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Choosing a Personal Trainer

Choosing a Personal Trainer

Once a luxury only enjoyed by movie stars, personal trainers are now available to almost everyone.

There are many great reasons to hire a personal trainer, particularly if your goals are related to losing weight, improving your fitness or changing your lifestyle.

But hiring a personal trainer can be daunting and risky, particularly if you don't have a history of exercising and working out.

If you're looking for a trainer, whether you've exercised a lot before or not, here are six questions to consider asking the trainer and yourself before hiring them.

1. Do you have references?

This is the best way to get honest information. A prospective trainer should be more than happy to give you a list of at least three clients who you can contact. Ask the references if they achieved their goals, how the trainer helped them to achieve them, and what they liked best about the trainer.

Also consider asking if they had similar needs to you and how the trainer responded to their individual needs. Questions you might ask to find this out include; "Did you need a lot of motivating? Was the trainer happy to come and visit you rather than you visiting them? Did you need to train at irregular hours, and if so, was the trainer happy to do so?"

If the trainer refuses to give references or acts as though it is a major inconvenience, look elsewhere.

2. What qualifications and experience do you have?

Make sure that your personal trainer is qualified or certified to help you to achieve your weight loss and fitness related goals.

The more qualifications your trainer has, the better. But beyond a reasonable level, qualifications aren't everything and there are many fantastic trainers who will be able to help you lose weight and improve your fitness that don't necessarily have bachelor's degrees or doctorates.

At the very least, ensure that your personal trainer has been certified by one of the many reputable agencies or institution who put there graduates through rigorous and thorough testing to ensure a minimum level of competence.

Most important of all, make sure your trainer is certified in CPR/First Aid.

3. What is your training/exercise philosophy?

A credible trainer should be able to explain a philosophy of exercise training. You don't need a doctoral dissertation here, only a description of how they help clients reach their goals. How do they train clients? How do they motivate them? Is there an assessment process? Find out as much as you can about how they work with clients to achieve goals.

What you are looking for here is a reflection of trainer credibility. If the trainer says something like "I kick my clients' butts. No pain, no gain, dude", thank them for their time and move on. Be an intelligent consumer. Ask for specifics and clarification if you don't understand something. This person is going to tell you how to exercise and give you lifestyle information, make sure you are confident that they know what they are talking about.

4. How much do you charge and how do you expect payment?

Prices for personal fitness instruction vary widely based on where you live and trainer qualification and experience. As with everything else, you usually get what you pay for, but there is no guarantee that the most expensive trainer will be the best suited for you and your goals.

Talk to other people who have used fitness trainers. Or call health clubs near you to determine the average rate in your area. If the trainer is meeting you at your home, expect to pay slightly more than average. If you are meeting at a health club, prepare to cover the cost of a guest fee if there is one.

Get specifics on all fees and how payment is to be made. Some trainers charge on a per session basis, while others offer packages and discounted rates for a given number of pre-paid sessions. Some accept only cash. Others accept checks and credit cards. Most fitness trainers have some sort of cancellation policy. Agree on all financial obligations before the first session and insist that both parties sign a billing contract.

Some personal trainers even offer discounts for group bookings. In this context "group bookings" usually means you and a friend. Instead of charging you both the full fee for an hours personal training, some trainers are happy to charge you each a slightly reduced fee for a shared hour.

Avoid at all costs the trainer who responds to a question about fees with statements like "How much can you afford?" or "How much are you looking to spend?" This is someone who has their wallet, not your weight loss or fitness goals in mind.

5. How do they look?

Don't base your selection solely on physical appearance, but the physique of your personal trainer will tell you something about there experience and knowledge of fitness and weight loss.

Just be careful. A person with a flawless-looking body may not know the first thing about safely teaching you how to achieve your own goals. This is especially true if they have achieved their own results through things like drugs, eating disorders or exercise obsession.

The person you hire will be teaching you skills and lifestyle habits and doesn't need to look like a super model or Mr. Olympia finalist. But trainers do need to practice what they preach. Let's face it; are you going to respect someone's opinion if you're in better shape than they are? Probably not.

6. Are you comfortable with them?

Above all, make sure you choose a trainer with whom you feel comfortable. Hiring someone with superior training knowledge is worthless if you don't feel comfortable being around them and accepting their advice and guidance. You need to trust, respect and feel at ease with them.

You wouldn't buy a pair of exercise shoes without at least trying them on to see if they're comfortable. The same concept holds for hiring a personal fitness trainer. Set up an interview, ask the right questions, and follow your instincts for the perfect fit.

Good luck finding the perfect personal trainer for you and thanks for visiting weightloss.com.au.

Copyright Ultimate Weightloss.

This article was written by Scott Haywood.

Scott is the editor of weightloss.com.au. Scott has developed an expertise in fitness and nutrition, and their roles in weight loss, which led him to launch weightloss.com.au in 2005. Today, weightloss.com.au provides weight loss and fitness information, including hundreds of healthy recipes, weight loss tools and tips, articles, and more, to millions of people around the world, helping them to lead happier, healthier, lives.

You can follow Scott on Google+ for more interesting articles.

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