Personal Fitness Trainers: General Info

A personal trainer is a professional hired as an advisor for issues of health, nutrition, and fitness. Personal trainers judge an individual’s personal needs, lay out workout plans, provide simple dietary advice, monitor their clients’ progress, and provide the incentive to stick with a program. Personal trainers can be hired independently, but are commonly provided through gyms and health clubs, often as part of a package fitness deal.

Qualifications and medical capacity of a personal trainer

All reputable trainers will have certification from a qualified fitness commission, with the four most reputable being the NSCA, NASM, ACSM, and the ACE. In addition, the better trainers will possess a college degree in physical education or a similar field. Trainers are not qualified to give advanced nutritional advice or to serve in any sort of medical capacity beyond providing basic first aid and CPR, both of which are required for professional certification.

Personal training sessions: how long and how much?

Most training sessions will last approximately an hour and cost anywhere in the range of $30 to $100. Occasionally, trainers contract themselves for monthly or yearly fees, rather than charging by the hour.

During the first session the trainer will evaluate the client’s strength, stamina, flexibility, and often percentage of his or her body fat. The trainer will then use this information to recommend a regimen of exercise. In many cases, no further contributions will be necessary on the trainer’s part. However, the client may choose to continue attending sessions, particularly if he feels the need for added motivation, or if a complex fitness program is undertaken.

A typical workout routine provided by a personal trainer

Workout routines will usually include a warm up, a focus on strength exercises and cardiovascular exercises, and a cool down. Initial exercises will likely be simple squats, lunges, pushes, and pulls, with an emphasis on balance and posture. Machines will probably be used only lightly at first. Some trainers may add exercises to increase coordination as they see fit.

Warning signs of an unprofessional personal trainer

In general, one can rely on the skill and competence of most trainers provided by gyms and health clubs, but should nonetheless keep attuned to certain signals that a trainer may be less-than-professional. These include pushing a client too hard, an inability or unwillingness to answer questions, a focus on one aspect of an exercise regimen to the exclusion of others, and providing medical or nutritional advice without the proper training.