When you are navigating your season change, Physical Activity is the one element that can become a Pastime, a Project, be done with a Place (charity), or with your Person (or people!). There is so much promise in Physical Activity! But to avoid injury or to gain strength, you may need to start with expert guidance. Personal Trainer Ann Marie Henry gives us the inside scoop to choose YOURS.

Eight Essentials to Choose a Personal Trainer

  1. Check their education. The more education they have, the more they will understand the sciences behind exercise, the better your experience will be.
  2. Ask for their certifications. A certification from the National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM) or something similar that requires annual continuing education credits. Ask what was involved in earning it. Did the pre-certification require a hands-on class, complete with nutrition and exercise physiology? Was it all on-line training?
  3. Ask them their “why.” “Why did you choose to be a personal trainer?” Look for someone who wants to help a certain type of person–hopefully he or she will describe you. If not, you may want to move on to the next choice.
  4. Experience. Ask your potential personal trainer:
    • What is your model client like?  The personal trainer should have enjoyed working with people who have issues similar to yours, a ‘been there, done that, loved it’ attitude.
    • How many people do they train at a time?
    • How long have they been training others?
  5. Personality. You and your trainer need to be able to relate–to strike up a conversation and have some banter.
  6. Choose Group or Individual Personal Training. It is ideal to start with 1 on 1 individual training when you have been sedentary for a long time, or have very little exercise experience. Once you have learned the proper form for your exercise routines and you don’t need supervision all the time, you are ready to train in a group of 3-4 people at a time.
  7. Certified Personal Trainer at a gym vs Independent. Larger gyms take a big portion of what you pay for a personal trainer and typically have a high turnover. The gym markets you, and expects the trainer to up-sell you as an existing client. If you drop out, the gym may run after you. The trainer may not. An independent trainer will be more in tune to retain you as a client, without promotional opportunities because you are important to their livelihood.
  8. Medical clearance from your doctor. If you have chronic medical conditions such as a prolonged sedentary lifestyle, obesity, high blood pressure, or a recent surgery, see your doctor first. He may approve you to see a personal trainer but with certain restrictions based on your condition(s) and limitation(s).


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