How To Choose A Personal Trainer
n an industry that is inundated with
"professional" fitness trainers, it is a
"buyers beware" market. You should
be as choosey with hiring a personal
trainer as you are with hiring any other
allied health professional.
Today's personal trainers can be so special-
iz,ed, it is helpful to know what your goals are,
even before you begin. However, like going to
a doctor, psychiatrist or any other health care
provider, you always have a choice. If one per-
son doesn't fit, try somebody else.
The two most important qualities your
personal trainer must have are: 1) an educa-
tion in exercise science or related fields, and
2) a motivating personality. Your success
is dependent upon the trainer's ability to
develop an individual fitness program based
on your needs and motivating you to work
towards accomplishing your fitness goals in
a pleasant and stimulating atmosphere.
Before choosing a personal trainer, ask the
following questions to make sure the person
you select is both knowledgeable and enthu-
siastic about working with you to face the fit-
ness challenges your individual circumstanc-
es may dictate. Always make sure that your
personal trainer is responsible,
aware of injury prevention, has a
solid background in exercise and
fitness program methods.
Here are some simple ques-
tions you should ask:
• Does the trainer have a
degree or other educational
background in physiology,
anatomy, injury prevention and
monitoring of exercise intensity?
• Does the trainer have
experience in fitness training
and knowledge about the latest
research regarding health and exercise?
•Does the trainer maintain his/her certi-
fications with continuing education courses?
• Does the trainer require a release from
•Does the trainer have liability insurance?
• Does the trainer conduct business in
an organized manner and provide cancel-
lation policies, billing procedures and any
other policies in writing?
• Does the trainer provide a
personal mission statement and
a code of ethics?
• Does the trainer help you set
safe and realistic goals without
promising results sure to be
• Does the trainer develop
programs that are age-fitness
• Does the trainer understand
appropriate use of equipment?
Now that you understand
what you can expect to get from a trainer
by asking these questions, does the inter-
view match well against your expectations
Be careful to avoid the urge to be seduced
by price or the offer of"free" sessions to get
started on an exercise regimen. It can be
emotionally challenging for you to "fire your
trainer once you get started even though the
relationship may not be a great fit for you.
From toddlers to seniors, from the over-
weight beginner to the wheelchair user,
everyone deserves the right to wear a "fit"
label, and be supported and taught with
the latest, safest information.
"Having a trainer" is no longer viewed
as the exclusive territory of the elite or the
wealthy. Regular exercise can improve your
sense of well being — and enable you to
become the person you want to be. 0
Lori Burkow, M.Ed., C.P.T., is a recognized master
trainer from the Idea Association and a Medical
Exercise Specialist. The University of Michigan
graduate in exercise science has a master's
degree in education. Since 1990, she has been a
full-time personal trainer. Sites include the JCC in
West Bloomfield. Call (248) 760-4108.
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