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It is the current practice in gyms these days to have a personal trainer provide an orientation session when you join up. A personal trainer, though, can go far beyond an intro to weights and machines. Here are some personal trainer qualities to consider as you go through the process of engaging a pro to help you work out right.

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5 Important Personal Trainer Qualities to Look For:

1) Professionalism

How does the trainer act? Dress? Policies? Paperwork? Does the trainer initiate an in-depth discussion of your goals and the amount of time needed to achieve them? Is a health history part of your initial discussion? Does this trainer foster dependence or have an “after X sessions, you shouldn’t need me” approach to training?


2) Certification

There are a large number of personal trainer certification programs available, 4,300,000 hits alone on Google. Four of the most well-known are:

American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) – exercise physiology and athletic performance oriented

• National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM) – resistance training and injury post-rehab oriented

• American Council on Exercise (ACE) – aerobic exercise oriented

• National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA) – strength for sports and athletic performances

In addition, all programs require first aid training of all their certified trainers. Every program emphasizes a different approach to fitness, so it’s definitely worth it to find out which organization a trainer is certified through.

3) Specialty

Some trainers have more than one certification. So it is with specialties. Most trainers are more comfortable or adept with a particular aspect of the fitness picture. Make sure your goals and the trainer’s expertise(s) line up.

4) Human Relations Skills

The most important people skill a trainer can have is being able to listen and understand. While agreeing on goals happens sometime during the initial meeting/session, paying attention to what is going on with you, both physically and psychologically, is what a good trainer does. Sometimes (although probably not often)


5) Teaching Skills

Who is the star/the center of attention? When you have a good trainer, the focus is on you, the client. Your workout, your goals, and your well-being are the priorities, nothing else. A good trainer can both explain and demonstrate whatever exercise technique you need to learn. Furthermore, a good trainer can think outside the box and figure out a safe way to exercise a muscle group or perform a movement if the conventional exercise doesn’t work for you.

When all is said and done, it’s important to pay attention to how you feel about a trainer. In a very real way, engaging a personal trainer is somewhat like engaging a hairdresser (no disrespect intended toward either profession). If, after two sessions, you haven’t established a comfortable working rapport, it’s time to concede that you’re not a match and you need to keep looking. The right trainer is out there; it’s simply a question of finding him/her.



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