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As summer looms closer and closer and bikini season frighteningly stares us in the face, it may be time to recruit some professional help from a personal trainer to get beach body ready.  The first thing you must check out are the trainer’s certification, make sure they are legit! Training with a trainer who is not certified is like riding with a unlicensed driver. Yes they may know how to drive, but it is dangerous and a huge liability risk. Some common national certifications are ACE (American Council on Exercise), AFAA (Aerobics and Fitness Association of America), ACSM (American College of Sports Medicine), NASM (National Academy of Sports Medicine), and NSCA (National Strength and Conditioning Association). Most fitness facilities require that their trainers are certified, however when opting to training with a “private” or “freelance” trainer always ask if they are not only certified, but insured. If they are offended by this question and/or fail to answer/show documentation….run!

Can they meet YOUR needs? Once you have confirmed that they are certified it is time to see if they can meet your particular needs. This is determined mainly through their past and current experiences and areas of expertise. Again totally legit questions to ask. For example, if you are pregnant or are recovering from an injury a trainer without pre-natal training experience or expertise in rehabilitation is not for you. Don’t assume that since they are certified they can meet your specific needs. Special needs require special training, so ask.

Ask for referrals. Ok, so they are certified, and can meet your needs….now verify it, ask for a referral. At least one. Trainers are proud of what they have assisted in producing (their client’s results). So a good trainer should be very forthcoming with this information.

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Do you like them? Sometimes people want the best trainer on paper and get Mr. or Mrs. Not So Fun To Be Around. A good professional and personal relationship with your trainer is important so don’t underestimate this. Sometimes working out is hard enough alone…don’t torture yourself even more by spending time with someone you don’t like/get along with. You don’t have to be the best of friends, but you should feel comfortable around them and they should be a positive reinforcement above all else. Also is gender important to you? I have had many clients who initially wanted a male trainer assuming they were tougher/more qualified (P.S. Not true!). But if gender is important to you consider this as well. The best way to determine if they are the best fit is through a trial. My first sessions are always complimentary for this reason so inquire about any trial procedures a potential trainer may have.

Do they fit in your schedule and budget? Some people like to exercise in the morning, some in the evening. Can a personal trainer accommodate your schedule? It would be nice if your trainer was just “your” trainer, but since they probably aren’t, make sure your schedule can be accommodated within theirs. Also like any other position a “rookie” trainer and an “expert” trainer will differ in qualifications and therefore most likely price. Ask up front what their rates are and if they are negotiable. Most clients charge less when you commit to a larger program/package or even at times offer payment plans. Overall some trainers may have more flexibility than others, so ask in regards to scheduling and pricing. Personal training is definitely a form of customer service, so a good trainer will most likely be willing to be flexible to ensure your happiness.

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