What to look for in a trainer

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What to look for in a trainer

by: Randy Behr | .
Stripes Guam | .
published: April 21, 2016

After you have decided to get a trainer, the next step is to get a qualified one. And remember this: just because they look great, doesn’t mean they must be a great trainer!

Anyone can say they are a trainer, but trust me, do yourself a favor and look for these five characteristics. 

1. Degree - A degree is a foundation for an individual’s career. Don’t worry about the school though.  This doesn’t mean if they have a degree they are a great personal trainer. And, this doesn’t mean if they don’t have a degree they aren’t a good personal trainer.  What it shows is the individual took the time and resiliency to follow a “career path” he/she is passionate about.  The degree is a great starting point.

2. Certification - Look for a credible organization, as there are dozens of organizations and companies that advertise on-line and in-person certifications. Find one that suits your needs and objectives.  Please see the below organizations that are very respected:

National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA)
https://www.nsca.com/

American Council on Exercise (ACE)
http://www.kqzyfj.com/click-7356170-11443383

National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM)
http://www.nasm.org/become-a-personal-trainer

International Sports Sciences Association (ISSA)
http://www.issaonline.edu/

American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM)
http://www.acsm.org/

This shows he/she has gone above and beyond the degree for continued education in their field.  Most certifications require a comprehensive exam and certain percentage to pass, so look for this.  Lastly, certain fitness organizations and agencies will only accept a specific certification, so do your homework.

3. Liability insurance -Policies that will protect the trainer as well as the client.  Each policy is different in terms of what they cover, such as professional, product, damage and sexual abuse as well as the monetary amount and the limitations. Educate yourself and seek out the company that works best for you. Also, many governing bodies such as NSCA, ACE, ACSM and others have their own reasonable insurance.

4. Client Testimonials - Don’t be afraid to ask clients that have worked with this individual whether or not he/she was professional, prompt, responsible, ethical, etc

5. Experience - Ask him/her what his/her strengths and pros and cons are. I encourage you to interview your trainer and ask questions so you know exactly what you are getting. What is their specialty?  How long have they been training, etc.?

After using these guidelines, you are certainly in a good position to make an informed decision on what to look for.

Also, many trainers will carry a portfolio around with the above information. But if not, don’t be afraid to ask to see it.

Of course, none of this guarantees anything, but these characteristics are a safe bet you will get a competent, professional individual whom will use science-based information to lead you to your goal.

In summary, not any one of these is probably more important than the other. But collectively, you should feel comfortable that you will have a positive experience!

For additional inquiries, services or questions, please submit inquiries to: rbehr@hotmail.com

Randy Behr -M.A., CSCS, MORR, Cooper’s  25 + years in sports & fitness; coaching, teaching, strength & conditioning as an Athletic Director, Health Educator, Sports Information Director, P.T. Education Director and Fitness Director with the NJCAA, USA Track & Field, Arena Football League, Olympic Training Center, and the California Football Association.

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