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When looking to hire a professional of any kind, the wise thing to do is to research. Do research on an individual — look at their specialization, their certifications, and their credentials. This can be tough because we’re usually not experts in the area we’re looking at, so we often don’t know what we’re looking for. And we don’t know what the standards are.

Instead, we usually go on good faith that if someone is in business and has decent reviews, they probably know what they’re doing. Often we’ll get lucky and this approach will work. But do we really know if we’re making the most of our time and money investment?

People working out with ropes at a fitness center.

Working with ropes at EnergyX

Let me give you some tips for what you should look for when you’re doing research for a personal trainer:

Education: a Bachelor’s and/or Master’s degree in Kinesiology, Exercise Physiology, Exercise Sport Science, or something similar is an ideal educational background. These individuals put in years of school to truly understand the ins and outs of the body, movement, and the science behind it all.

Certifications: Having a nationally accredited certification should be a minimum expectation for any personal trainer, and especially for one who does not hold a degree in any of the above mentioned fields. Nationally accredited certifications require recertification every two years and a trainer must provide proof of continuing education to be certified. This is important because it ensures that a trainer Is taking steps to stay on top of new trends and research. Some of the more recognized certifications in the industry include NASM, ACSM, CSCS, and ACE. Note: this is not an exhaustive list.

Experience: We all have to start somewhere, but experience is a game changer. And experience usually has a huge impact on the price of services. The more experience a trainer has, the more that trainer can charge. If you’re just looking for someone to plan a workout for you and hold you accountable, a less experienced trainer might be a good place to start. But if you are new to exercise, if you have specific goals, or if you are working to rehab from an injury or health condition, an experienced trainer is important.

Once you find a trainer and start working together, you need to make sure that they live up to their qualifications and your expectations. Here are a few things to look out for:

Pays Attention: It sounds obvious, but make sure you have your trainers undivided attention. They should not be on their phone, talking to other people in the gym, or sitting down while you’re working. You are paying for their time and it is your right to insist that they live up to that. While there can always be acceptable exceptions, make sure that you are the main focus of your trainer’s attention.

Programing: Every trainer has a style but not all clients should have the same workout. Make sure your trainer is planning a program specific to your goals and one that can easily be adjusted as needed.

Reliable: Make sure your trainer takes your appointments seriously. Cancelations should rarely happen and if they do, it should be with advanced notice. Part of your trainer’s job is to hold you accountable for your workouts. Make sure they are doing that.

If you’re looking for a qualified personal trainer, we’d love for you to check us out at EnergyX Fitness. Our trainers ‘check all the boxes’ mentioned above and are available to meet with you. Or you can join one of our small group training classes. For more information, check us out at

Alison Galvan is the owner and CEO of EnergyX Fitness in San Antonio.

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