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Cindy Boggs Cindy Boggs

Cindy Boggs is an American Council on Exercise-certified fitness professional, corporate wellness presenter and author of the award winning book, CindySays… "You Can Find Health in Your Hectic World." Her web site is

Whether you need a plumber, a party planner or a personal trainer, you know as well as I do that they aren't all created equal. Furthermore, they don't necessarily grow in their scope of knowledge throughout their careers. The fact is there are good ones but unfortunately, there are plenty of bad ones. Knowing how to identify and contract the best is a big part of the battle.

Over the years, I've realized that what sets trainers apart is the ability to truly make your experience a personal one. Exercise alone will never be enough to change your body without supporting it with great nutrition, hydration and rest. A trainer who understands this (and any worth their salt should) will constantly seek continuing education and practice what he or she preaches. These criteria, once you find a personal trainer, will ultimately determine whether you love 'em or leave 'em.

Have you left them?

Sorry about your experience — sadly the following scenario happens quite often. Lovers of physical activity casually decide they are a natural candidate to become a personal trainer. They expect to attend a weekend certification and simply start changing lives the following Monday morning with a treadmill and a few resistance machines. Yikes! If you've experienced that end of the personal trainer spectrum, I hope you have left them. Good trainers aren't always right around the corner, but they are within reach. 


Ask yourself: Would you hire a contractor who went through a weekend "build a house seminar" to build the house of your dreams? No, of course you wouldn't. You would search for one who had experience, references and bodies of work that you could view and scrutinize. Well, the same applies here. Look for the bodies of work a personal trainer has created. Ask your potential trainer questions such as the following and expect specific answers:


  • Who have you trained?
  • What is you specialty?
  • How do you approach personal training?
  • Do you integrate nutrition?
  • Can you help me reach my specific goals?
  • Do my goals align with my commitment and ability?
  • Good trainers never rest


They are always on the lookout for more … to invest more in themselves by attending great conferences and seminars that earn them continuing education credits. Great fitness professionals are required to accumulate at least 10 to 20 hours of CEUs each year in order to remain in good standing with the certifying agent.

Scan the wall

Guaranteed if you are meeting with your trainer in their office and their certificate is not hung proudly for all to see, it's a good chance they either are not certified at all or no longer keeping up with their certification requirements. Either way, it's a perfect reason to excuse yourself and keep looking. 

The skinny on good trainers

Keep in mind that there are decent trainers who are credentialed but lack the knowledge on how to counsel their clients to fuel great workouts. These are the trainers who spend all their time on training and no time on nutrition. Chances are your trainer isn't a registered dietician or nutritionist, so they should not be devising menu plans for you. This would be out of their scope of practice, which is a no-no! However, basic fitness nutrition can and should be discussed and, if so, can triple the effectiveness of one's training program. If your trainer isn't building a nutritional system around your goals, commitment and lifestyle, you will most likely fall short of your expectations.

Choose well

In all aspects surrounding health, including diet, training and lifestyle, I would like to emphasize one point: Choose well and you will live well.

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