Nicholson Fitness
  • Have you thought about hiring a personal trainer, or simply wondered how to go about selecting one?  I would like to give you a little information about what you can find out before you hire a personal trainer, and what I would look for if I needed to hire one myself.

    The first thing you need to know about is the certification process.  There is no organization that controls the title “Personal Trainer” and the government does not regulate the process.  (Although there have been several bills considered in Sacramento to regulate and license California personal trainers, so far none of them have been enacted.)  While not all personal trainers are certified, many do have certification of some sort, and there are scores of agencies that “certify” personal trainers.  As a result, there are big differences in the experience and education necessary to become a “certified” personal trainer.  Some certifications can be obtained on-line by paying a small fee and passing a short test.  On the other hand, other certifications require an undergraduate degree in the field of fitness, a rigorous exam on exercise science and practical teaching skills.  Some of the large gym chains even have their own certification.  Thus, if a trainer claims to be certified, it’s important to determine exactly what that means.

    In my mind there are a few certifying agencies that stand out above the rest.  Two of the best certifying agencies are the National Strength and Conditioning Association and the American College of Sports Medicine.  Both of these agencies require a four-year degree in the field and a rigorous exam lasting several hours.  The largest certifying agency, the American Council on Exercise, does not require a college degree in the field, but its testing process is rigorous and meets strict academic guidelines.  In addition, trainers certified by these agencies must take several days of continuing education annually to maintain their status.  There are many other certification agencies, and you should check the certification guidelines for any agency that certified a trainer you are contemplating hiring.

    Finding a certified personal trainer should not be the end of the selection process.  In order to have a successful relationship with your personal trainer, his or her personality must mesh well with your own.  Goal setting is also an important issue, and being able to set manageable goals that motivate you as a person are crucial to getting the most out of the relationship.  So feel free to interview your potential trainer.  Ask about his background, experience and motivation techniques.  Analyze her personality during the initial meeting, and think about whether your personalities will mesh.

    At Nicholson Fitness we recognize that choosing a trainer might be a little scary so we use a personality inventory to help orient the trainer and client toward the appropriate training styles and goal setting.  In addition, we will provide the first training session at no cost, so that you can determine whether you are comfortable with your trainer.  If you would like to take advantage of this free training session call Jeff at Nicholson Fitness, 626-407-6407, or send me an email at

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