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Find the Right Personal Fitness Trainer Abroad

Individuals traveling and living abroad have a lot to focus on. From navigating a new city to learning a new language, staying fit can quickly become an afterthought. Yet, expats who are trying to acclimate to a new culture may find solace when they find a gym and work with a personal fitness trainer, because living overseas does not have to mean forgetting about fitness.       

Do Your Homework

Finding a personal fitness trainer in a foreign country requires a considerable amount of trial and error, but individuals can minimize work by doing some research upfront.

Consider conducting a basic search by looking up local high-end fitness clubs and recreational centers to see if they offer personal training and to find out about their average prices. Associations sometimes have a search engine to find trainers. The American Council on Exercise (ACE), for instance, lets individuals search for ACE-certified trainers worldwide.

“Four years is a good amount of time for them to have worked with a good variety of training cases, and to learn a few different ways of doing things.”

— Luci Gabel, managing owner of LuciFit LLC

Ask About Certifications

Many fitness experts abroad become certified by organizations in the U.S., as they are well-known globally. The most reputable are the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM), ACE, and National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM).

However, as the industry is relatively young, there is no international governing board that sets standards or certifications for the entire industry, says Fred Hoffman, a certified fitness expert, author and consultant in Paris. While some organizations like the International Sports Sciences Association (ISSA) or National Exercise and Sports Trainers Association (NESTA) are marketed as international, their certifications aren't automatically recognized in other countries.

Because there's no one certification that is recognized worldwide, a personal fitness trainer could be qualified but have no certifications, Hoffman says. Similarly, he or she can be well educated but may not know how to design a truly personalized workout, opting instead to design a standard workout for all clients.

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Ask Questions

It's also important to find out about a prospective fitness trainer's background. Be sure to ask the following five questions before choosing a trainer:

1. Are you aware of the certifying bodies that exist internationally?

"Even if a country doesn't have certifications, a well-informed trainer will at least know what they are, or have at least heard of them," Hoffman says.

2. Can you describe your clientele?

By asking about trainers' clientele, individuals can gain information about their field of expertise and any specialties.

3. What is your educational background?

Look for a personal trainer with a degree in some sort of fitness-related topic, like kinesiology or exercise science, says Luci Gabel, managing owner of LuciFit LLC, a fitness and wellness consulting company in the San Francisco Bay area and Washington, D.C.

4. How many years of experience do you have, and what type of clients have you been primarily working with?

"Four years is a good amount of time for them to have worked with a good variety of training cases, and to learn a few different ways of doing things," Gabelsays.

5. What is the cost?

The price depends on location and the trainer, ranging anywhere from $15 to $100 per hour. 

Once an individual has found the right personal trainer abroad, he or she can use a trusted online foreign exchange service to submit regular international payments. Since online foreign exchange services make it easy to track the progress of bank-to-bank money transfers, individuals can rest assured that they'll know when their trainer has been paid.  



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