Selecting a Personal Trainer

A personal trainer can design an exercise program to meet your fitness goals, keep you motivated and adapt your training as you progress.

But your first step is finding a qualified professional.

While there aren’t any national standards or minimum requirements for someone to call themselves a personal trainer, asking the right questions will help you hire the right person.

Ask about their education, which ideally would include a four-year degree in exercise science or physiology, kinesiology, physical education or a field related to health and fitness. He or she should also be certified by a respected organization.

Nationally recognized certifying organizations include:

  • The American Council on Exercise (acefitness.org).
  • The National Academy of Sports Medicine (nasm.org).
  • The American College of Sports Medicine (acsm.org).

Ask the trainer about the number of years they’ve been training clients. You might request a resume and current references.

Don’t be shy about discussing fees, which can vary widely — from $20 an hour to over $100/hour, based on factors ranging from the trainer’s qualifications to the length of each of your sessions. Ask if lower hourly rates are available if you prepay or agree upfront to a certain number of weeks or months.

Since results depend in part on having a good working relationship with your trainer, make sure that his or her personality meshes with yours and that he or she communicates in a way you feel comfortable with.

Once you’ve made your decision, ask the trainer for a written agreement that details fees, your workout schedule and policies regarding cancellation and payment.

More information

The American Council on Exercise has more on how to pick a personal trainer.