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So you think you want to hire a personal trainer . . .

Trying to get in better shape? Maybe it's time you asked for help from a personal trainer. • A personal trainer can fill several vital roles, tailoring a workout regimen to your needs and making sure your form and technique are good. Perhaps the biggest advantage: A personal trainer provides accountability. • Here's some advice, from personal trainers and those who employ them, on how to hire a trainer of your own.

1 Qualifications

A trainer with a four-year degree in a related field is preferable. Look for personal training certifications; especially look for certifications that require continuing education, which helps keep a trainer current on trends and research.

2 Experience

While formal education is important, experience with clients is vital as well. Ask to speak with a couple of clients for references.

3 Area of focus

Some trainers focus on specific clients. If, for instance, a trainer specializes in helping high-performing athletes tweak their performance and you simply want to lose some weight and increase your mobility, maybe it's not a good fit.

4 Curiosity

During your interview, the trainer should ask you more questions than you ask the trainer.

5 Commitment

Most trainers suggest working with a trainer two to three times a week, at least initially. This is especially true if one of your problems has been motivation. The frequent visits can help establish a routine. Once you fall into that routine, you can cut back your visits.

6 Team player?

Because healthy living isn't simply about working out in the gym, check to see if the trainer works with and will refer you to other health care professionals. If you're diabetic, for instance, the trainer should bring in a nutritionist or dietitian to consult. If you have muscular dystrophy or fibromyalgia, you might want a masseuse.

7 Cost

The trainers we spoke with said to avoid anyone who requires a long-term commitment. Most personal trainers charge by the session.

A one-hour session in a gym will run $45 to $65. (Less experienced trainers may charge less.) A trainer with a related degree will run more, perhaps $60 to $65. And if the trainer comes to you, expect to pay $60 to $100 or more.

8 Flexibility

Your trainer should be willing to show you how to work on your own, or be willing to consider group classes if that's a better fit for your budget.

So you think you want to hire a personal trainer . . . 12/28/12 [Last modified: Friday, December 28, 2012 3:30am]

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