What Makes the Best Personal Trainer?

With a new year comes the chance to refresh your fitness goals. One of the best things you can do to help meet those goals is to hire a professional. A good personal trainer is not just someone who plans your workout and makes sure you execute it properly; he or she is part coach, part motivator, part nutrition advisor and at times part therapist—helping you overcome mental and emotional obstacles that stand in the way of real results.

What to Consider When Hiring a Trainer

Learn how to choose the right personal trainer for your specific goals.

All of this is serious businessand so is the money you spend.You need to be smart about your investment and take the time to choose your trainer wisely. It's not a one-size-fits-all game: Certain professionals will be better suited to help you reach your personalized goals. So before you hire a trainer, take time to consider the following.

Be Selective

Don’t go with the first trainer you meet. As you begin your search, the American Council on Exercise recommends that first and foremost you make sure they are accredited by an NCCA accredited organization. Next, take some time to check out trainers with different training styles and strengths. If you are an introvert and don’t want to draw attention to yourself, you don’t want a trainer who shouts and yells at their clients for motivation. If you are interested in running a marathon or doing a triathlon, you might look for a trainer who specializes in those things rather than one who trains people for bodybuilding competitions. 

Take Ownership of Your Goals

Here's some tough love: Your trainer can't help you fulfill your potential if you don’t communicate exactly what you want to achieve. Think about getting a haircut. If you just sit down in the chair and let the stylist go to town, who knows what you’ll end up with? It’s your job to tell him or her exactly how you want your hair. Then it’s the stylist’s job to tell you if that hairstyle is possible with your type of hair. It's the same thing with a trainer. You have to share specific goals with him or her and what your time frame is for accomplishing them. A good trainer will be honest about the possibilities and lay out a plan of how to achieve what you want. 

Schedule a Progress Check

Schedule a progress check with your personal trainer so you can stay on track.

Take any job and within a few months of beginning your position, you will likely undergo a review. The same should apply to your relationship with your new trainer. Schedule, in advance, a date on which the two of you can check in and evaluate your progress. Do you feel comfortable asking your trainer questions about your body and health? Did you want to incorporate more strength training that you feel you aren't getting? If you aren’t happy with your progress, it might not be the best good match. It’s OK to talk openly about that and find someone who is a better fit for your personality and specific goals. It’s your body and your money—you deserve the best! 

Stay Accountable

A team can have the best coach available and still lose. It comes down to how the team performs and if they did the hard work required to win. In your relationship with your trainer there are two sides. He or she is there to plan for you and motivate you, but you have to do the hard work! If the results aren’t coming, take a hard look at what you are doing and be honest. Are you really pushing when you are supposed to? How are your eating habits away from the gym? A trainer isn’t a magic genie. You have to be responsible and do your part.

A trainer is a great tool to have in your quest for better health. But they are human and finding the right one is the key to your success. Be sure to evaluate your personal trainer options and be clear about your goals, so you can see real results.

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