Like most of us, when you’re looking for a new doctor, a mechanic for your car, or even a CPA for taxes, chances are you research them or even ask friends for advice. So when it comes to starting an exercise program and hiring a personal trainer or fitness coach, you should do the same. After all, you want to make sure this person is well qualified and educated on the latest developments in the fitness field.
Having a professional by your side is more than a way to help you stay motivated, he or she can also keep you safe from injury whether you’re just beginning or you’re taking fitness to a new level.
Below, Holly Bruinsma, RTK, CEAS, an exercise physiologist with Florida Hospital, offers a few tips if you’re considering adding an exercise physiologist/trainer to your fitness routine.
- Does the trainer have a bachelor’s degree in exercise science from an accredited school? Accreditation emphasizes quality assurance and a commitment to continuous quality enhancement.
- Does the trainer specialize or have experience in the area you need the most – cardiac, diabetes, senior, balance, rehab knowledge for orthopedics, arthritis, cancer, stroke, etc.? This will help to train safely with specific goals and reach positive versus negative outcomes.
- Is the trainer’s certification current and is it from a nationally recognized organization? National Strength and Conditioning (CSCS) is considered the gold standard, but certifications from the American Council of Exercise (ACE) and National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM) are also widely respected.
- Does the trainer stay up-to-date on the latest research and developments in the field through attending workshops and seminars or subscribing to professional industry journals?
- Is the trainer CPR certified?
- Does the trainer perform a pre- and post-assessment? This adds value and sets specific measurable progressive goals to help you meet a healthier lifestyle.
- Is the trainer willing to speak with your primary care physician? This helps ensure a connected team healthcare approach for better outcomes for you.
- Will the trainer hold you accountable for your health choices? It takes a partnered effort by both the trainer and the client to reach healthier outcomes.
- Is the trainer genuine and does he/she care about me as a person? The trainer sends a positive and healthy rapport when he/she treats the person and does so with respect and are empathy to their needs.
- Does the trainer or facility allow flexible payments or schedules? If you can only come once a week or twice per month due to finances or schedule conflicts, this may be something to ask when searching for a trainer.
While having a personal trainer year-round may not be necessary, it’s a good way to help you get back on the road to fitness.