5 Things to Consider When Hiring a Personal Trainer

4 11 2008

So if you have read the other posts, you may have come to realize that you are frustrated with your current exercise routine or just your overall appearance and state of health. Maybe you have realized you need or want an orange county personal trainer; but how do you get a good one?

More and more people are beginning to regard an orange county personal trainer not as a luxury but as a necessity. They are realizing that, without proper guidance and support it is very difficult to initiate an exercise program. Unfortunately, virtually anyone can hang a sign on their door and call themselves a fitness professional. There now are more trainers than ever, substantially increasing your chances of making a bad choice. And there are no state laws requiring any kind of license. In fact you have to go through thousands of hours of cutting hair before you ever get a license but zero zip nada NO hours or license require to take someones health in your hands.

Honestly, any Joe blow on the street can say he is a personal trainer, and poof, he is one. I say this not to scare you, but to help you realize that you have a very important decision to make and will want all the facts. So how do you find the right trainer? There is not only a financial commitment on the line but also and more importantly your time, effort, and health. To make this decision easier, I have provided 5 steps to choosing the right personal trainer.

1. Check and assess the credentials

Although not mandatory, the majority of competent trainers decide to become certified as fitness professionals, which requires passing a detailed written examination and usually a practical exam. There are several organizations that certify personal trainers; they teach the same biological stuff because the human body is universal. However, many of them will have different training philosophies and program design. I highly reccomend NCEP, NASM, and ACE.

That being said, you must realize that simply because a person is certified does not mean he is an expert in the field of fitness. Any corporate gym will send a new trainer to a weekend course and have them working in the gym the next Monday. Certified implies that a trainer displays a basic knowledge of exercise, stretching and nutrition, but does not take into account many factors that ultimately determine a trainer’s competence. For example, would you rather take tennis lessons from Frank because he is certified and works at the local YMCA or from Andre Agassi who has proven results.

This is the difference between being certified and qualified. Check #4 to make sure your orange county personal trainer is qualified.

There are many trainers who possess book smarts and can pass a certification exam, but often are not able to communicate their knowledge to others in a clear, concise fashion. I have seen this all too many times. Certification is valuable as an initial screening tool but it has limited usage.

2. Find A Personal Trainer With A Physique That You Admire

A personal trainer should serve as a fitness role model. If you are inspired by the physique of your trainer, it can serve to motivate you to stay on a proper course. The ability to work with someone who has achieved an enviable physique through fitness can be a terrific source of inspiration and can keep you focused on your fitness goals. This is a true example of leadership by doing.

While it is true that someone with a great body is not always a capable trainer, one should look very skeptically at a trainer who is overweight or unfit. Some trainers are “Do as I say but not as I do”. It honestly blows my
mind how many fat personal trainers there are. This does not make
sense. A trainer who is out of shape dos not serve as a positive fitness role model. If the trainer is fat, you need to seriously question their knowledge of exercise and nutrition and their overall level of dedication that they will have for you. If they cannot achieve it on their own, then you can not expect to get results from them.

3. Find A Trainer With A Great Personality

A good Orange County personal trainer must possess more than just knowledge. This trainer has to relate to the needs of each individual trainee. Everyone is different and a good personal trainer must be like a chameleon. The trainer needs to be able to adapt to his client. He is not going to encourage Maxine the 85 year old grandma the same way he motivates Jack the 30 year guitarist for some crazy band.

While some people respond to a hard-driving, militaristic style of training(our buddy Jack), others need to be gently prodded and coaxed for maximum results(sweet and loving Maxine). Spend some time talking to the trainer and get a feel for his ability to communicate with you. If the encounter is anything but comfortable and encouraging, then choose someone else.

If you are not comfortable with the personal trainer’s persona, then next the 3 to 6 months are going to be pure hell and something you loathe doing. Your training sessions should be fun, exciting, and challenging; they should not be a chore and test of your ability to not snap and kill someone. Besides, you want to ultimately become friends with your personal trainer. If you could not see yourself hanging out with that person EVER, then why hang out with them 2 to 3 times a week.

4. Look For Several References and Success Stories

Any established and quality trainer will be able to provide you with references that you want. I think this is the most important aspect when looking for the right personal trainer. It is very easy to get these references and most orange county personal trainers will have a website with testimonials or success stories.

Check their website first and look for several testimonials. If someone only has a couple testimonials, they either are not getting results or are too lazy to track the progress of their clients; either way this is not the personal trainer for you.

Also check to see that their is a variety of success stories. Unless you are looking for someone that specializes in just one particular area, it is best to have a well rounded trainer. For example, you may want to lose weight right now but that does not mean you need a trainer that ONLY works with fat loss clients. This confuses many people.

Heres why…if the trainer is good (which if you follow these criteria he will be) then you will eventually hit your weight loss goal. Then what? Well then maybe you want to get better at tennis so you can smoke little miss whoever down at the club that seems to beat everyone. Well now you can stick with the same trainer IF he has experience training athletes. This will have several advantages but the biggest is that you will already have that working relationship. The trainer will already know where you came from and know all your weaknesses. And you have already had proven success with this trainer.

So again, look for success stories and DEMAND to see them. I think this is the most important aspect to look for when searching for a qualified personal trainer.

5. Evaluate The Fee Structure Of The Personal Trainer

Fees can vary greatly when it comes to personal training, ranging from as little as about $20 per session and going as high as $200 per session or more. Don’t think that a low-priced trainer is a bargain or that a high-priced trainer has some magical formula for success.

There are many things that will determine the fee structure including competition, location, reputation, etc. Be sure to ask what the price includes and whether it is by the session or monthly. I think personal trainers with monthly rates are more organized and more inclined to get results. If you buy a package of sessions, the personal trainer can slack off for the entire package until there are a few left and then turn on the burners with charm, knowledge, care, and consistency in order to get you to resign with them. Most trainers that charge monthly are way more consistent in their level of service.

Also look for trainers with guarantees. Any trainer that will put a guarantee on his training service is fully confident in his ability and has no doubt that you will get results. Either way, be sure to find something that fits your budget. That being said, also remember that you will save tremendous amounts of money by being healthy: no sick days off work, no doctor visits, no medication or prescriptions, lower insurance, no emergency hospital visits, etc..

In Closing

As a personal trainer myself, I need to point out that a lot of personal trainers out there are incompetent. I have worked in homes, corporate gyms, and private gyms and they are everywhere. The worst are usually in corporate gyms because any trainer that is worth his salt and has LOYAL clients, will work for himself. However, realize that there are uneducated, lazy, fat, careless trainers working all over. There are very few that I would actually invest my time and money with and you should be just as picky.

When looking for an Orange County personal trainer, remember these 5 criteria: credentials and certifications, a physique to admire, great personality, testimonials and success stories, fees and charges. Be sure to call your potential trainer and set up a FREE appointment with them before agreeing to any commitments.

Like what you read? Leave us a comment….

Innovative Results
Voted #1 Personal Trainers in Orange County by FOX LA News

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