There are many qualities to look for in a personal trainer and attention to detail is one of the most important traits that a trainer should possess.

There is no shortage of personal trainers and strength coaches these days.  As the demand for personal trainers has grown, and gyms have struggled to meet this demand, certifying organization have cropped up to create certified trainers.  This is not to say that there are enough legitimate fitness professionals available for hire, or that these credentials are legitimate, as gym franchises and independent businesspersons have rushed to provide credentials of suspect quality to address the needs of the public and of gym owners.

The first place to look for a qualified personal trainer or strength coach is to go to the National Strength and Conditioning Association’s website and check out their “Find a Trainer” function.  The NSCA offers the finest fitness credentials for practicing strength coaches and personal trainers, and if you find a fitness professional who holds credentials – not just membership – from this organization you are on the right track. 

Credentials alone are not enough to seal the deal, but they are the first step in the process of finding a personal trainer that is right for you. As mentioned above, attention to detail is one of the most important traits that a personal trainer can possess.  Paying attention to detail is vital from every aspect of a trainer’s responsibilities.  If you find an independent personal trainer who comes to your home or office, they should have a reliable and proven health-screening questionnaire, release form and terms of services contract for you to sign. 

The liability issues that come with being a professional personal trainer require that all practitioners take the necessary steps to protect both themselves and their clients.  Furthermore, trainers should have their policies and procedures clearly delineated so that clients are aware of payment, scheduling and cancellation policies in advance of commencing business. This eye for detail extends from the paper work aspect at the front end of the job to the design and implementation of the training program. 

Without a proper evaluation and health-screening questionnaire, a personal trainer will not be able to design an appropriate training program and also will be unaware of any potential health issues of the client. The paperwork doesn’t end when the training starts, as any competent personal trainer should maintain detailed note regarding every workout for every client.  This means that during the session the personal trainer should have a folder that contains the workouts and pertinent paperwork for that particular client, and should have a separate folder for each client. Each workout should be planned and recorded in the chart so that the trainer and client can monitor performance and be able to evaluate the program’s effectiveness. 

A detailed training log can help a trainer to determine the cause of a client’s post-workout soreness, discomfort or injury. For example, if a client were to complain of extremely sore hamstrings the personal trainer can consult his records to see what was done during the recent workout.  If the workout concentrated on the upper body, the trainer could suggest to the client that perhaps another activity was responsible for the soreness or if in fact the workout featured squats and lunges the trainer could counsel the client that hamstring soreness could be expected after this kind of workout.  Furthermore, this response to training could serve as a reminder for the trainer to alter future workouts based on this kind of client-generated feedback.

A personal trainer and/or strength coach must have an eye for detail when watching their client perform exercise.  Given the nature of exercise, especially high-degree of difficulty/effort exercise, a responsible personal trainer needs to make sure that the client is always using proper form and working on improving their form.  What some people might consider to be a minor detail can actually be quite major for the personal trainer. 

For instance, when performing squats some people allow their knees to slightly buckle during the decent and ascent phase of the exercise. This seemingly slight flaw in form, if ignored and repeated, can ruin a person’s form and result in injury. When looking for a personal trainer there are many elements to consider, one of the most important being attention to detail.  Make sure that you use your eye for detail when looking for a personal trainer.


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