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Finding the Right Personal Trainer

Years ago, only celebrities and the very wealthy hired personal trainers to help them achieve their fitness goals while meeting their needs for home-based services and privacy.

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But, with the burgeoning of the fitness industry, more people than ever before are working out with personal trainers either at gyms or at home. Increases in training programs and gyms that provide training sessions to members means that there are more personal trainers than there once were; once an extremely expensive proposition, hiring a personal trainer is now affordable for people who aren't wealthy.

The main reason for working with a trainer is to keep yourself on track with your fitness regime and diet in order to reach your long term goals. Having a commitment to work with a trainer makes it easier to do your workouts and to evaluate your progress

because someone else is encouraging you and checking up on your work. Trainers also have the added advantage of being upon the latest information about effective exercise; a good trainer will create exercise programs that keep you consistently improving, whether it's weigh loss, strength building or a particular event you're training for.

Choosing a personal trainer isn't difficult, but you do want to find someone who's qualified, whose schedule fits yours and whose personality is a good match for you. That may involve meeting or interviewing several trainers until you find the right one. Start by getting a list of certified personal trainers from the local Y, or a reputable gym or health club. Starting with an established organization for referrals can save you some time because most good fitness centers won't hire or refer personal trainers unless they've established credentials. To become a trainer, most professionals have done a B.A. in physical education, followed by fulfilling the requirements for a credential as a personal trainer. You want someone who understands how the body works, how exercise works and how to design a fitness routine for someone with your goals. That person should also be flexible enough to start where you are, not where you want to be. If a trainer indicates that he or she only works with people who have already established a high level of fitness and you're a beginner, you might want to look for someone who works with beginners.

If you don't want to make the monetary or time commitment to meet with a trainer one or more times a week, you may still want to consult with a professional to design a routine that will help you meet your goals. Before talking with a trainer, figure out what it is that you want to accomplish: do you want to run in the Boston Marathon next year, or just lose a few pounds and tighten up all over? Are there particular things about your body that you want to change? Do you want dietary recommendations or just a good workout plan you can stick with? Knowing what you want before you consult will make the time you spend with a trainer more effective.

  1. What are your fitness goals?
  2. Do you want the trainer to come to your home or meet somewhere else?
  3. Do you want day-to-day encouragement or an overall game plan?
  4. Do you want to work out alone or in a group?

Training rates vary from place to place with hourly fees falling between $20 and $100 an hour. Trainers should be certified in CPR and first aid, and professionals will carry liability insurance in case you're injured while exercising under their supervision. Trainers should understand and discuss injury prevention, and should ask you about previous injuries or health problems, medications and the general state of your health before starting you with a workout.

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