How to Choose a Personal Trainer

Featured Image

Thanks to the internet and social media, I’ve come across a lot of self-proclaimed fitness experts giving out false or outdated information, and/or always drinking the kool-aid of the newest fad.  Unfortunately, degrees or certifications are not required in the health fitness field – there are no federal regulations to help keep consumers safe.   If you are considering working with a trainer, below are some tips to help you with your fitness journey.

  1. First and foremost, check a trainer’s credentials. You’ll want a trainer with at least a bachelor’s degree. Having a degree (i.e. Exercise Science, Exercise Physiology, Kinesiology, Athletic Training) helps a professional decipher what’s legitimate information vs. non-evidence “fake” news.   If there is a trainer with a very good “word-of-mouth” reputation and doesn’t have a degree, see how long they have been a trainer as experience is a very good teacher.  Secondly, check to see if they are certified. You can go online to any trainer’s certification organization and see if their certification is up-to-date.  Some of the top tier NCCA-approved certification organizations include American Council on Exercise (ACE), National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM), and National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA).  For more information on top-teir certifications check out http://www.ideafit.com/certifications/personal-trainer.   A trainer that is certified must maintain their certification through some form of continuing education.  Most institutions require a renewal every 3 years.  This helps keep a trainer informed with current research, programming updates, and techniques.  Even though I’ve been in the game for over 20 years, I am still learning things!
  2. Client testimonials – does a trainer (or gym) have any posted on their website/social media? This allows you to see what kind of clients they work with (age, goals, abilities, etc).  Trainers posting videos of their own workouts and post-workout selfies may motivate you, but how are the actual training sessions with their clients – are they attentive and engaging as their Instagram implies?  Are they able to modify exercises to accommodate your fitness level, or are they going to crush your joints that haven’t moved much in several months/years?!
  3. If you currently belong to a gym, shop around.  Observe the different trainers on the floor.  You’ll start to notice the busy ones.  There might be a reason why they are busy.  Look at how they train their clients.  Are they doing the same program for every client?  Not necessarily a bad thing as they have found it delivers results.  However some programs aren’t for everyone.  Are they attentive, or do they look bored out of their minds?  The latter may indicate they won’t be in the industry much longer.  If they are constantly talking about themselves during the workout, red flag as they may not be keeping you in mind before, during, or after the workout.
  4. There should be some form of an assessment to establish a baseline.  A really good assessment is a Functional Movement Screen.  I use the FMS to determine if there are any muscle imbalances, mobility and flexibility issues, and core strength deficiencies. The FMS helps a trainer determine what exercises are appropriate vs. not, and what needs to be added in to fix a faulty movement pattern.  Basic fitness measurements and body composition analysis are good too as it will help a trainer choose the appropriate style of training or exercise selection.
  5. If you have been sedentary for over a year and haven’t had a physical examination by your physician in over 3 years, its always a good idea to get one before participating in a vigorous exercise routine.  If you are a male over 45 or female over 55 and you haven’t worked out in a while, get cleared by your physician.

Good luck with your fitness journey! Remember it took you weeks, months, even years to get “out of shape.”  So be patient with the process and trust in your personal trainer.
Randy Leopando
Director of Personal Training
randyl@nutriformance.com

You might also enjoy

NF_HorizontalLogo- Nutriformance, St. Louis, MO

FREE 7-Day Trial Membership!

Call 314-432-6103 or fill out the form to get started.

St. louis' best gym & Personal Trainers

Don’t take our word for it, check out what our members have to say!

Brock Telfer
Brock Telfer
May 10, 2021.
Verified
This is my new favorite gym, it’s exactly what I was looking for! I would highly recommend Los to anyone, the atmosphere is so motivating!
Weldon Bush
Weldon Bush
April 9, 2021.
Verified
I have been at Strongside for close to two months. I have never been in a workout environment that feels so supportive and encouraging. I highly recommend Nutriformance for everyone who is looking for a place to belong.
Vickie Sabin
Vickie Sabin
March 18, 2021.
Verified
This is the best lifters gym I've ever been to. There is an almost overwhelming amount of equipment on the upper level.
Warren Hogsett
Warren Hogsett
September 18, 2020.
Verified
I like the variety of exercises and intensities, but my favorite part is the technology that allows me to hold myself accountable for my effort and performance.
Joseph Acevedo
Joseph Acevedo
August 17, 2020.
Verified
Great local gym. Lots of weights and machines, friendly staff, and not too crowded.
Kate Gebken
Kate Gebken
August 14, 2020.
Verified
I am so happy I know this place is here now! I booked a massage with Alexis, I had been in need of one desperately from working at home in the wrong chair for the past few months. She was so kind and intuitive and really knew the exact areas to address. I feel like a new person now, one of the best massages I have ever had! I didn't know they offer pilates here as well and the studio is gorgeous. The atmosphere was great and very clean. I will definitely be back soon!
Mackenzie Hendrickson
Mackenzie Hendrickson
July 24, 2020.
Verified
I couldn’t recommend Alexis (massage therapist) enough. She is kind, professional and knowledgeable every time I see her. She makes me feel comfortable and is mindful of aches and spots on my body that might need more or less attention. I feel so relaxed every time I leave and never want the massages to end. She’s great and I highly recommend her!
brian jones
brian jones
July 16, 2020.
Verified
The reopening protocols that Nutriformance have implemented are identical to those we are currently using in the professional sports world and my confidence is such that I am completely comfortable bringing my 8- year old son in on a weekly basis to continue his training. The awareness of the staff and their sensitivity to our current health situation are of the utmost priority, based on my observations over the last couple of weeks. If you are an athlete looking to gain a competitive edge over your opponents, a young athlete trying to refine your basic athletic qualities or an adult just looking to stay healthy - I would make Nutriformance my first call. Brian Jones Goalkeeping Coach Saint Louis FC USL Championship
lisa bernstein
lisa bernstein
July 15, 2020.
Verified
Clean and professional. Could not ask for better trainers, Pilates instructors, and staff. Great massages !