How to choose a personal trainer

Fitness has now become a religion in India, a rage , something that everyone follows but knowledge is limited to only a handful.
Once it was a luxury that only the riches could afford, many of us were still bugged by the pictures we saw of celebrities endorsing their 6 pack abs by the help of their Oh-my-God-expensive personal trainers.
But now, times are changing. It’s not a rocket science to find a suitable personal trainer. With evolving times, the area of concern has also changed, now one needs to assess a lot of factors apart from funding. Every day I come across people sharing their apprehensions with health club attendant about hiring a personal trainer. I could easily relate with all those and thought of penning it down for those in need
1) Will he be able to understand my needs?
2) Is he going to push me beyond my limits?
3) Is he going to fool me by only charging sessions and cooking reasons for slow results?
4) What if he gets too personal with me? I don’t want him to touch me unnecessarily

I think it’s perfectly normal to be concerned about these things as a personal trainer is an important and inevitable part of your daily fitness regime.
Based upon the apprehensions stated above , I am listing down a few criteria’s that you should keep in mind before choosing a personal training.

1)  Identify the need – First and foremost , you need to realize and assess if you really require a personal trainer , if you do so , then identify the key areas where you would like him to support you , areas where you need the maximum strength and motivation. Just don’t hire a personal trainer to count your reps and standing next to you when you run on a treadmill. You need his / her expertise in making your workouts fun and your techniques better. Sometimes personal trainers are only hired on the basis of social or peer pressure. Do analyze before you approach for personal training.

2)  Education – Once you have decided to hire a personal trainer , the next thing is to  check for the education background ,degrees’s, certifications done , workshops attended and thorough knowledge of human body , diet and nutrition. As  we say when we don’t go to doctor if he doesn’t have a degree then why are we training with trainers who do not qualify on the educational grounds. In India anyone can become a personal trainer, if he/she has worked out in a gym for few months ,they qualify as a “FITNESS EXPERT” . Please do not fall prey to this and ask for the trainer’s education and his credentials. Usually gyms put a profile of the personal trainer on there notice board. In India the education varies from degree in physical education to various national and international certifications like Certified Personal Trainer from ACE,ACSM,NCSF,NSCA,NASM, Classic Fitness to name a few. Some organizations also provide a pocket card which has to be  carried by the personal trainer at all time. The card will mention the course he/she has done along with the expiry date of the certificate. Do not shy away from asking about the trainer’s education ,it might save you in the long run.

3)  Area of Specialization – Ask him the specialization he has done,  every client is different and they sometime require different approach. Someone who has done  aerobics or zumba trainer certification may not be beneficial as a personal trainer. If you are pregnant then you would be needing that your trainer should know about anti-natal fitness, someone who is back to the gym after a injury would be needing a post rehab trainer, a athlete would be needing expertise on sports conditioning. If you have got problems like high blood pressure or diabetes or low back pain you would require your trainer to expertise in special population.  These are the key areas where you need the expertise of  your trainer. Just don’t limit yourself with weight loss plans.

4)  Ask for feedbacks/ references – You have all the right to ask him for feedbacks from the people he has already trained or worked with. It’s good to know his key strengths through testimonials from the people who have been in your position, they are more likely to understand the challenges you are facing. Ask him atleast 3 references and also go through the testimonials on the website, notice board etc.

5) Talk/ Discuss – Developing a personal, yet professional relationship with your trainer is very important. Trust your instincts. Ask yourself if you think you could get along well with the trainer and whether you think the trainer is genuinely interested in helping you. The personal trainer you select should motivate you using positive, not negative, reinforcement. You should just be comfortable while he is around. You should tell him your expectations, your goals at the beginning rather then waiting till the last month. Tell your trainer the challenges you face as a client. Communication is the key for a healthy client trainer relationship.

6) Finances – Personal training fees vary based on a trainer’s experience and reputation, facility prices and geographic area, but they are well worth the investment. Although you may meet with your trainer more frequently at first, your financial investment should decrease as you become more independent, knowledgeable and fit. Look for options also sometime the clubs have offers where the personal training fee for 3 months or 6 months become cheaper then 1month fee. You can also look for couple personal training packages where the clubs or the personal trainer’s give you a discount.