Don’t hire just anybody who refers to themselves as a personal trainer. Some gyms actually take on trainers and give them up to a year—while they are working with you—to get certified, warns Grabowski. Watch for the following:
1) Accreditation: A college diploma in fitness or a university degree in exercise science, kinesiology or physical education.
2) Certification: Through a reputable association such as Can-Fit-Pro, the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM), National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA) or the Canadian Society of Exercise Physiology (CSEP), among others. Your trainer should provide you with a copy of his certification.
3) Continuing education: Trainers should keep up their knowledge through professional development and specialized training for programs such as Pilates and yoga.
4) Compatibility: “It’s just like in any type of profession: you’re going to hit people who have tons of experience and tons of credentials, but they may not hit the mark,” says MacKeigan.
5) Insurance: For your safety and theirs, an independent trainer should be insured privately for both of your protection. If you’re training at a gym, the trainer is automatically insured by the gym.
6) Affordability: A typical training session costs anywhere from $30 per hour (for group training) to $75 per hour (for one-on-one), depending on the trainers’ experience, qualifications, their expenses, whether they come to you or whether you go to a gym (the fee should cover the gym, too).
7) Screenings: Trainers should send all clients for health screenings (medical and allergy) and a needs assessment, says MacKeigan. Grabowski performs a PAR Q (physical activity readiness questionnaire) that asks what type of activities you do, your nutritional and medical history, etc.