If you are new to training and/or exercise, the first thing you should do is determine what type of physical activity you enjoy. If you have never been physically active, think about what types of exercise you may enjoy by talking to others and researching online. Thereafter you can make the determination once you've tried different forms of exercise. The more you enjoy your physical activity, the more you will be successful in reaching your health and fitness goals.
In addition, it's important to make sure you are exercising properly right from the start. You don't want to start any new bad habits with poor form or even worse, injure yourself. Ask around and research various personal trainers, instructors and coaches in your area that can guide you down the right path to your own health and wellness. Some of the key things to keep in mind are:
- Certifications - Just because someone says they are certified doesn't mean they actually are, or that their certifications are current. Ask to see proof of certification to make sure they have the appropriate knowledge to train you safely and appropriately, and that they're also staying-up on the trends in the fitness industry.
- Referrals/Testimonials - Getting a personal referral is always good and will make you feel at ease when choosing a new trainer/coach. If you don't have a referral, feel free to ask other clients/members you see in the gym, or ask to contact one or two of their current/past clients to ask any questions you may have about them and their training style.
- Location and Schedule - Make sure you can realistically travel to/from the training location so you are always on time. Was it hard to find parking? Are there session times available when you are available? Ideally you want to workout at least 2-3 days/week when you are starting out so you can build consistency and see results.
- Assessments and Pre-Qualifications - Always make sure you train with someone that asks you about your lifestyle, health, and medical issues or injuries on day one. If they don't ask about you and your history, how are they going to safely train you? You should be required to complete a form(s) that let the trainer/staff know what your training history is, if you have any medical conditions or past injuries, and what your goals are for yourself. Without this information they are just shooting into the dark and most likely going to use very generic programming for you.
- Atmosphere and Experience - You must have a good experience! Try a session or two with your trainer/coach to see if you enjoy their training style and have a good experience. There is a wide spectrum ranging from laid back and easy-going to shout-in-your-face military style. Everyone prefers something different. Also, did they welcome you when you walked in the door? Did they motivate you? Was the music appropriate for the type of training offered? Did you feel like you used your muscles? Did you enjoy the atmosphere and amenities offered? The last thing you want is to dread going to the gym because it is unkept, unorganized and dirty, or even worse, you don't feel welcome and the staff and other clients/members are unfriendly.
All in all, you want to set yourself up for success right from the start. All of these factors play a key role in your first experience in fitness training and you want it to be a lasting one!