Many experts advise clients to stay away from trainers who subscribe to a "one-size-fits-all" mentality. Trainers who treat every client as an athlete may put you at risk for injury and may not help you reach your goals in a safe and effective manner.
And don't be fooled by appearances. Experts say that the least important factor when choosing a trainer is his or her appearance.
"Historically, people have tended to choose a trainer based on their physique," says Bryant. "They will walk into a gym and say 'I want to work with that person because I want to look like them' and that may set them up for a disaster. It never occurs to them that the trainer may be blessed with good genetics."
Tips on Choosing Trainers
If you are shopping for a personal trainer, the following tips can help you find one right for you:
Ask a health professional you trust to refer you to a good trainer. Health professionals who recommend exercise may have a network of personal trainers that they routinely refer people to.
Arrange to meet with the trainer before making your final decision. Be sure to ask about his/her background and any relevant training.
Ask to speak to some current and former clients. They can give you a good picture of the trainer's style.
Make sure you are comfortable talking openly and honestly with the trainer about your needs and goals. Do not choose someone who intimidates you or someone with whom you feel uncomfortable.
Once you've found a trainer you like, here are some tips to get the most out of your sessions:
Be prepared to discuss your full medical history with the trainer. Certain exercises may not be appropriate for everyone, so it's important the trainer knows your health status and any possible limitations.
Determine your goals. A good trainer will design a program that can help you attain these objectives.
Always ask questions. Trainers should always be able to give you the reasons why they've selected certain exercises for you.
Working with a personal trainer can be invaluable in helping you reach your fitness goals. Doing a little bit of research beforehand can help to enhance the experience.