Michael Carson is a UCLA educated trainer.
"A certified instructor is very important but some experience underneath their belt, that's even more important. So you want to make sure you're working with someone who has worked with their own body," said Carson.
Some certifications require reading a book and taking a test. It's a nice start, but it doesn't mean the trainer actually got any hands-on training.
"It's all about showing and being able to take the person that doesn't know you, you don't know them, advising them. Taking them in the correct direction, making them work without hurting them," said Carson.
There are a handful of well respected agencies in the fitness industry, including The American Council on Exercise and the American College of Sports Medicine to name a few. Along with checking credentials, ask for client referrals as well.
Courtney Parks wanted to find someone who would push her every time, but she still wanted to have fun.
Parks found trainer Valerie Waters, who says when choosing someone, it is very important that you like them.
"You spend a lot of intimate time and if their personality is boring or they talk too much or they rub you the wrong way, it isn't going to get better," said Waters.
If you're hiring at a gym, watch the trainer with their clients. Observe their rapport and technique, and never let someone assign a trainer to you.
Waters says usually the gym is doing the picking because that person's schedule needs to get filled. She points out clients have the right to interview that trainer. Also don't feel pressure to commit to a big package of sessions until you find the right trainer.
A good trainer will often have a meet and greet with you at no charge to find out your likes, dislikes, injuries, medications, personal goals, and also to establish rules on cancellation and tardiness so that mentally and physically you're both happy.
For more information about choosing a personal trainer or certification check out the following Web sites:
- Official site of personal trainer Valerie Waters
- Official site of MINDBody Series
- Official site of the American College of Sports Medicine
- Official site of the American Council on Exercise
- Official site of the National Strength and Conditioning Association