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Should You Invest in a Personal Trainer?

Posted Aug 04 2009 5:52pm

personal_trainer If you are trying to lose weight or get into shape, you may have considered hiring a personal trainer.  Unfortunately, I’ve seen many people waste their money on personal trainers, spending hundreds or even thousands of dollars, only to see very little improvement or give up.

There are two things that influence the success of a personal training program: 1) The Personal Trainer and 2) You.  If both people aren’t properly invested, working with a personal trainer is as good as getting a car wash on a rainy day.  So, if sessions with a Personal Trainer seem appealing, consider the following:

1. The Personal Trainer: If a personal trainer doesn’t take their job seriously, there is a good chance you are going to spend a lot of money for very little return.  Here are five key things you want to understand about your potential personal trainer:

  • Credentials: There are a variety of organizations that certify individuals as personal trainers.  For a little money and time, the certifications are not that difficult to come by. Although there are always some exceptions, the best personal trainers tend to have a college level degree in a related field (E.g., sports medicine, Kiniesiology, Physical Therapy, etc.) AND a certification in PT.
  • Experience: With experience comes savvy about different conditions, body types, challenges, etc.  You want someone who has dealt with individuals like yourself so they know what works and what doesn’t.
  • Referrals: Ask the trainer if they have any references or individuals you can speak to regarding their experience and ability.  Be sure to get a couple references and that they are or were legitimate clients.  Hint:  If they gush just a little too much, be a little skeptical.  Questions to ask:  What were their goals?  Did they achieve them?  How long did it take?  What did they like and dislike about the personal trainer?  Would they recommend them?
  • Look: Call me prejudiced, but if the trainer doesn’t look the part, you probably don’t want to use them.  Sure, there are ranges of healthy and fit.  So don’t be too judgmental.  However, if the trainer doesn’t take good care of him- or herself, it may be a sign that they won’t push you to do the work you need to do to see the results.
  • Personality: Although you surely want to feel comfortable with your trainer, you are still hiring them to do a job.  You want a work out, not a gossip session.  Be leery of the extra chummy types.

2. You: You and your commitment are almost as important, if not more so, than your personal trainer’s ability.  Here are a few things to consider before spending your money:

  • Goal Setting: Make sure that you have realistic goals that are attainable.  Setting goals that are too lofty implies you may have unrealistic expectations and could be setting yourself up for failure.
  • What is Your Motivation?: Think about why you want to invest in this process.  Is it for yourself?  Is it to impress someone?  Is it because your Doctor recommended it?  Really be honest with yourself and understand what is motivating you.  If you are doing this because of other people, your motivation might not be sustainable.  The best reason to invest in yourself is because YOU want to.
  • Acknowledge the Hard Work Ahead: In all honesty, if you think because you hire a personal trainer you will be fit, you are delusional.  It is important to realize that a personal trainer is there to give you the tools and the knowledge you need to be successful…not to work miracles.

Have you hired a personal trainer?  What was your experience?  Did you think it was worth the price?

Related Topics:
Top 10 Ways to Know Your Personal Trainer is Worthless

Is Your Personal Trainer Unethical?

What Should You Spend on Exercise?

Are You Predisposed to Stick to an Exercise Program?

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