Finding a Personal Fitness Trainer

They're popular and they get results, but making a good match takes effort.

By R. Morgan Griffin
WebMD Weight Loss Clinic - Feature

Reviewed By Brunilda Nazario, MD

It once was that personal fitness trainers were exclusively for the super rich, sighted by us normal folks only in paparazzi photographs of a celebrity's entourage. But as fitness centers have spread throughout the country and the number of personal fitness trainers has increased, getting your own has become a real possibility for the average person, says Patrick Hagerman, EdD, a professor of exercise and sports science at the University of Tulsa.

"They're really much more affordable than people would think," says Hagerman, who is also a board member of the National Strength and Conditioning Association and owns Quest Personal Training in Oklahoma City.

Nor are personal fitness trainers just for the buff, spandex-sporting crowd, says Fred Klinge, chairman of the Health and Registry Board at the American College of Sports Medicine. Klinge emphasizes that the scope of personal fitness trainers has broadened. "It's not just about weight lifting and cardio work anymore," he tells WebMD. "It's more about assistance in developing a healthy and fit lifestyle."

Although there haven't been too many, some studies have shown that personal trainers can help people stick to their exercise routines more effectively than they would on their own, according to Cedric Bryant, PhD, chief exercise physiologist at the American Council on Exercise (ACE). But for someone who hasn't had any experience with personal trainers, figuring out how to get one can be daunting.