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The question

I want to find a good personal trainer. How to choose? Are they regulated?

The answer

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If you want the trainer to come to your home, ask friends and neighbours if they know of anyone good who already trains in your area.

If you want to work out at your local gym, ask the manager to show you detailed profiles of their trainers, including credentials, experience and customer feedback.

Another option is to look into boutique personal-training studios. Many trainers who have been in the business for a substantial amount of time only work at these smaller facilities.

The bare minimum education any trainer should have is a Can-Fit-Pro, ACE or ACSM personal-training certification.

On top of having the basic certification, ask about the number of years of experience they have as well as any additional credentials (example: an undergraduate degree in kinesiology or Pilates certification) and client testimonials.

Many trainers will have testimonials posted on their website. Otherwise, ask the trainer to supply you with some.

Trainer's Tip: I strongly suggest an in-person meeting and/or a sample session with any potential trainer before you commit to a large number of sessions. Get a feel for whether they attend conferences and keep abreast of new health-and-fitness knowledge. A conversation will also show you if the trainer is easy to talk with. You don't have to be new best friends, but the inter-personal relationship between a client and trainer is extremely important.

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Send certified personal trainer Kathleen Trotter your questions at trainer@globeandmail.com. She will answer select questions, which could appear in The Globe and Mail and/or on The Globe and Mail web site. Your name will not be published if your question is chosen.

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The content provided in The Globe and Mail's Ask a Health Expert centre is for information purposes only and is neither intended to be relied upon nor to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

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