Finding the right fitness trainer or exercise physiologist is kind of like dating. There's a whole lot more to choosing the right professional than just going for the person with the best body.
Just because they might have a good body doesn't mean they are the best coach. Visit any $10 a month membership gym and you will see what I mean. There are several factors that go into matching the right trainer or Exercise Physiologist for you. Bottom line... If someone has the ability to mess with your health, do your research.
Here are 4 questions you must ask any Trainer or Exercise Physiologist before you hire them.
1. What certifications do you have?
Finding the right professional with appropriate credentials is super critical especially if you have injuries. A National Academy of Sports Medicine Certified Personal Trainer is a MUST but a degree in exercise science is even better. If you have any orthopedic issues or injuries a CHEK Practitioner from the CHEK Institute is the best route as these professionals have advanced level training in assessments and exercise prescription.
2. Do you have experience helping clients work toward my specific goal?
Sad but true, many trainers work with every single client the same way--the way that they themselves stay in shape and train. While this may sound great in theory, this can be a recipe for disaster... of the injury type. A great way to identify red flags with a professional is to look at how many things they claim to specialize in. If you see a professional claiming to be a specialist in more than 3 or 4 populations (Youth, adults, post-rehabilitation, geriatric, post-natal, sports conditioning, etc.) you can be pretty sure that they are a 'jack-of-all-trades' and master on none.
3. Do you offer a money back guarantee?
Yes, great trainers and exercise physiologists offer money back guarantees. You work hard for your money and it should work hard for you. When you decide to hire a professional ask them if they offer a money back guarantee. What we have found is those that offer this type of guarantee have a proven track record of getting results. This risk should be on the professional and not on you.
4. What kind of assessments do I get and how often?
Most trainers offer initial assessments and they may vary based on your goals. If you have injuries it is super critical that you hire a professional who can do advanced assessments so you know you are getting the most appropriate exercise prescription. If a fitness professional is not assessing then he/she is guessing. You should not pay a professional to guess. Assessments are crucial elements for a fitness professional and in how they create solutions to your problem. If the fitness professional does not offer a Functional Movement Assessment (FMS) then you should just walk away.