After the brutal winter we had this year - which was almost immediately followed by mid-summer-esque temperatures - we weren't left with much spring time to gradually shed off our heavy winter clothes. From heavy jackets one week to bathing suits the next, this fast transition may have you scrambling to "get in shape" for summer.

Whether you want to look great in the new bathing suit you bought, or run a summer 5k without knee pain or fighting for oxygen, you may have decided this is the time you will hire a personal trainer.  With every gym advertising trainers, and dedicated personal training studios popping up in every town, you may be undecided on how to choose the right one for you. After all, you are making an investment and you want to make sure it will pay off for you.

In this weekly series, we’ll examine how to determine if personal training is right for you, how to decide which personal trainer to hire, and how to fit the cost of personal training into your budget.

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First, let’s answer this question: 

What is personal training?

The field of personal training has greatly evolved since the days when bodybuilding dominated the field. Trainers are no longer muscle bound mutants who burp up protein shakes while occasionally watching your form between checking their biceps out in the mirror. This is not to say these “trainers” don’t exist anymore, but the field has greatly changed.

Today’s trainer should still be in “shape” but not exclusively versed in body building.

The job of your trainer is not to walk you from machine to machine counting your repetitions, but rather to improve your overall health and quality of movement while achieving your goals.  Many trainers only include “machines” on a need-be basis. Most people should be working out by challenging our bodies to move dynamically through space with or without external load.

That means your trainer should keep you on your feet while making you move around with or without weights …A LOT. Think about it, most people sit down for 8-9 hours a day, why should we be sitting while working out?!

It is very important for personal trainers to practice what they preach. Your trainer doesn’t have to be a robot that runs off kale and grilled chicken, but they should definitely lead by example.  Your trainer should never ask you to begin any exercise or dietary suggestion they have not completed and mastered first.

Your physique should not be the sole goal of your trainer. The goal should improve your overall health and wellness while staying focused on the end result.

Trainers should be knowledgeable of your goal. Like any other field specialties have arisen in the personal training field. Some specialty areas in personal training include

  • fat loss
  • physique training (for competition)
  • post rehab, helping clients transition from the world of physical therapy to the demands of everyday life
  • power lifting
  • body building
  • sport specific
  • movement correction
  • youth training
  • and so much more….

The goal when selecting a trainer isn’t to select one who “specializes in everything” but rather a trainer whose specialties align with your goals.

Next up, Who is Personal Training For?