Happy New Year: “How to choose a Fitness Trainer”

Happy New Year

As at the beginning of every New Year I am certain many of you have made New Years Resolutions for 2011. Whether it’s to loose weight, exercise more regular, make better food choices, or improve your overall level of health and fitness, a Personal Trainer can make the difference and turn resolutions into results.
A trainer can be your regular guide on the way to accomplish the desired goals or you can hire the Trainer on a consulting basis, designing a personalized program and update it periodically.
No matter who you choose, the trainer should have a motivating personality and a sound educational background in exercise science. Before hiring your trainer I suggest you interview several different ones to separate the good from the bad.
IDEA offers a Personal Trainer search engine that can help you find trainers in your area and give valuable information regarding their experience education and specialties. Visit www.ideafit.com for more information. You can find trainers also by looking in your local newspapers, yellow pages or check for referrals with your physician and therapist.
The following questions can be helpful when choosing a quality trainer (adapted from IDEA work-sheet “How to Choose a Quality Personal Trainer”):

  1. Does the Personal Trainer have a sound background in exercise physiology, anatomy, and injury prevention as evidenced by a degree or a certification through a nationally recognized organization (ACE, ACSM, NASM etc.)?
    A certification is proving at least basic knowledge in the field of fitness training!
  2. Is the trainer experienced in fitness training or a novice? Does he/she keep up with the latest in exercise science and research through memberships and associations?
    Membership in organizations such as IDEA, ACSM or ACE show that the trainer is making an effort to stay current!
  3. Is the trainer certified in CPR and first aid?
    A current certification gives you assurance that the trainer knows how to respond in an emergency!
  4. Is the trainer screening your health risk situation and ask for your physicians consent?
    Only if your trainer asks about past and current health risks can he/she design an appropriate exercise regimen!
  5. Does the trainer keep records of your meetings and progress?
    A professional trainer will help you establish realistic short and long term goals and assess your progress to help motivate you!
  6. Does the trainer have liability insurance?
    A professional trainer will be able to provide you with a copy of his/her insurance policy that will cover your expenses should you get injured through the trainer’s negligence!
  7. Is the trainer interested in helping you to maintain an overall healthy lifestyle?
    Exercising is only a part of a healthy lifestyle. Positive food choices, plenty of rest and sleep as well as stress management are other important pieces to the puzzle!
  8. Does the trainer demonstrate good listening and communication skills?
    Only if the trainer listens can he/she retrieve information necessary for a successful program design. Communicating effectively the hows and whys of the program will increase your motivation and ensure better results!
  9. Do you and your trainer click?
    In order to have a successful professional relationship it is important that you and your trainer get along!

I hope this year your resolutions make it past February and turn into the desired results so that 2011 is going to be the Healthy and Happy New Year you deserve!

In good health,
Hartmut Broring – M.S. Exercise Therapy

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