By John Hand –
Motivation is always critical when it comes to starting or enhancing a workout. Unfortunately, it is often in short supply, and people never get off their duffs and start going to the gym. They repeat the same monotonous routine, whether it is effective or not.
Lining up a personal trainer may be the answer for motivation and insight. Fortunately, there are plenty to choose. There are almost 400,000 personal trainers in the U.S. alone. They have an average age of 38, and 60 percent are men, according to the athletic review site RunRepeat.com.
These stats may explain why almost 55 percent of their clients are men, The Global Health & Fitness Association reports. The association also notes that those hiring trainers tend to be on the younger side of life, with almost 40 percent being millennials.
This means that the industry rakes in over $10 billion in annual revenues. It, however, doesn’t mean choosing the right trainer is easy. Not every trainer is for every client, and vice versa.
Hiring personal trainers also can be expensive, typically between $60-$70 an hour. Some with more experience and accreditations go for even more, according to GoodRx.com. Make the wrong choice, and a person loses time and money—and doesn’t get decent workouts.
The best first step in picking a personal trainer is determining one’s fitness goals. The Human Fit Project suggests these could include anything from improving technique to training for a specific event, like a marathon or Spartan Race, or just needing guidance and encouragement to get back into a workout routine. Identifying what’s needed is essential because many trainers specialize in different areas of exercise. For example, some may work on running and boosting cardiovascular endurance, while others may focus on muscle development, flexibility or general health.
The next step in picking personal training is matching personalities. If hard-earned dollars are spent on time with a trainer, it is a good idea to like or at least respect that person. Being self-aware of what motivates one is critical. It is good to know if someone needs a trainer who jokes around and is laid back to make their workouts enjoyable or if a stricter instructor is better to get the most out of each session. Take advantage of the many gyms that offer free informational sessions with a trainer before committing. It will provide a chance to gauge the demeanor of the trainer.
Beyond personality, it is also essential that a trainer knows what they are doing. Besides making workouts more effective, it also makes them safer. No one wants or needs an unqualified trainer inappropriately guiding someone with weights, stretches or cardio exercises. Thankfully, most trainers go through accreditation programs.
Never hesitate to ask prospective trainers about their credentials. There are a variety of organizations that offer certifications. GoodRx.com notes some of the more reputable certifying organizations include the National Academy of Sports Medicine and the American Council on Exercise. There are others as well.
As with any service arrangement, it is also wise to ask about a trainer’s history. Ask how many years they’ve been in practice and their focus. Find out how many clients they work with at a time. If a trainer has been in business for a while and has a Rolodex of clients, chances are they’re a quality trainer. Of course, if they don’t have experience and only a limited number of clients, they may provide a negative experience.
Word of mouth, as with anything else, is also a source for finding the right trainer. Friends tend to give honest feedback on the good and bad of anything.
Weeding out trainer quirks is also important. It may not be apparent, but they are a way to identify red flags. For example, a trainer constantly on their phone isn’t paying enough attention to their clients, making them unworthy of anyone’s time or money. Adaptability is another important characteristic. A trainer who can navigate a packed gym and keep the workout at a high level is extremely valuable.
The bottom line is there is effort in picking the right trainer before effort at the gym to get a great workout. Come up short on the first part, and the second part won’t deliver much in return for the time and money spent.