Choosing a Personal TrainerLast updated: Jan 16, 2013
Whatever your fitness level, one of the most effective ways to jumpstart and improve your fitness routine is to work with an experienced personal fitness trainer.
What is a personal trainer?
A personal fitness trainer is trained and/or certified in aerobic, strength / resistance, and flexibility exercises. Some trainers also have education in exercise physiology, general physiology, and certain medical conditions such as arthritis, diabetes, and asthma. Many personal trainers see clients at gyms, but private trainers can offer sessions in their homes or at clients' homes.
A personal trainer can:
- Evaluate your fitness at the start and throughout the duration of your program
- Design a workout program that meets your unique needs
- Establish fitness and body weight goals and provide recommendations
- Maximize your results by ensuring that you exercise effectively
- Increase your cardiovascular fitness, strength, and flexibility
- Help improve your body composition by increasing your ratio of muscle to fat
- Teach you proper form to help prevent injury
- Teach you about each exercise, what muscles it works, and how it's going to help you
- Educate you about other aspects of health, wellness, and nutrition
- Increase the likelihood you will achieve your fitness and weight goals
- Motivate you to continue exercising when you tire of your workout routine
Even a few sessions with a personal trainer can be helpful at any fitness level. For example, if you’re new to exercise, a personal trainer can help identify your needs, establish reasonable, safe goals with you, and give you a plan to reach them. He or she also can familiarize you with all aspects of the gym and show you how the equipment works.
If you have been exercising regularly and would like to intensify your routine for better results, a personal trainer can examine your workout and identify ways optimize it.
Even very experienced exercisers can benefit from having a trainer correct mistakes, offer new perspectives, and intensify workouts. Many elite athletes, for example, regularly use personal trainers to ensure their workouts are efficient and effective.
Choosing a Personal Trainer
Some gyms require American College of Sports Medicine or American Council of Exercise certification for their trainers. Although certification doesn’t guarantee a trainer can provide all you need, it helps ensure that he or she has a basic understanding of exercises, exercise and general physiology, and limits and risks associated with age, varying levels of fitness, and health conditions.
If you are pregnant or have a health condition such as diabetes, heart disease, or arthritis, it's wise to find a trainer with a background in health and medical conditions or physical therapy so that he or she can design a program that's safe for you. Some trainers, particularly those with a physical therapy background, will even partner with your doctor to ensure your workouts are safe and effective.
Be sure your trainer:
- Is certified in personal training, has training in physical therapy, or fulfills criteria the gym uses to ensure safe, reliable, and effective personal training programs
- Has experience with people of every age and fitness level as well as your specific needs and goals
- Has a system for tracking and regularly assessing your progress
- Offers references from current and former clients
- Is reliable
- Is often available and flexible with hours
- Has cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), automated external defibrillator (AED), and first aid certification
- Is friendly and upbeat!
Your trainer should be focused on you throughout your training session. In addition, you and your trainer should have a comfortable rapport that allows you to ask questions. He or she should make you feel capable of and inspired to reach your goals.
If you feel dissatisfied with your workouts or are uncomfortable with your trainer's personality or approach, you should find a new trainer.
Personal Fitness Trainer Rates
Most personal trainers in New Jersey charge an average of $75 to $100 hourly, depending on expertise. Private trainers with outstanding results can charge more. You can check online for private trainers' rates or call your local gyms to compare prices.
Whether you're exercising for the first time, getting back to exercise after a break from it, or want to reach a new fitness level, you can benefit from enlisting the services of a personal fitness trainer.