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Choosing a personal trainer

Hiring a personal trainer involves doing your homework.

There are many reasons why people choose to work with a personal trainer. For starters, personal trainers are great motivators and can help you reach your goals. They can also teach you new skills and keep your workouts fresh.

While hiring a personal trainer may seem, on the surface, a relatively easy task, there is more to it than meets the eye. Unlike other professions, there are no nationwide licensing requirements for personal trainers which gives you all the more reason to do your homework. Here are some guidelines to follow:

1. Ask to see their credentials.
At the very minimum, your personal trainer should have taken a course in person (not over the internet) and their skills assessed by a third party. Better yet, look for a trainer who has attained their accreditation through a well-respected organization. Two examples are the Canadian Society of Exercise Physiology (CSEP) and the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM). Both of these organizations require that the candidate have at least two years of post-secondary education in a health-related discipline. Furthermore, the examination of candidates by such organizations is very rigorous so you know you are getting a highly qualified trainer.

2. Experience matters.
How many years the trainer has been working in the field is important. Also consider if the trainer has experience working with other clients with similar needs or goals as yourself. Some trainers have gone on to obtain extra training or certifications to work with specialized populations such as older adults or pregnant women or cancer survivors. You want to be sure that the trainer has the right training and has the right skillset to take you where you want to go.

3. Know your trainer’s reputation.
Ask for referrals from other healthcare professionals such as physiotherapists, massage therapists, chiropractors and registered dietitians. You may also find value in getting recommendations from people you know and trust such as friends, co-workers and other gym goers.

4. Make sure your trainer has liability insurance.
Some gyms may have coverage for their trainers, but never make that assumption. In the same vein, make sure your trainer is up to date with their First Aid and CPR. In the event that something unforeseen should happen to you, you want to know that your trainer can help you out.

You’ll be dedicating a lot of time and money to a trainer so make sure you choose someone who is right for you.