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How To Locate And Choose A Personal Trainer

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Why Use A Personal Trainer?

Personal trainers can be useful if:

  • You are a beginner and need help establishing an exercise program, or
  • If you need motivation to exercise regularly, or
  • If you want someone to push you.

If you just want someone to count reps or to chat with while you exercise, you may be wasting money by hiring a personal trainer.

How To Locate A Personal Trainer

  • Ask your oncologist, a social worker or the hospital at which you are treated. Also consider asking members of a support group.
  • Search for an American College of Sports Medicine/American Cancer Society Certified Cancer Exercise trainer. See the ACSM website offsite link

How To Choose A Personal Trainer

When choosing a personal trainer, keep in mind that anyone can call him or her self a personal trainer. because no licensing is required. Consider the following:

  • The person's training and education. The spectrum ranges from people with a certification from passing an online exam to majoring in sports medicine at the college level.
  • The way the person works. A trainer should:
    • Conduct a fitness assessment.
    • Discuss your goals and lifestyle.
    • Design a program specifically for you.
    • Start each session by telling you what you will do, rather than asking what you feel like doing.
    • Discuss your eating habits and basic nutrition. However, unless the person is a trained nutritionist, he or she is not trained to provide individual advice or to recommend specific supplements or products.
    • Help you become an independent exerciser.
  • Ask about the trainer's goals. If he or she is traning part time while waiting for a break in another field, the person may not continue to be available.
  • Look for accreditation by a physical therapist organization. Check the program to see what is required for an accreditation. According to Smart Money magazine, industry experts point to the American College of Sports Medicine ( offsite link and the National Strength and Condititioning Assocation ( offsite link) as two of the most reputable organizations.
  • Ask for references - and call them.
  • The person's fee. 
    • A more expensive trainer does not necessarily guarantee better results. (Personal trainer fees are not usually covered by health insurance). 
    • You may be able to reduce the cost of a trainer if you create a group of at least two. In this win-win situation, each of you pay less than you normally would, and the trainer makes more money for the hour because he or she is charging two of you. For instance, if the trainer normally charges $60 an hour, she may be willing to reduce the cost to $40 each for two of you. She would earn $80 an hour instead of $60. (Note: Most trainers will accept such an arrangement even though they or the gym they work in don't advertise it).

If you are a senior, to find a personal trainer with senior fitness certification, go to


  • If a health club asks for your medical information, review the club's privacy policy. Also keep in mind that a trainer has no obligation to keep what you tell him or her confidential.
  • Before accepting a trainer's recommdation for a supplement or nutritional advice, it is advisable to check with your medical specialist to be sure thereis no conflict with any of the drugs you take or treatment you undergo.

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