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Men's Health

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Finding a Personal Trainer

How to get the best match between your personal trainer and your fitness goals

Where and how to look for a personal trainer continued...

If private training appeals to you, it makes more sense to use the Internet than the Yellow Pages to find a personal trainer in your area. A lot of personal trainers are independent business owners with limited promotional budgets, so they tend not to buy ads in more traditional outlets such as phone books or newspapers.

Certification is critical — after all, anyone with a mat and a few weights could pose as a trainer. Make sure your personal fitness trainer has been certified by at least one of the major national organizations, such as the American College of Sports Medicine, the American Council on Exercise, the National Strength and Conditioning Association, or the National Academy of Sports Medicine.

But remember, a list of accreditations doesn’t automatically translate into superior training skills. “Too often people focus on education. But if you have a trainer with average knowledge but excellent people skills, you’ll get better results,” Ross says. ”The best trainer in the world can’t help someone unless they can effectively communicate their knowledge.”

And don’t neglect client recommendations. They’re often the best, most accurate way of determining whether the trainer will be the right fit for you. Potential personal trainers should be ready and able to provide a list of sources. “Any trainer doing a good job should have a long list of satisfied customers,” Ross says. “I periodically ask clients who’ve had good results if it’s okay if people contact them. If a trainer is iffy about doing that, that’s a big red flag.” It either means the trainer doesn’t have much experience or, worse, doesn’t have a good track record.

Last and not least, make sure your personalities click. Nothing will kill a trainer/client relationship faster than dislike or discomfort between you. “Make sure you hit it off,” Florez says. “Do they listen to you, or do they seem like robots who are going to program you?”

Personal fitness training: It’s business, not personal

Having a personal fitness trainer can be a bit costly, especially if you want to use their services more than once a week. The National Strength and Conditioning Association’s survey of trainer prices found an average of $50 per hour, with a range of $15 to $100 per hour. Prices depend on region (urban areas are more expensive than rural areas), experience, and demand.

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