Your time has come. You have made the commitment to get back in shape. And you want to do it as quickly, safely, and painlessly as possible. You are in a good place.
Now it’s time to choose.
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When it comes to starting a fitness routine, you have options. You could join a fitness club and try to figure out what all of that equipment does. You could join a fitness “program” and be forced to progress at a pace that works for the class you join, even if it’s not exactly the right pace for you. Or you could hire a personal trainer and have that trainer design a custom fitness routine based on your goals and current level of conditioning.
Without a doubt, working with a personal trainer is the fastest, safest, and most effective way to get in shape. Whether you are getting in top shape for the first time, or getting back to your
‘fighting weight’ from your college days, a personal trainer will make the process fast and easy. Best of all, you will never have to figure out what all that equipment does (and you will avoid getting hurt using it the wrong way) and your workouts will be private one-on-one sessions full of encouragement and significant progress.
But how do you find the right trainer? Is a man or a woman better for your situation? Will the trainer make allowances for your age and current fitness level or just try to make you look like Arnold Schwarzenegger? And, perhaps not least importantly, what about the cost – can you afford your own personal trainer?
Having been a personal trainer since 1987 (and having trained many other trainers) allows me to share the five attributes that all great personal trainers have in common. There is no doubt that working with a personal trainer is the fastest, safest, and most rewarding way to get in shape. And by using the checklist below, you will be able to quickly find the trainer who is just right for you!
You can consider these five traits your shopping list when interviewing a personal trainer to work with you:
1. A SINCERE DESIRE TO HELP YOU
Great Personal Trainers have a sincere and enthusiastic interest in helping people improve their’ lives through fitness. They will be genuinely interested in hearing about your exercise background and your fitness goals. They will be energized by the fact that you have decided to make fitness a part of your life.
There will be days when you may lack the desire to have a good workout. Perhaps you slept poorly the night before or had a calamity at work. Your Personal Trainer will provide the energy and motivation to get you through your toughest days. The days you feel great, your Trainer will help you achieve goals you thought were impossible.
The Great Personal Trainer is more than an individual who designs your workouts or simply teaches you new exercises. You and your Personal Trainer become a team dedicated to empowering you to reach previously unattainable levels on your lifelong journey in fitness.
2. MEET THE GREAT COMMUNICATOR
How does the Great Personal Trainer find out about your dreams and goals? They ask you! Every Great Personal Trainer has exceptional communication skills.
Your initial meeting with your Personal Trainer should cover your goals, your medical history, your schedule, your previous and current exercise habits, and anything else that might affect your workouts. Upon greeting you for each subsequent workout, the Trainer will gather information from you to ascertain your energy level, your general mind-set, any lingering effects from your previous workout, and your particular level of motivation for that day.
All these questions will be answered through verbal and often non-verbal communication. The communication will continue throughout your workout and adjustments will be made to instantly customize your program to maximize the efficiency of each session with your Personal Trainer.
3. A NATURAL-BORN TEACHER
The Great Personal Trainer is also a wonderful teacher, perhaps the best you have ever encountered. Unless you have a substantial background in exercise, you will be learning many new ways to change your body through fitness. Great Personal Trainers are skilled teachers, accustomed to working with a varied clientele and able to explain a single concept from several different points-of-view.
They are used to adapting their teaching style to fit each client’s learning style. If you don’t understand a concept or are having a difficult time with a new exercise, the Trainer will approach the situation in a way that makes sense to YOU. You will be made to feel comfortable with something totally new to you in a very short period of time.
Learning proper exercise technique is one of the keys to a successful workout program. Amazingly fast progress is the payoff for finding the right Personal Trainer for you.
4. A PERSON OF SOUND REPUTATION
Great Personal Trainers do very little in the way of paid advertising. Why? Because every client he has sends him referrals. He has no need to pay for advertising because his business is built upon the best kind of marketing, word-of-mouth advertising from his or her very pleased clientele.
You will need to seek out a Great Personal Trainer. The best way to find one is to ask a friend or acquaintance who has recently undergone an inspiring physical transformation. Another way to locate a Personal Trainer is to contact the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA-LIFT.org), the American Council on Exercise (ACEFITNESS.org, or the American College of Sports medicine (ACSM.org). Locating a Trainer through one of these organizations does not mean they are exceptional but will provide you with a list of trainers in your area to interview.
Once you contact the Trainer, ask for references. You should get glowing reports from the clients of a Great Personal Trainer.
5. A FITNESS EXPERT
A Great Personal Trainer will be well-versed in exercise physiology and will have the experience and credentials to prove it.
Just having the knowledge and the skill to pass the required testing does not make a Personal Trainer exceptional. As an example, what do you call the person who finishes last in his medical school class? Doctor. But there is a big difference between an intern and a board-certified specialist. When your health and wellness hang in the balance you want the most experienced doctor you can find.
And so it goes with Personal Trainers.
You want someone who excels at customizing creative and motivating workouts for you, not some Personal Trainer who basically serves as your own personal “repetition counter.” You want an expert with experience, credentials, and a long list of happy long-term clients.
Your decision to get fit again is a wise one, and one that will lead you to a longer life and more enjoyable days on this Earth. I applaud your decision and wish only the best for you.
Please feel free to print this article right now and use it as a checklist when shopping for your own Personal Trainer. It is my gift to you and will help save you time (and possibly money too) when finding a Personal Trainer in your area.
No matter how you do it, let me encourage you again to make fitness part of your daily life. I know you can do it, and I know you will love the results!