In Part 1 of How to Choose a Personal Trainer that is Right for You, your personal reasons for seeking the services of a personal trainer were discussed. In Part 2, the business components of the trainer/client relationship are reviewed. A few things to consider. 1. Certification Status. Ensure that your would-be trainer holds a current personal trainer certification from a reputable organization. Reputable organizations administer both a theoretical and a practical exam; require both first aid and CPR credentials of their trainers; provide options to the trainer for liability insurance; and have a renewal process to ensure the trainer continues to further their training knowledge with updated, science-based education. Ask the trainer the name of his/her certifying organization and follow up with the organization to verify the trainer’s status. If the trainer’s status is inactive and/or has been expired for over a year this will provide you with insight as to how the trainer values their own growth. 2. Payment and Session Policies. Depending on the trainer’s location and business status, the method of payment and session execution can vary from one trainer to the next. Questions that should be asked include: a. What are the payment terms? Do sessions need to be paid in advance? If yes, is there a discounted rate for packaged purchases? Are there additional fees above and beyond the one-on-one training time? Knowing the response to these questions will help you to budget your training accordingly. Keep in mind that the session rate for many trainers does not include assessment and reassessment fees or program design fees. Get all the fees up front so there are no surprises once you have committed to the training. b. What is the cancellation policy for a session and cancellation policy for unused sessions? What is the policy if you are a no-show for a session and the policy if the trainer is a no-show for your session? Most important, what is the policy should you wish to end the training relationship. We all lead busy lives and sometimes sessions need to be missed for one reason or another. Know what needs to happen should you need to cancel and what happens if you do not show for a session. Likewise, what happens if the trainer wishes to end the training relationship with you or if he/she needs to cancel a session with you. c. How will sessions be tracked? Do you need to sign a log in sheet for each session rendered? – This item may seem silly to many, but it is a vital part of the training relationship. Just imagine the scenario – you purchased 20 sessions, believe you have completed 15 and have 5 more, but your trainer tells you all sessions have been used and it is time to pay for a new package. How do you prove that you have only completed 15 sessions? d. Is there an allowance for a trial period? Let’s face it; working with a personal trainer is a very personal thing. As such, the rapport you establish with the trainer is important to the success of the training relationship. There is no way to know if that rapport exists from chatting on the phone with the trainer or even in a face to face meeting. As such, if you are in doubt, ask for a trial period whereby you work with the trainer for 2- 3 sessions to see if they are a good fit for you from a training personality perspective. 3. Assessment and Program Design. A good calibre trainer will a. Conduct an initial assessment to get your starting level and reassessments at periodic intervals during the training period to ensure the training is leading you to your goals – the initial assessment should include the completion of a Physical Activity Readiness Questionnaire (PAR-Q), an activity history and some discussion about the amount of time you have to train. Depending on your goals, there should be specific measurements taken to develop a baseline to which future assessment measurements are compared. b. Create a written program design, take you through each exercise in the training program to ensure you comprehend the program and provide you with a copy. c. Ask that you complete a training diary or training sheet to ensure he/she gets a holistic view of your response to the training program. Although the personal trainer/trainee relationship evolves quickly, it is important that you know the business aspects of the relationship to protect your investment. Get responses to all your questions and acquaint yourself with the policies of the training agreement. For more information about CPTN, visit their site here.