Hiring a Personal Trainer?
There's a lot of confusion and misconception surrounding the fitness industry, and personal training is no exception. People often make the mistake of lumping all personal trainers into one category, thinking they are all the same. Nothing could be further from the truth. As in all professions there are good trainers, bad trainers, and a select few that are exceptional at what they do.

A good trainer can make a workout regimen fun, easy, and most importantly, effective. A good trainer can make the difference between getting in shape or sitting on the couch. To guide you in your search, here is a list of seven criteria that every qualified fitness professional should possess.

To help you with your search, here are seven criteria that every qualified fitness professional should meet:

1. National Certifications: The American Council on Exercise, the American College of Sports Medicine, and the National Strength and Conditioning Association are the standards of certification. Every fitness trainer should have, at the very least, a certification with one of these agencies. This means that the trainer has passed the minimum requirements to call himself a personal trainer. However, it does not guarantee trainer competence.

2. References and Testimonials: A true fitness professional should be able to do more than just talk about how good they are; they should be able to show proof they can deliver results in the form of client testimonials and verifiable references.

3. Programs: A good fitness trainer should do more than take you through a workout and count your reps. He or she should have programs in place which will educate you about all the aspects that will contribute to your achievement of total health and fitness. Your fitness trainer should help you set goals, develop a specific plan of action, and hold you accountable while supporting and motivating you through the entire process.

4. Assessments: A good trainer should take fitness assessments at the onset of your program to give you a baseline from which to track your progress. These should include circumference measurements, skin fold measurements, cardiovascular, strength, and flexibility tests.

5. Guarantees: The weight loss and fitness industry is the only industry I know of where a person will try a program or regimen and blame themselves if they fail to get results. A good fitness trainer will have the confidence to offer you a guarantee by following your personalized fitness plan.

6. Professional Rates: If you want a quality fitness professional, you're going to have to pay professional rates. As with anything in life, you get what you pay for. Any personal trainer who charges bargain rates is bound to be lacking in some way. You should definitely seek out and work with the best trainer in your area. It will mean the difference between getting lasting results and wasting your valuable time and money. If money is a limiting factor, ask the trainer if he will allow for less frequent meetings.

7. Empowerment: A true fitness professional will do more than just help you achieve your goals and send you on your way. A quality fitness trainer will empower you with the knowledge and confidence necessary to keep your results ongoing and lasting.

Using these criteria will help you find a trainer that will get the results you want in the shortest amount of time possible. That's a guarantee!

(Alexander Morentin is a practice Clinical Exercise Specialist and a regular contributor to NaturallySavvy.com, a website that educates people on the benefits of living a natural, organic and green lifestyle. For more information and to sign up for their newsletter, visit www.NaturallySavvy.com).