Before writing this piece, I wanted to expose myself to the opinions of two of the most popular fitness lifestyle publications on the topic of how to find the best trainer, one each that targets women, and men, respectively. This was a fascinating experience! While I didn't completely agree with either article, I think they are both largely on target, with a few notable exclusions in each that I think you should consider if you're serious about finding the right trainer:
Certifications do matter – especially the quality of said certification. The most respected (often referred to as "nationally" recognized) certifications are: ACSM, NASM, ACE and NSCA . Each are ratified by the NCCA, an organization whose purpose is to evaluate the quality and effectiveness of certification programs. Others are not. The caliber of other certification programs that are not subjected to that rigorous validation process earn less respect among most industry professionals.
Years of experience and areas of specialty also factor into the equation. If you are an experienced exerciser with specific goals and a sophisticated understanding of the process of building strength, stamina core stability and improving range of motion, a trainer who has been at it for less than two years and only sees a few clients a week will likely not be able to satisfy your needs, especially if you want to make the most of your long-term program and your present moment sessions. Similarly, a golfer who has chronic pain and core weakness is probably not a good match with a generalist who hasn't balanced out strength and flexibility for athletes who execute repetitive, explosive, single plain movements and want to avoid injury while simultaneously enhancing their athletic performance.
Referrals from friends who have similar fitness profiles and attitudes can be very helpful. And at least as helpful as a referral from a friend is a referral from a trusted complementary wellness service provider (M.D., physical therapist, chiropractor, acupuncturist, massage therapist, etc.) These professionals have a much deeper expertise regarding the body and physical movement and understand how the right trainer can be a great fit for you based on their familiarity with you and your healing work together.
The articles in Shape and Men's Journal did provide a compelling view for me about what concerns and questions a prospective client who is shopping for the right trainer might have going into the process.
But I want you to have a comprehensive set of criteria you can use to make the best decision, which can affect
the rest of your life.
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