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Health & Fitness

How to Find a Personal Trainer

We've got the 411 on how to find the best one-on-one training experience in Dallas.
By Kate Hull |
Photo courtesy of Flickr user torbakhopper

You’ve got your fitness goals lined out. You’re ready to make a change, get in shape, and take your health and wellness to the next level. You know you can do it—we know you can do it—but this time, you want that extra push, spout of encouragement, and reason to stay accountable. You’re ready to find a personal trainer. And we’re here to help.

In a rapidly growing industry—the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported the number of professional trainers will jump nearly 25 percent by 2020—it can sometimes seem overwhelming to find the right match for your style, fitness, and goals. Not to mention, the average price per hour of a personal trainer is a whopping $28 per hour. This is a big investment of your time and your money. So let’s make sure you find one that will stick and get results.

 A personal trainer is more than a fitness coach. They are responsible to guide you on an appropriate fitness and wellness regimen that matches your strengths, weaknesses, and goals, as well help you stay confident and motivated.

Give It Time

Just like you would when making any other big decisions, like finding a good doctor, take the time to shop around. Call your gym of choice to schedule a consultation. If you are planning on meeting their trainers, ask to have some face time with each person and prepare a few questions or know what you are looking for.

Do you need a trainer who is willing to motivate you with positive encouragement or are you looking for firm, drill sergeant-esque motivation? Ask potential candidates to describe their motivation style.

 Some gyms, like Dallas’ Equinox, offer a first-timers’ complimentary session to allow interested patrons a chance to meet trainers, check out a training styles, and get acquainted. Aaron Rodgers, the Personal Training Manager at Equinox in Highland Park, says good qualities to look for in a trainer are energy and a personality that suits your style.

Get the Certs

Just because they are fitness junkies doesn’t make someone a certified personal trainer. Know what certifications qualify your potential personal trainers to do the job. The top recognized certifications in the industry include National Strength and Conditioning Association and the National Academy of Sports Medicine programs. The NSCA’s Certified Special Population Specialist program enables potential trainers to provide an individualized approach, as well as access, motivate, educate, and train while focusing on individual needs—sounds like a solid personal trainer style to us.

In additional to national certifications, many gyms have programming specific to their gym that trainers go through prior to starting work. At Equinox, personal trainers must participate in the Equinox Fitness Training Institute courses that focus on exercise and cardiovascular physiology, anatomy, kinesiology, orthopedic injury, nutrition and program design. The end result, according to the mission, is a personal trainer who is able to design a program specific to the unique needs and goals of the gym’s members.

“Equinox takes a lot of pride in making sure our trainers are represented as fitness professionals and industry leaders.  Our in house education system (EFTI) has been forged to ensure our trainers are offering the pinnacle of fitness services to our members,” Rodgers says.

Style Is Everything

Personal trainers cover many different exercise and health genres, from current health trends to classic  strength training. What are you looking for? Do your research and know what type of programming you want or don’t want. Lee Boyce, a Toronto-based strength and condition coach, as well as fitness writer, warns trainer-seekers about candidates who preach trendy or fad workout styles in a Men’s Fitness article. “Does the trainer in question often implement the most popular and commercialized methods of training with clients?” Although methods like CrossFit and others can be extremely useful, look for trainers who offer well-rounded options.

Get Personal

You’ve found a few candidates, their certifications are on par, and you like their teaching style. It’s time to get to business. First, brush away any insecurities looming that may keep you from opening up to your trainer about goals, needs, and concerns.  Find someone who makes you feel at ease with where you are and where you want to be. Are you comfortable letting your guard down to get to your end goal and see results? Are the two of you able to communicate? A comfortable relationship is key to a good client/trainer relationship. Keep it professional, however. Your personal trainer’s business is keeping you on track and heading toward your end goal. 

Know Your Commitment

You can hire the best, most-sought after personal trainer in the industry, but if you aren’t willing to put in what they give out, you won’t get the results you desire. Make sure you know the commitment you are putting in to the program. You are entering a business relationship.

Show up to scheduled sessions, be on time, and be ready to give 100 percent. Eventually, you’ll be doing accomplishing workouts and seeing results on your own.

“One of my goals is to make clients feel less dependent on me compared to when they started,” Bryce told D Magazine of his training style. “If a client is truly willing to learn and absorb the things I have to show them, after a period of time spent training, they should be able to put together a basic workout for themselves when they’re in a pinch. As trainers, our job is to help navigate the right course of action for clients and steer them in the right direction.”

Your trainer won’t be there to make sure you get out of bed at 6:00am, or nix that third glass of wine the night before a workout, but they will make you work!

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