*Written by Jasmine Ben Rached
Looking for a Personal Trainer? Here are 6 things to look for:
When I watch personal trainers work with their clients at the gym, I’m often not impressed.
From what I've seen, personal trainers may have a tendency to get in your face and make you feel “less than” hence why I am grateful for people like my Mom and Dad who are full of kind words and encouragement that helped me lose over 40 pounds.
While I’m privileged to have personal trainers for parents, I know finding a personal trainer who makes you feel comfortable can be challenging. But they're called "personal" trainers for a reason -- they're here to guide you to your personal fitness goals and to do so, they need to fit with your personality.
The number of personal trainers in America will jump 24% by 2020, according to the U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics. As the field increases, clients will need to do more research to find the perfect fitness coach. It's important to consider everything from what your trainer wears to how they talk.
Here are six things you should look for in a personal trainer:
1. Does my personal trainer have a National Certification from an accredited organization?
Trainers should have -- and be able to show you -- an appropriate fitness certification for their area of expertise.
To become certified, personal trainers must pass an exam through accredited organizations such as The American Academy of Sports Medicine (ACSM), the National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM) or the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA).
Most exams cover exercise physiology, training and exercise procedures, nutrition and functional anatomy of the body and weight management. Each organization's certification exam will ask different questions. You can see an exam overview here.
Trainers should also stay up-to-date with the latest fitness trends and latest research published in scientific journals.
2. Do they train in a safe and effective environment?
Be leery of the guy or gal who says they will “train” you in the park or in their garage. It is important that you train in an environment where you are not putting yourself at serious risk for injury. Even the gym has potential safety hazards - you need to make sure you are training in a safe, open, and uncluttered environment. Proper insurance must be procured by the trainer and the place of training. A personal trainer is responsible for your safety AT ALL TIMES.
3. Is my Personal Trainer patient?
Patience is the key to a good client-trainer relationship. Personal Trainers should understand that what works for one client may not work for another. He or she should do an assessment of your body when you first meet to familiarize themselves with your needs.
Trainers should also find a comfortable pace for their clients. Some clients may progress at a faster rate, while others may require more coaching and assistance.
My mom has commented time and time again how she loves teaching and the journey of helping people find their physical and mental well-being. As she so aptly puts it, being a personal trainer is being a personal therapist, and the good ones have A LOT of patience.
4. Can my personal trainer communicate?
Is your trainer effectively communicating proper technique and form in an easily understood way? Does he/she listen to your concerns, needs and goals? I sincerely don’t know of any other places like Body by Pam that go above and beyond. I’ve witnessed my mother accompany clients to Weight Watcher meetings, go out of her way to help client’s with their food log and council them concerning their food selections. My father does the same and is creative and goes for hikes with his clients to encourage that enthusiasm for physical activity.
5. Is my Personal Trainer professional?
While it's important to maintain a close relationship with your trainer, you also need to make sure there also needs to be a level of professionalism.
Both my parents come from the hospitality industry, so when you are a client at Body by Pam, they have in mind that you are receiving a service similar to one they would receive at a five star hotel. There are snacks and water provided, grabbing clients a towel if they need one.
The duration of your training session, the location and the experience level of your personal trainer will dictate the cost of your session. But remember- you get what you pay for, so pay attention to the value rather than cost alone.
Lastly, the clothes your trainer wears should be athletic and simple. The attention should be on you and not on what your trainer is wearing... or not wearing.
6. Personality! Are they personable?
As a client, you want to feel comfortable and trust that your trainer has your best interest in mind. Do they present a comfortable, safe setting for your workout?
Once you have established what kind of personal trainer you want, you can start looking for them.
The American Council on Exercise and IDEA, the world's largest association for fitness and wellness professionals, have online tools that can help you locate the personal trainers available in your area and filter your results to cater to your activity of interest, price range and gender.
Best of luck to you all in your fitness journey! If you are curious to learn about the trainers we have at Body by Pam- click the link.
*Jasmine Ben Rached is a 2016 graduate of Notre Dame de Namur University with a B.A. in Communications. She is heir apparent to Body by Pam and constantly works on keeping up with her parents, an impossible task.