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How to Find a Personal Trainer Right For You [NYC Edition]

Updated: Dec 10, 2018

With so many personal trainers in a saturated NYC market, what makes a great personal trainer? New York City has more personal fitness trainers per square mile than any other city in the country, so it’s a particularly pressing issue for New Yorkers wanting to get fit and lead healthier lifestyles.

So how do you choose the right one for you? What's the best way to pick a personal trainer? Here are some things to look for in a personal fitness trainer?

Do Some Homework and Don't Rush. You have so many options, so take your time sifting through them to find your match. Many of the major personal training associations like the National Strength and Conditioning Association have sections on their web sites to help you find a trainer. Look for a trainer with certifications, experience and the skill-sets to help you meet your specific needs.

Check Their Certifications and Credentials. This cannot be overstated. Trainers who are certified by either the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA), Academy of Sports Medicine (ACSM) and National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM) have performed best on exams that test for basic fitness knowledge. In fact, trainers without these certifications generally score under 45% on these tests, according to a study done by the National Center for Biotechnology. So this is a very big point to look for when picking a personal trainer. For example, is a great source to find a certified and qualified personal trainer near your location if you live in NYC. 

While a certification does not guarantee a trainer really knows their stuff, it is an important reflection of their commitment to the profession and to gaining the knowledge needed to competently work with clients.

Avoid incompetent trainers. Whatever you do, and whatever regiment you decide is best, be wary of, and avoid inexperienced trainers who lack basic fitness knowledge. Many New Yorkers fail to realize the shortcomings and medical hazards having an incompetent trainer can bring.

Strained and pulled muscles, inappropriate exercise choices, poor dietary advice (especially when the client in question takes specific medications) are all examples of serious conditions that can be caused by a trainer's lack of understanding the nuances of the human body, and how to fine tune a tailored program. Even without certifications, a trainer holding a bachelors in any anatomical and sports science major performs better than their non-degree holding counterparts by 10-15%

How Much Experience Do They Have? Personal training is such a broad field and within it there are so many factors and variables for clients, trainers and setting. A lifetime of experience in the field on a professional level goes a long way in making a trainer qualified. As with anything, experience makes you better, unless you’ve been doing it wrong the entire time, which is possible in the personal training world.Experience isn't everything, but it helps.

Is a Trainer a Good Fit For You? Not all trainers are a good match for all clients. It's the same as finding a psychotherapist, a doctor or a massage therapist. For example, if you are pregnant, you should only work with a trainer who has extensive experience with prenatal populations. If you are in your 70s and have balance or orthopedic limitations, then perhaps working with military style trainer who usually trains people to do heavy lifting, then you should keep looking. If you are a triathlete, then choose a personal trainer with expertise and experience helping clients train for triathlons.


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