The new year is almost here and many people have begun to research ways to make their new year's resolutions come true. When it comes to fitness and health goals, whether it is dropping 50 lbs or simply working on your golf swing, teaming up with an educated, experienced personal trainer can often help ensure success. Think about it this way... most of us see our doctor a maximum of 1-2 times a year for 15 minutes a session. Trainers are often working with clients 1-3 hours a week on their health. So finding a qualified, educated trainer is crucial. Afraid that you cannot afford a personal trainer? Even if you are on a tight budget, seek out a trainer that can efficiently pass information on to you with your paid sessions occurring just once a week, or even once every 2 weeks, with homework assignments for you to complete on your own.  DIAKADI founder and owner, Billy Polson, recommends considering the following six key elements when searching for your ideal match.

Billy's Top Trainer Matchmaking Tips

1- Education and Certifications: It is always best to locate a trainer with a college degree in Exercise Physiology or Kinesiology and/or a certification from one of the leading national certifications. The top personal training certifications in the US are: NASM CPT (National Academy of Sports Medicine Certified Personal Trainer),  ACSM CPT (American College of Sports Medicine Certified Personal Trainer), and NSCA CSCS or CPT (National Strength and Conditioning Association Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist or Certified Personal Trainer). I also highly recommend looking for trainers with multiple certifications, internships, or individuals that have taken more specialized coursework  (i.e. NASM Corrective Exercise Specialist or Performance Exercise Specialist, Corrective Massage or Bodywork class work, C.H.E.K Exercise Coaches or Practitioners, Egoscue, CST (Circular Strength Training), FMS (Functional Movement Screen) coursework, Neurosomatic Educators postural analysis, etc).

2- Years of Experience: Honestly, no education can ever beat being in the trenches and working with all types and levels of clients day after day. So I recommend finding a trainer that has been certified and been training clients with this certification for a MINIMUM of 3 years.

3- Personality: All the years of education and experience in the world does not necessarily make someone a good teacher. Make sure you find a trainer that you will enjoy learning from. You need to be comfortable opening up all your weaknesses and issues to this person and trust they will always have your benefit in mind.

4- Staff Trainers in "Chain" Gyms vs. Independent Trainers: When trainers first begin training, they tend to work on staff for a private membership "chain" gym in order to get their feet wet and help build their clientele. Often as these trainers gain experience, they will graduate to training independently  in trainer only facilities such as DIAKADI. An experienced, successful independent personal trainer tends to be more well rounded not only in experience and fitness education, but also in proper business practices and professional responsibility. Either way, I recommend asking for a list of current clients as references so that you can look into more details about the trainer's style and dependability (on time, new material, safe, etc).

Independent Training at DIAKADI
Independent Training at DIAKADI

5- Assessments: EXPERIENCED trainers will ALWAYS perform a VERY detailed assessment of the body with their new clients BEFORE starting any type of workout program with them! A solid, thorough assessment should include, but not be limited to:  a posture assessment (spine, pelvis, shoulder alignment), muscle testing (flexibility and joint range of motion screen, strength/weakness testing), movement screen (studying how the body moves in all the basic movement patterns including squats, lunges, pushing, pulling, twisting), and body measurements where applicable (weight, body fat, body circumference). Always ask a potential trainer about the details of their assessment before starting to work with them. If they do not appear to have an upfront assessment of your entire body, this should be a BIG RED FLAG! Check out this DIAKADI Blog on Assessments for more details of a thorough assessment.

6- Documentation of Workouts/Progress: Again, responsible trainers will document every client's workouts in terms of the exercises and weights they are lifting in order to accurately track their progress and results from week to week. If your trainer does not show up to your workouts with a  plan of what they want to accomplish on that day= RED FLAG! Also, if you want to have copies of your workouts in order to do them on your own, it is VITALLY important that your trainer's documentation of the workouts be exact and accurate and EASILY UNDERSTOOD by you. When interviewing trainers, ask to see a sample program or file from one of their current clients. Are the trainer files hand written on paper, typed and printed, or stored electronically on an iPad or tablet?  Ask if the trainer offers videos of the workouts to assist you with your homework. Then decide on which method works best for your needs.

If you have further questions about personal training or workouts, feel free to contact Billy at  Good luck with your hunt, fitness, performance and life!

Author: Billy Polson, Founder & Owner