Is your Trainer putting you in Danger?
5 Questions to ask before working with a Personal Trainer
Palm Beach Gardens, FL, February 18th: Fitness is a $20 billion dollar industry annually, nearly doubling the numbers from 10 years ago. It is also no secret to Americans that obesity has been on a drastic rise over the past decade. These numbers indicate that what currently being done in the fitness industry is not working regardless of how much money we spend on it. One of the first places to look to get the results you want is sure to be a personal trainer. Unfortunately, the fitness industry is largely unregulated which quite often leads to less than qualified people vying for your training dollar. In order to get the results and safety you pay for, here are 5 questions you need to ask before using any trainer.
1. Who are you certified by? While it should be a given that your trainer is certified, who they are certified by is something often ignored. Not all certifications are the same. An online or weekend certification is a bad sign. A good certification is from a nationally recognized certifying body that has a test that often takes months to prepare for. This helps to insure that you are dealing with a dedicated professional, not just someone who views it as a hobby or way to make money.
2. Do you have liability insurance? Good certifying bodies will often offer liability insurance to that certified professional. A trainer without liability insurance is going to leave you at great risk. Even under the supervision of a good trainer injuries can happen. This risk is drastically increased by poor training practices or judgments. Make sure that you are protected and this person’s insurance can help take care of you in the event of an injury. And if they aren’t willing to pay $130 annually to protect themselves and their clients, how can we be sure this person is a true professional?
3. Will there be an assessment before we start training? A good assessment is like planning out a route before leaving the garage. Without any method of determining your current physical status, abilities, goals, and potential risks, starting an exercise program is like driving across the country without a map. Lack of an assessment is another indicator this trainer might not be the best fit for you. A good assessment should leave you feeling like the trainer has fully evaluated and understands what you are capable of. A bad assessment merely puts the potential client through difficult tasks and leaves them feeling exhausted and often in pain. These types of assessments are simply sales tools used to make the client feel like they need more training. Remember, if you don’t assess, it’s just a guess!
4. Is there going to be a written program progressing towards my individual goals? From this assessment comes a program. The lack of a written program designed at least one month’s worth of sessions at a time is another red flag. Do you want this person whom you are paying money to work with merely giving you random exercises to keep you entertained, or do you want them to sit down and take the time to figure out what is going to be best for you to reach your goals in the fastest yet safest possible manner? Great teachers never walk in to a class without a lesson plan; great trainers should be no different. Having a program prior to the first session also shows that the trainer actually puts time and thought into your goals even when you aren’t in a session.
5. What was the last fitness related book you read and when was it written? This may be the most important question you ask. The answer tells you a lot about how seriously this trainer takes their job. Like any professional, trainers need to stay current. There is constant research and new information being presented in the fitness industry and ignoring the opportunity to be able to do their job better is a slap in the face to the consumer. A good trainer should be attempting to read a book (not a magazine) or other comparable educational resource each month. Anything less is unacceptable. As strength coach and owner of the #1 Gym in America, as voted by Men’s Health magazine, Mike Boyle likes to say, “If you are still doing what you were doing two years ago, you aren’t paying attention.”
With those 5 questions you should be able to get a pretty good idea of how seriously this potential trainer takes their job, which happens to be your body. You only get one body and the responsibility of the trainer is as great as that of your doctor or therapist. Making the wrong decision on a trainer can cost you more than just money. So take these 5 questions and know that you can find the right trainer for you who can help you safely accomplish your fitness goals.