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    Choosing Your Personal Trainer

    By Cinder Ernst

    This is the second article in our 3-part series about personal fitness training. In the first installment, we shared tips on how to determine if traditional personal training is right for you. Here are the key points:

    When is traditional personal fitness training a good idea?

    1. If you are pretty good at exercising and you want to take it up a notch, hire a good trainer to push you a bit harder.
    2. If you are pretty good at exercising and you want to learn some new techniques or a new sport, hire a trainer to help you. I took up boxing a few years ago, and I love it! I have a boxing coach.
    3. If you need to update your current exercise program, personal training can get that done with ease and efficiency.
    4. If you are unmotivated and/or resistant to exercise, and you can afford personal training for an indefinite time or forever, find the right trainer and go for it.

    If number 4 sounds like you, but you’re not a millionaire, don’t worry. The next and final article in this series will tell you how to become your own personal trainer, and have fun while you’re at it! (You can get a head start with my new book. See for more information.)

    There are three points to remember as you are searching for a trainer who will be a good match:

    • Know yourself.
    • Trust your gut.
    • You’re the boss.

    Knowing yourself means that you know what you want to accomplish, such as when you are learning a sport, preparing for a trip, updating your program, etc. (Remember, we recommend that you don’t factor weight loss into your fitness program.) You know about how many sessions you might want, what time of day is best for you and your schedule, where you want to be (home, gym or outside). You may have a gender preference. You can also think about whether you’d like a boot camp style trainer or a gentler approach. Know yourself. Do some soul searching before you start looking for “your” trainer.

    Trust your gut. Your personal trainer has to have a personality that appeals to you, as the process is inherently intimate. If someone rubs you the wrong way, that person is the wrong trainer for you, unless you enjoy being rubbed the wrong way! You should know fairly quickly if you like this individual or not. Also, there comes a time as you are working with your trainer when your gut says, “That exercise is not for me,” trust your gut. A good trainer will have a different option for you.

    You’re the boss. You are hiring this person. You get to have it your way. You can say, “I’m working toward this goal. This is how I want to be treated or approached. I do (or I do not) want to talk about food with you. (I always recommend separating food from fitness.) I do not want to be weighed or measured. I want to track my progress in other ways, such as am I taking less pain medicine or are the stairs getting easier?” Keep your personal power and partner with this person. Don’t just hand yourself over.

    Your trainer should be certified and insured, and able to supply references. I also recommend finding someone close to your own age. The more injuries or limitations you have, the more experience your trainer should have. Look for someone who specializes in an area that would be useful for you.

    The next time, I’ll tell you how to become your own personal trainer and have fun doing it!

    Cinder Ernst, Medical Exercise Specialist and Life Coach Extraordinaire, helps reluctant exercisers get moving with safe, effective and fun programs. Find out more at