The golden standard for a Personal Trainer like Tony is a Bachelor of Science or Bachelor of Arts degree in an exercise related field such as exercise science, exercise physiology, kinesiology, and or athletic training. These 4 year curriculums guarantee a base line level of knowledge pertaining to functional anatomy and guidelines for exercise prescription. personal trainers can be sneaky with their credentials, so always confirm what their specific college degree was in. A college degree in political science will offer no insight into functional anatomy or exercise prescription.
The second ranking for a personal trainer is certification. Just being certified isn’t enough because there are literally hundreds of different personal training certifications. Several certifications are complete scams, if you have a few hundred dollars you can obtain certification online. Make sure your trainer is certified through a nationally recognized organization such as the American Council on Exercise (ACE) http://www.acefitness.org, American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) http://www.www.acsm.org, National Strength & Conditioning Association (NSCA) http://www.nsca-lift.org, National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM) http://www.nasm.org. Several of these certifications also have trainer locators on their sites to find local trainers near you. Also each certification above mentioned also has several different types of certifications each specializing in something different. Make sure the certification your trainer has is the most appropriate for your goals. If you are unsure if the certification is valid go onto the website and find out what credentials are required to become certified and find out about the testing procedure. The more qualifications required to even take the test the better and be very weary of any certifications done online exclusively.
Does the trainer have experience in fitness training? 2-3 years of full time training experience should be enough time for a trainer to have experience with a wide variety of different populations. Trainers working part time should have 3-5 years of experience. If you have a special medical condition or orthopedic concern, inquire if they have experience with that specific condition. Obtain references from those specific clients that have similar conditions.
Most certifications require you to complete a certain number of hours of continuing education each year. Find out if he or she keeps current with research through association memberships, journals, or educational events such as IDEA or NSCA. If a trainer has not attended an educational event in 1-2 years you can be rather self assured they are not certified by a reputable organization and are not keeping current with personal training research and other training modalities.
Is the trainer CPR certified?
Does the trainer require a health screening or release from your doctor?
Can the trainer provide you with references from other clients or established industry professionals familiar with the trainer’s knowledge and abilities?
Will the trainer keep a record of your workouts with a tracking system and update your medical history periodically?
Does the trainer have liability insurance?
Does the trainer provide you with clear cut cancellation policies, billing procedures and any other policies in writing? A 24 hour cancellation policy is quite standard in our industry.
Is the trainer within your budget? Trainers can vary in price from to 5. Education, experience, and how booked they are play a major component on trainer pricing. If price is a concern find out if the trainer
offers small group training discounts or half hour sessions. If you have more specific goals or have special medical/orthopedic concerns it is well worth paying a few dollars more for a more qualified, experienced personal trainer.
Is the trainer available when you want to work out? Finding out all of this other information is useless, unless the trainer is available when you want to train. Working around your trainer’s busy schedule and not working out when you have time is going to wind up in failure.
Does the trainer help you set safe and realistic goals without promising unattainable results? As a rule of thumb 1-2 lbs of weight loss per week is safe and effective. Anyone promising more than that is not practicing safe weight loss techniques or is a liar. Use common sense as your guide. If it sounds too good to be true you already know the answer run for the hills.
Is the trainer willing to explain and put in writing his or her workout methods and the principles and reasoning behind exercise program decisions and nutrition philosophy.