What you should look for in a Personal Trainer
By: Kyle Hunt
Owner Hunt Fitness
With the influx of people jumping on the fitness bandwagon this time of year, many are looking at hiring the services of a personal trainer. I know personally at Hunt Fitness I have been extremely busy the first week of the New Year. With all of the personal trainers there are in the world it leads me to ask the question…how should you pick a personal trainer? As I began brainstorming what I personally would look for in a personal trainer, a few main points came to mind. I was able to come up with a “Personal Trainer Checklist” to go through before you hire a personal trainer. I hope this helps…
Check list to be Hunt Fitness approved!
*There are partial points awarded for some check points.
Check Point #1- Certification (1 point)
The first thing that gives personal trainers credibility would be their certification. It is too easy to acquire a certification for a supposed trainer not to have one. However, because it’s so easy you have to be mindful of how qualified it actually makes the person. There are certifications online that only cost $50 and involve passing a 50 question quiz. On the other hand there are certifications that cost well over $500 and involve quizzes, tests, practical exams and more. My main point here is make sure your trainer is certified but do not let that be the only thing you look for! This check is a pass/fail, you either get the point or you don’t.
Check Point #2- Education/Schooling (2 points)
Second on the list is education. About a year ago I would have told you that having a degree in an exercise related field is pointless. I would have said something along the lines of “it’s a glorified training certification” and I still would say that to an extent. The point is having a degree in an exercise related field widens your horizon on all aspects of fitness. Basically every class you take in the field will be the equivalent of having a certification in that aspect of fitness as long as you approach it as an opportunity to learn. Someone who has a bachelor’s degree also shows me commitment and the ability to learn at a higher level. Again it may not be the most important thing to look for, but it should definitely be noted. This check point it worth 2 possible points. (Partial points can be given to those who have an associate’s degree or a certain number of college credits)
Check Point # 3- Practical Knowledge (3 points)
Practical knowledge is right in the middle of the check list for a reason. It somewhat involves all the other aspects of the checklist but definitely deserves its own category. Practical knowledge involves knowing all aspects of fitness including training, nutrition, and supplementation as well as knowing how to implement them to benefit your clients. To gain practical knowledge it takes a constant drive to learn as much information as possible. However, there seems to be a line between people who have knowledge and those that have practical knowledge. Its seems as though a lot of people just regurgitate information, meaning they hear it somewhere and then assume they are now experts. An example of this is evident in those who are up to date on all the recent research on nutrition but if you gave them a hypothetical scenario of a client and asked them to make adjustments they wouldn’t have a clue! Knowledge is power but you need to be able to implement it! Partial points are given to those who have a decent amount of quality information.
Check Point # 4 – Experience (4 points)
As the saying goes, nothing really beats experience! There is something to be said for trainers who have been around for a long time and who have a great track record for getting clients results. I would say 2011 was my greatest year of development as trainer. One of the main reasons for that is the fact that I had my greatest workload of actual clients. I learned so much just by watching people develop and trying things out. This is definitely something you should look at when selecting a trainer! Partial points can be awarded.
Check Point # 5 – Versatility (5 points)
This is the big one and the one I feel should carry the most weight. The fact is every individual is different. Not everyone will respond the same way to a certain protocol. As a trainer you need to be able to adapt your training program to fit the individual and their goals. I see too many trainers who are set in stone to their one style of training or nutrition plans and just slightly modify it for everyone. If your workout programs look the same for everyone, there is a problem. Also if the nutrition plans you give out are basically “cookie cutter” diets that you give to everyone, yeah you guessed it there is a problem. Another thing to consider is training out of context. If you are not a bodybuilder or a physique competitor training like that is not going to be your best style of training. I see so many athletes who train like bodybuilders and focus their entire training regiment on a hypertrophy program. If you want to gain strength, power, explosiveness and functional mobility, bodybuilding training is not the most optimal means to your ends. Be mindful of the type of programs the trainer has their clients on. Of course partial points can be awarded.
To be a Hunt Fitness approved trainer you must receive at least 10 points on the checklist. This is just something to be aware of when you are looking to hire a trainer. I hope this acknowledges who the good trainers are and lets the poor trainers know they have some work to do!
Owner Hunt Fitness