HIRING A PERSONAL TRAINER
Some Frequently Asked Questions - and Answers
"Do I need a Personal Trainer?"
Whether you're a beginner or an experienced athlete, whether you want to change your routine to
jump start improvements, even if you know nothing about training and aren't sure where to start,
A Personal Trainer can help. A good Trainer will listen to your physical and fitness history and
plans, help you develop realistic fitness goals, design a balanced workout or modify your current
one, and provide motivation before and during your training sessions to help you stick to your
routine. If that's the type of support and encouragement you're looking for, you may want to hire
a Personal Trainer.
"How do I choose a Trainer?"
Ask questions - of yourself and the Trainers you interview. Set a few goals before you start
What is your body type and what (realistically) do you want to look like and/or be able to
accomplish physically? Are you trying to be thinner, more muscular, more defined, a better skier,
a faster runner, a stronger lifter, etc.?
Where do you want to train? Your home, office, health club, the park near your home. What
physical activities interest you? Consider weight training, walking, biking, running, boxing,
martial arts, etc.
What motivates you? Do you need a Drill Instructor or a babysitter?
Once you define your goals, find a Trainer who fits them. Look for a Trainer who will reliably
meet with you at your convenience at the location of your choice (if you're training at a
health club and hiring an independent Trainer, be sure the club allows him/her to work with you
there). Find a Trainer with experience (playing or coaching) in the activities you enjoy and who
can design an effective, enjoyable routine for you.
Then, be subjective. Choose a Trainer who fits your ideal. Does he/she (or do his/her clients)
look the way you'd like to? Can he/she perform athletically the way you'd like to? What is his/her
personality like? Can he/she inspire you to stay consistent? Remember that while certification
may indicates how well a Trainer has performed on a standardized test, you're hiring someone for
Find out what the Trainer can do for you?
"How many sessions with a Trainer should I plan?"
The answer really depends on how much supervision you require to show up and work hard at
your training and on your budget. If you're a beginner or just returning to exercise but are
confident you'll train consistently and give your best effort at all times, you should work with a
Trainer for a few months to ensure that you learn proper exercise technique, the training
principles behind what's required to achieve the goals you seek, and what frequency of change
and variation in your training are appropriate to guarantee your continuing progress.
You need to train at least 3-4 days/week to see results, so choose a package with your Trainer
that lets you stay supervised for at least 3-6 months and stay within budget.
If you train consistently now and are well experienced with correct technique and training
principles, you might schedule a few sessions (2-6) to revive your workout, get a different
training micro- or macrocycle, double check your technique and intensity, or change gears for
different training goals and objectives.
Regardless of your start point or the progress you achieve, you can always schedule additional
sessions periodically to tune-up your routine or check your technique.
"How often should I work out?"
Bottom line - and media sound bites notwithstanding - you need to exercise at a challenging
level for at least 30 consecutive minutes, three times a week just to maintain health (i.e.,
prevent unnatural early death).
But if you're looking to moderately improve your physique and overall fitness level, you'll need
to exercise at that level for at least 60 minutes, at least 3 times weekly. And if you have
significant improvements to make - weight loss, conditioning work, rehabilitation, etc. - you
should plan to incorporate 30-60 minutes of moderate to vigorous exercise into your
"When will I see results?"
A Trainer should have you set intermediate goal dates for fully implementing your diet and
exercise lifestyle changes, for example at 1, 3, 6, and 9 months and at 1 year. But once you start
training consistently for at least the minimum recommended amount of time each week, you'll
feel better within the first 30 days. Depending on your nutrition and training intensity, you should
begin to see and feel positive physical changes within 2-4 weeks.
"What if I've had prior injuries or illnesses?"
First, be sure you give your Trainer a complete history of any past or pre-existing injuries or
illnesses so he/she can design the safest, most effective workout possible. A responsible Trainer
will have you complete a health history and risk factors questionnaire before your first session
and will conduct a physical evaluation to gauge your current performance and skill level .Even if
an injury occurred long ago, your Trainer will want to consider any physical therapy you may
have completed, how the condition has healed, and what exercises or training intensity will best
keep you injury free and training regularly. No injury or illness should prevent you from training
and making significant physical improvements, you may just need some guidance about the best
approach to working out.
"How old do I need to be to work out?" ("When am I too young/too old to
You're never too old or too young to exercise. A study done at Mass. General Hospital with
seriously debilitated geriatric patients found that all of them benefitted from a simple strength
training program (those in wheel chairs walked with walkers, those with walkers walked with
canes, etc.). And experts agree that beginning regular exercise in infancy and early childhood will
likely help ensure better health and fitness in adulthood. As long as you're in good health, your
Trainer can design an effective, balanced training program that will help you attain your fitness
Some special populations should seek specific guidance. For example: children should begin
training with weights no sooner than age 13 or the first signs of puberty, whichever comes
earlier; most adults over age 55 should seek the guidance of a Trainer who works extensively
with that age group; and individuals with chronic problems such as injuries, certain disabilities,
or obesity should seek the advice of their physician, physical therapist, and/or nutritionist, as
appropriate, before and throughout the Trainer supervised workout period.
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All text, FitBoot, and FitBasic, ©1998 and the FitBoot logo ©2000 by
Charla T.-McMillian. You may neither reprint nor distribute any text from this website, in part or
entirety, without the author's express permission. The information contained on this website is
intended to substitute for medical advice or for the advice of a qualified nutritionist. Individual
results may vary. You should seek the advice of your physician or a qualified trainer before
significantly modifying any exercise or diet program.