingly!
  • Accurately demonstrate the exercises programmed. This includes all types of resistance training. If your trainer can’t show you how to do a squat correctly, there’s plenty of great trainers out there that can. Don’t waste your time and money.
  • Program appropriate cardiovascular exercise to maximize fat burning. The cardio program you get should factor in your goals, your current fitness level, injuries, and tie in when you’d like to achieve your goal by.

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    I help people find their glutes down under at Training Mate
  • Be knowledgeable on dynamic stretching and movement to avoid injury and maximize recovery.
  • They should also mentally inspire you. There are many aspects that encompass the mental development side of training with a personal trainer. Some of those things include goal setting, putting together a plan of action, and supporting and holding you accountable throughout the process. These things are absolutely critical to your success. So if you are scheduling your sessions with your trainer early on in the morning, make it easy on yourself by choosing a trainer that you want to get out of bed for…or stay in bed for,  depending on if you want them there with you. I’m kidding, but you get my drift.  

They Should Have a Record Of Results

A credible fitness professional should be able to do more than just talk about results- they should be able to prove they deliver. Ask for proof of client results before you start training with them. Do they have before and after photos of clients, testimonials, or references?

rampage 7 week transformation.jpg
My 7 week transformation for Light Heavyweight MMA Champion  Quinton “Rampage” Jackson

Can you speak with a client they have worked with previously to inquire about their experience working with them? In these days of social media, there should be some record of their success on the internet. If there is no proof online anywhere – to me that is a red flag, and I would proceed with caution.

 Look For Someone Who Will Empower You For Life

A great fitness coach will do more than just help you to achieve your goals. A true professional will teach you their foundation of knowledge using their style, so you won’t be lost in the sea of confusion when it comes to all the diet and exercise hype. You’ll be able to exercise with confidence, even on your own knowing you are doing the best for your body.

The foundation of knowledge and correct technique a trainer teaches you should give you the tools to achieve and maintain results for life. Choose a fitness professional that you believe will do this for you.

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Do you have a great trainer or fitness professional that you use? What have they done for you to help you succeed?

By Edwina Cheer

Edwina Cheer is a Celebrity Sports Nutritionist and the author of The Mind and Body Diet Book.

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