Lunden Souza: Invest some time to find a personal trainer who is right for you

February 22, 2014 

Lunden Souza

MIKE BYERLY — Merced Sun-Star Buy Photo

Throughout my job as a personal trainer, I have noticed I attract a certain type of client.

One of things I’ve learned, as a result, is that the relationship between trainers and clients – especially the trust they develop in one another – is what’s going to make it possible for those clients to reach their goals.

This week I am giving you my perspective on how to choose a personal trainer.

First, make sure you deal with certifications and experience. I think that the combination is more important than just certificates that the trainer may have. All the technical stuff that was on the grueling personal training exam did nothing to prepare me for the real-life experiences I gained through training different clients.

Don’t be afraid to ask the trainer what their certifications are to see if they suit your needs. If you want to improve your speed, agility and quickness for more athlete training, find someone with certifications in that area. Maybe you want a slower-paced, yet strength-focused workout with yoga and Pilates, so certifications would definitely be worth knowing if you want the best experience.

Personal training is not a necessity; it is a bit of a luxury, so you definitely want to find someone that fits into your price range. Usually if you purchase a bundle of sessions, versus just one at a time, you get a much better deal but are forced to make a longer commitment.

Results do not happen overnight, so you will really need to make sure the price is not going to stress you out. Usually discontinuing a bad habit, such as a high-calorie coffee drink everyday or eating out for lunch on a regular basis, will help offset some of the cost of a trainer as well as promote more discipline. Sometimes you may even find a trainer who is willing to work with you on the price.

My next piece of advice is don’t be afraid to ask questions and have dialogue with your prospective trainer. Communicating on the phone or via email can give you a better idea of the trainer’s personality and mode of operation.

Do you want to be pushed hard to your maximum potential or do you want to be pushed in a nurturing way?

Do you want someone who has a more flexible schedule to suit yours?

Or do you want someone that is going to force your and hold you accountable for your training dates?

You can get a feel for a trainer’s philosophy by making sure you have a thorough discussion before making a commitment. That consultation is critical in finding the right match, so don’t just rely solely on credentials or someone else’s recommendation. Put in the time to find the best fit for you.

Finally, look for a trainer who is going to force you to set goals and make a plan on how to reach those goals. Goals have to be set, and you have to be on the same page with your trainer. Make sure you both are aware of exactly what your goals and have a clear picture in mind of what it takes to get there.

Fitness isn’t a race, and real life is going to try to weasel its way into your schedule and mess everything up. Make sure you create a strong and motivated foundation so you can overcome those real-life distractions and get where you want to be.

I hope these tips can help and guide you in your decision to select a personal trainer. Choosing a trainer is a big commitment and can be a lot of fun and a great learning experience. Don’t be afraid to be picky and choose exactly who you feel suits your needs.

Lunden Souza, a Merced native, is a personal trainer, health and wellness coach, and writer in Southern California. She can be reached at lifelikelunden@gmail.com.

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