Are you thinking of hiring a personal trainer in Toronto? Are you trying to decide whether it would be worth the investment? What would it all cost?
If you do decide to hire a trainer, there are so many out there, so who should you choose? What characteristic should your ideal personal trainer have?
There is no doubt that having a great personal trainer will help you set proper goals, reach them faster, keep you on track and prevent injuries.
It seems today everyone has a personal trainer. Successful people, athletes, celebrities and even personal trainers have their own personal trainers! And this is for a good reason - having an expert available to help you take care of your health and fitness, means you can focus more on other things (family, work, social life, etc.).
For example, you hire an accountant to take care of your taxes or a lawyer to help you with any legal issues that you might have. Personal trainer will take care of your training and nutrition so you don’t have to waste time and energy trying to figure this out for yourself or even worse get hurt in the process.
However, similar to any other profession, you want to make sure you are hiring someone who is knowledgeable and who understands your personal concerns and goals.
A good fitness trainer will equip you with the necessary skills, knowledge and support systems to keep you on track even when you lose motivation, don’t have time or lacking confidence that you can actually achieve the goals you’ve set.
The difference between hiring a true professional and someone who has just labelled themselves as “personal trainer” could mean the difference between reaching your personal health goals and no results at all. Along with wasted time and money of a “personal trainer” your worst case scenario could be an injury and you could be set back even further than when you started.
9 POINT CHECKLIST TO FIND YOUR IDEAL PERSONAL TRAINER IN TORONTO
1. Education - With experience being the close second, this is the most important thing to look out for. Yes, you can find decent fitness trainers in Toronto that have just a certification or no certification at all, but why would you take the risk?
Going back to other professions, would you trust someone to do your taxes that has no formal education? Or a pharmacist/physician to prescribe medications and therapy without proper training?
Similarly, personal trainers prescribe exercise, provide nutrition coaching and suggest lifestyle modifications. The quality of these recommendations depends on their knowledge and understanding of the subject matter. It is important to know how all the actions you take as a result of their recommendations impacts you physically and mentally.
There is a very low entrance barrier to become a personal trainer, with some trainers entering the field after only taking a weekend fitness course.
Here are some things to look out for:
- Do they have any fitness certifications? You want your trainer to have certifications like ACSM, NCSA, FISAF or CSEP or even better if they are Registered Kinesiologist.
- Any formal university education? Weekend course, one year course, diploma, bachelor’s or master’s degree? Ideally, your trainer would have at least a four-year bachelor's degree in a field that is relevant to personal training (e.g. kinesiology, nutrition science, health promotion, sports science, strength and conditioning, etc.)
2. Experience - Education doesn’t mean much unless that knowledge has been put into practice and applied to real-world situations. Personal training is a science and an art.
The science element means that all recommendations should be based on scientific findings whenever possible. When your trainer prescribes a particular exercise to help you lose weight or get you stronger, they should be aware of the available research that has been done on this topic.
That being said, just because science has shown that certain people achieved certain results using some specific method, that doesn’t mean that you will get the same results. We are all different with our own unique physiologies, body shapes, and personalities.
This is where the art comes into play. They should know how to modify exercises, nutrition and other recommendations based on your own unique characteristics. Making adjustments as you progress to ensure consistent results and avoiding any plateaus.
3. Personality - This tends to be subjective, but there are some red flags to be aware of. In essence, your personality needs to fit your trainer’s personality. Can you see yourself working with this trainer and would you actually enjoy working with them?
Some people like military style, disciplinarian approach, whereas others need more relaxed approach with an understanding trainer who provides constant positive reinforcement. Or you might be someone who likes a bit of both.
Red flags to watch out for:
- trainers that make you feel bad about yourself;
- trainers that keep pushing you to do things you don’t want to do;
- “No pain, no gain” philosophy;
- trainers that don’t have an understanding of what you are going through I.e. think that everything revolves around workouts and eating chicken and broccoli all the time;
4. Nutrition Coaching - every good trainer should know at least some basic nutrition principles. Whatever the health or fitness goal is, exercise without proper nutrition will provide sub-optimal results and in worst case scenario no results at all or regression.
Ideally, the trainer knows how to change someones eating habits, teach them what the proper nutrition is and build necessary skills to sustain healthy eating habits. Be aware of trainers who just provide meal plans and claim that there Is one best approach/diet for everyone. Like anything else in life, the recommendations will be context dependant and influenced by many things (e.g. genetics, preferences, etc.).
5. Reputation - Sometimes this could be difficult to find out, but a quick Google search for testimonials and reviews might provide you with all the answers you need. Another option is to check whether they have been featured online anywhere, have they authored any scientific studies relevant to the personal training field, etc. This will be a great way to help determine if they have points 1 & 2, education and experience.
6. Availability - The best personal trainer won’t be able to help you much unless they can dedicate the time you need to get the results you are after. A trainer needs be there beside you every step of the way and available at your service when you need them.
Ask your trainer what their schedule is like, how much time they can dedicate to you and whether they are flexible with their schedule. Also inquire about other ways to communicate with them. Can you text, email, call or do they have an app. Important things can happen outside of a gym session and it is important to know how responsive they are.
7. Location - Are you willing to take 30-60 minute commute to meet your trainer on the other side of Toronto? Maybe you don’t like the gym environment and prefer some privacy. Or you are short on time and prefer quick workouts in your home or your building gym. This will all be personal preference but it’s important to keep in mind how your sessions will fit into your current lifestyle. You want to set yourself up for success to ensure consistency, don’t create extra hurdles for yourself.
8. Cost - Decide on your monthly budget and how much you are willing to spend. Ask yourself how much your goals are worth to you.
Yes, you can hire a cheap trainer right away and hope for the best, but if you don’t get the results you want this means the money has been wasted.
Hire a great personal trainer even though it might seem more expensive at first, but your health and wellness is worth it. With a good personal trainer you are likely to reach your goals faster than with someone who is insufficient which in turn may save you money and at the very least time.
But what if you can’t afford a good trainer. You have bills to pay, mortgage, insurance, kids, etc. So your own fitness is one of the last things on your mind. It’s easy to put your fitness on the back burner when you have other priorities staring you in the face.
In this case, talk a trainer that you’re interested in working with and see what options are available. Online personal training has gained mass popularity. It can be much more cost effective and has many of the same benefits as in-person personal training but it doesn't require you to travel to the gym, saving you also time to work out when and wherever you can.
You can also sign up for semi-private or group training classes. Cheaper than the regular 1-to-1 personal training, but not personalized.
The amount of money you spent on personal trainer doesn’t always determine trainer’s quality. That being said, personal trainer prices in Toronto can cost you anywhere from $10-20/class for group classes and all the way up to $120+/session for regular 1-to-1 personal training. Online personal training would cost you on average between $100-400/month.
9. Can the trainer guarantee results? - This is of course very important and the goal of hiring a personal trainer. Is trainer confident that they can get you where you want to be?
Obviously, this does not all depend on the trainer since you are the who has to exercise and change habits. However, the trainer needs to have a clear plan and set of actions for you. They must stand behind those recommendations and guarantee the results will be there as long as you are following their recommendations.
TO KINESIOLOGY VS OTHER PERSONAL TRAINING COMPANIES
At TO Kinesiology, we pride ourselves in providing some of the best personal training and nutrition coaching services in the Greater Toronto Area. To summarize the whole article and give you a better idea what to look for in personal trainer, we decided to create a table below. We’ve outlined some of the main differences between us and a typical personal training company:
ONE FINAL NOTE
Figuring out all this for yourself can be frustrating, expensive and time-consuming. Just like you, we’ve been in a similar situation, sorting through to mass amounts of conflicting information about health and fitness. It can be daunting and hard to figure out who to trust.
This is why TO Kinesiology was created. We are Registered Kinesiologists and certified personal trainers with years of experience helping people just like you move, feel and look better. So far we have helped many people lose weight, tone, gain muscle and improve their physical performance.
Our clients’ results are our top priority, and we even guarantee results. We listen to your needs and concerns and advise on the best course of action for your personal goals. We aim to make the whole health and fitness journey fun, interesting and enjoyable.
If you have any questions don’t hesitate to get in touch with us. Schedule a free consultation today to find out how we can help you!
NEM - NEMANJA SAMBAHER
Nem is the owner and head coach at TO Kinesiology. He is a certified Personal Trainer and Registered Kinesiologist with a Master of Science degree in Kinesiology. Nem is a published author with a strong science background with some of his papers appearing in journals like Neuroscience, Scandinavian Journal of Medicine and Science in Sports and Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research. He's also been featured for online publications like Stack.com, Running Room, Applied Physiology, Nutrition and Metabolism, etc. You can read more about Nem here.
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