Over the next three weeks, I'm going to offer some thoughts on how to find the right individual for your needs in three stages - before you meet them, during the consultation and during the first session.
Before Meeting Them:
- Do your research and understand what you're looking for. Keep in mind you're trying to improve yourself, and that only comes through overcoming progressively more difficult challenges. This isn't easy, nor is it always fun - therefore, your training won't be either. If you simply want to break a sweat while having fun, invest in an air hockey table instead.
- That being said, it shouldn't always be a chore, either - if you can't find a goal to train or for or a method/system that keeps you engaged (if not entertained), then you're not going to stick with it.
- Not all entry-level certifications and degrees are created equal - but there are some of higher repute that indicate the trainer/coach has at least completed a decent level of basic education. CSEP, NSCA, ACE, NASM and ACSM are some of the bigger nationally and internationally recognized certifications, and if someone says they have a degree - make sure that it's in Kinesiology or Human Kinetics (possibly Physical Education if they earned their degree a long time ago). Be wary of people who only have "internal" certifications.
- Check for referrals, but look for results - doesn't matter if the trainer/coach is an "awesome person" if that's all they can offer... I've known people who have trained with the same coach for years and never changed/improved during that time. While the trainer's ability to elicit change is limited to how engaged the client is outside the training hour, I've known trainers who have "fired" clients once they feel their influence/effectiveness with the client has been lost.