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8 Things Your Personal Trainer May Not Tell You

Wouldn't you like to know what your trainer is thinking?

Sometimes it's what a person doesn't say that's important. Here are 8 things your personal trainer may be hiding from you.

1. "I specialize in whatever you're looking for."

Every competent trainer can build workout routines and show clients how to move without injury, but some people have more specific goals. You might want to improve your golf game, be dealing with a pregnancy or working out in a wheelchair. If you're looking for something more than typical fat loss and muscle building, look for a trainer that has experience with your needs.

2. "My certificate isn't worth the paper it's printed on."

It's always comforting to hear someone say they're certified, but the question you need to ask is by whom? Hundreds of companies will take your money and send you a certificate calling you a Personal Trainer. Since there are no federal or state regulations to back them up, it's your responsibility to check into the certifying organization. (Click here for a list of what we consider the top reputable certifying organizations.)

3. "I haven't kept my certification current."

As new research comes out, training techniques evolve and change. Reputable companies insist on continuing education to keep their trainers current. Some trainers figure once they have the certification, they know everything they'll ever need. You wouldn't want a doctor that didn't know about the latest treatments, would you? Why settle for a trainer that's 10, 15 or 20 years behind the times? When a trainer tells you who they're certified by, call the company and make sure it's been kept current.

4. "My title is made up."

Some trainers try to separate themselves from the pack by enhancing their titles. I've seen cards with "Master", "Elite" and "Power" put before the words "Personal Trainer." You should know there are no more requirements to call yourself a "Master Personal Trainer" than to call yourself just a "Personal Trainer." If you see an enhanced title, ask the trainer what they did to get it. Chances are they just stuck it on to sound more important.

5. "Once you pay me, good luck trying to get a refund."

Personal trainers frequently work out of their homes or as independent contractors with local gyms. When you pay them, there are often no records or controls. If you decide to leave after only spending part of the money, getting a refund may be difficult. Protect yourself by insisting on a receipt for any payments you make. Ask for refund policies to be put in writing, as well as how much the sessions cost and any rules about canceling appointments. If that information isn't available, keep your cash.

6. "When I train you in a gym, you may spend a lot of time waiting."

Working out with a trainer in your gym is very convenient. But if you workout during prime hours, you may end up standing around waiting for equipment to free up. In smaller or busier gyms, your workout may even be changed to stay on schedule. Try and book trainer workouts when the gym is slow to maximize your time.

7. "My training studio is nothing more than a couple of weights and some mats."

It is possible to get a great workout using just your body. But if you're serious about making progress, you'll need to constantly change routines and find new ways to stress your muscles for growth. The more equipment your trainer has, the greater variety of exercises they can teach you.

8. "I'm going to sell you supplements to earn more money."

To make a little on the side, trainers often try to sell their clients vitamins, protein powders and supplements. Remember that you're paying your trainer to provide advice, not sell you products. If they believe something is good for you, they should give you a recommendation and let you go buy it. If they're earning money by selling it, they're no longer impartial. Don't pay for a sales pitch.

Working out with a personal trainer can be a huge healthy step. You just have to know the right questions to ask.

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CAUTION: Check with your doctor before
beginning any diet or exercise program.