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Ask the Expert: Finding a Personal Trainer

Hilton Head Health

Q:  How do I find a good, reliable, experienced personal trainer?

It is very important to find a good personal trainer.  This includes many different aspects like convenience of time/location, personality connection, training philosophy, knowledge of specific health issues, nutritional philosophy, and methods of motivation.  When you’re first getting started, this might seem a little overwhelming – use these steps to make it an easy process:

1.  Research.  The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) and the American Council on Exercise (ACE) are highly accredited organizations that certify personal trainers.  Trainers certified by ACSM are required to have a bachelor’s degree in a related field.  Both organizations provide “pro finders” on their websites.  Simply follow the links below, plug the information in for your area, and it will pull up a list of ACSM / ACE certified trainers in your area, along with contact information. 

ACSM Certified Trainers: http://forms.acsm.org/_frm/crt/online_locator.asp

* You have the option to select a specific certification level, or leave it blank for all levels.  Recommended levels to search under for general population are – ACSM Certified Health Specialist or ACSM Certified Personal Trainer.

ACE Certified Trainers:  http://www.acefitness.org/findanacepro/default.aspx

2. Interview.  It is important to interview the trainer on your personal key points of interest.  Questions may vary.  What is your average clientele? When are you available?  What is your training and nutrition philosophy? How would you describe your training style?  How often will you change up my routine?  What happens if I do not show up for a session?  Will you travel to my home?  Do you have experience with my injury/limitation?

3.  Client References.  Ask the trainer for permission to contact a couple of their clients as references.  You might ask what their most and least favorite thing is about working with the trainer.  Ask how long they have been working with them, how they rate their success, and what they attribute it to. 

4.  Trial Period.  Complete a trial period prior to signing up for a large package.  Commit for one month at the most, to start, and then go from there. 

5. Do Your Part.  Remember, your dedication and actions when you’re not with your trainer are also important.  Make sure you are owning up to your part of the routine. 

Have a question?  The healthy lifestyle experts are here to help!  Email cmaddox@hhhealth.com with your question and check back every Thursday for our feature column.


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