Personal Training 101

By: proctor - July 5, 2006

People hire personal trainers for their expertise and professional experience in order to get a better workout than they could on their own. Some people decide to hire a trainer for only one session to check their exercise form and discuss a plan. Others work with their trainer 2-5 times per week in order to stay on track and make the most of every workout. If you decide to invest in a personal trainer, try the following guidelines to make the most of your time and money.

Finding the right trainer

In order to find the right trainer for your needs, you will need to do a bit of research. Some clubs offer personal trainer request forms which ask for your name, best times to train, male or female preference, and special needs (training for a marathon, pre-natal, etc.) and will contact you with their suggestion as to who would be the best match for you. This can take some of the guesswork out of picking a trainer who works at your club. If they offer multiple suggestions, call or email each one to get a feel for their personality before you commit to one individual. If you are trying to find a trainer on your own, contact one of the national personal training certification companies for their trainers in your city. These companies include the American Council on Exercise, National Academy of Sports Medicine, American College of Sports Medicine, and Aerobics and Fitness Association of America among others. These companies have in-depth training and testing and require their trainers to complete continuing education courses in order to remain certified. This is to ensure that you have access to educated trainers who will put your needs first and do their best to make sure you have a great workout without getting injured. A personal trainer should be able to produce a bio so that you can gain insight as to what their experience level is and the clientele they have worked with, as well as have testimonials from previous clients. Some trainers specialize in weight loss and motivation while others specialize in muscle building and weight gaining techniques, so you will want to be sure that you find the best trainer to help you meet your goals. A good trainer will coach you towards your goals and provide a plan that is in sync with the rest of your lifestyle. "A good coach is someone who helps you be more self-reliant", says former marathon world record holder Steve Jones.

A good coach is someone who helps you be more self-reliant.


There are different prices for appointments with personal trainers, depending on their experience, their education, and the place at which you train. The cost for a 60 minute session with a personal trainer ranges from about $40-$100. Sessions are usually one hour, but can also be booked in 30 or 90 minute time slots. The price will be adjusted according to the length of the session. Most gyms and in-home trainers which come to your gym or your house will offer slight discounts if you purchase several sessions at once. These packages often come in 5, 10, or even 30 session packages. The bigger packages are more of a financial commitment, but this also ensures that you are truly committing to your investment. Once you have paid for that many sessions, you are going to want to put the sessions to use! Buying a package of personal training sessions saves you time from not having to write multiple checks or continuously go to the customer service desk and pull out your credit card.

Making the most of your session

Paperwork regarding liability, physician's clearance, and a waiver can often be filled out in advance in order to save time during your first session. This can save you up to 10 minutes during your first session. Additionally, it will help your trainer prepare the most customized workout for you if you can give him or her your background information in advance such as exercise history, injury history, and fitness goals. Spend 10 minutes composing an email with this information or on the phone with your trainer to help them help you.

Your appointment

Try to arrive 10-30 minutes before your appointment so that you have time to put your belongings in a locker, fill your water bottle, and warm up. Your warm up should be 5-20 minutes of walking, biking, or some other activity to increase your heart rate up to 50-80% of maximum. The goal is to prepare your muscles for a pre-stretch and for the activities you are going to be doing during your appointment. The more aggressive your exercises are going to be, the warmer your muscles and joints need to be. After your warm up, spend 5-10 minutes doing light to moderate stretching. Your deepest stretch should come after your workout when your muscles are their warmest and your workout is over.

Spend time with your trainer during your first session learning proper stretching technique. After that, you can do the stretches on your own time. This way, the entire session with your trainer can be spent on exercises and drills. If you are hiring a trainer specifically for assistance with stretching, follow the guidelines for the warm up then keep your muscles warm with long pants and a long sleeved shirt.

In summary, investing in a personal trainer may be one of the best things you could do for your health. After finding a good trainer and getting to your appointment, you are on your way to meeting your exercise goals. Whether you work with a trainer once or every day of the week, make the most of your sessions by arriving early and warming up before your appointment. Most importantly, listen to your trainer's advice regarding nutrition, rest, and exercising on the days when you are on your own. Putting these ideas together will ensure that you are making the most of your workout time.

About the Submitter


I have been an ACE certified personal trainer since 2000 who has trained over 3000 hours. I specialize in pre- and post-natal fitness, stretching, running, and weight loss. Yoga is also a passion for me and a way of life. I received my Yoga Alliance Teacher Certification in India and love to share the calmness, strength, and openness that yoga offers to people of all ages and abilities.

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