How should I choose a professional to help meet my fitness goals?

Brooke Randolph
Marriage & Family Therapy
When choosing a professional with whom to work to meet your fitness goals, the most important thing to keep in mind is your comfort. You are unlikely to follow through with suggestions, or even return to a professional, that you are not sure you trust. The best way to make this judgment is to meet with the professional face to face.

Other things to keep in mind are convenience, so find out if the professional offers appointments at times that will work with your schedule and what type of payment he or she accepts. Although cost should be low on the list of determining factors, it is something that can make a difference on your ability to work with a specific professional. Location is another important aspect of convenience for you to consider. Don't forget to ask if there are costs for phone and email contact and ask how long the professional has been practicing and how many similar cases have they had to yours, and whether they would consider them successful. Don't be afraid to ask for references.

If you are creating a team of professionals for yourself, it is important to know how willing each is to work with others and how they may communicate. Lastly, personal experience overcoming the same problem you are facing is something that many appreciate in a professional with whom they are working; however, his or her experience may be different from yours. The empathy may be helpful, but if the approach is limited to what worked for him or her, you may not get the best help possible.
There are many professionals in the health community that will be able to assist you dependent on your physician’s recommendations. These professionals include Physical Therapists, Certified Athletic Trainers, Licensed Massage Therapists, Registered Dieticians, and Certified Personal Trainers. The best thing to do is talk to your physician first, and most likely, pending recommendation, seek out a qualified Certified Personal Trainer. This professional should be able to communicate with your physician to determine the best course of action for your condition. To choose the right professional, interview several certified personal trainers, and determine how well you will get along if you obtain his or her services. Most certified personal trainers will gladly take you through a complimentary session, since client compatibility is just as important to them as it is to you.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.