Let’s face it – there are a lot of personal trainers out there, and they each carry a certain set of skills. They all have different personalities, and they will all assess your needs in a different way. With all of the difference, it can be hard to find the right trainer. With that being said, here’s a two-step process you can follow to find the right trainer for you
1. The Initial Screening
Make sure they’re certified.
It is illegal to train clients without a certification. Licensing statutes prohibit it in the United States. There are a lot of trainers out there, and there are some that practice without a license. Be sure that any trainer you work with is certified. Certification courses make the practice legal and help to make sure trainers have a knowledge base for training their clients. Without a certification, a trainer should not be trusted with your health and training plan.
Make sure they’re qualified.
This can have a variation of definitions, and you’ll have to decide what makes a qualified trainer. We see a qualified trainer as one that has experience, researches and follows up to date information in fitness, has a broad knowledge base, and has helped clients to achieve real results.
Do they know what they’re talking about?
Some trainers will have you come in to a session, they’ll give you a plan, and they won’t be able to explain why you’re doing what you’re doing. If your trainer doesn’t explain (or can’t explain) why you’re doing a certain workout in a certain way, they should not be trusted. There should be a reason and a purpose for every exercise, every cardio session, and everything you do with your health. A good trainer will be able to explain, with a basic scientific understanding, why they’re having you do what they’re telling you to do.
What’s their experience?
How long have they been in the industry? How many years have they held a certification? How many clients have they worked with? What gyms or health clubs have they worked for? Quality and quantity of experience are both important, and a trainer should have a bit of both.
Do they practice what they preach?
A lot of trainers have the knowledge base, but they just don’t practice what they preach. This can make it hard to stay motivated as a client, and it can also be hard for a trainer to really understand how things work if they’ve never actually applied it themselves. A good trainer aligns his/her own goals with fitness, and is highly passionate about what they teach.
What’s their client base look like?
What kind of people do they train? What is the goal of their clients? Do these goals align with your goals? There are a lot of different categories in fitness, and you should look for trainers that have a client base that is similar to what your goals are. You wouldn’t want someone who primarily trains professional athletes training you on how to lose 20 pounds for a wedding.. it’s completely different.
Are they reputable?
What kind of reviews do they have from clients, if any? What do their peers say about them? What about friends and acquaintances? A good trainer has reputable feedback that they aren’t afraid to share with others.
What do they do in a typical training session?
Ask the trainer what they do in a typical training session. If you don’t feel a typical session with them will help you reach your goals, go look for another trainer! There are plenty of them out there. If spending hours stretching and learning how to use equipment isn’t your biggest goal and that’s what a typical training session is, maybe you should find a trainer that isn’t having you learn how to use complicated equipment for a very simple goal.
2. Choosing the Right Trainer for YOU
Have a conversation with the trainer and see how well you connect.
Since all trainers train different clients and have different personalities, you should have a conversation with the trainer first and see how well you connect. Use your judgment and trust you gut. If you feel it’s not a good fit, set up an appointment to chat with another trainer.
See if they offer a free consultation and take advantage of it
The free consultation gives you a chance to get to discuss your goals with a trainer and see if they can help you reach them. Some trainers charge for a consultation, so be mindful of that. Their time is valuable, and they don’t want it to be wasted. With that being said, it may be worth paying a small fee for a consultation to find a long-term fit.
Don’t commit to anything long-term unless you’re certain it’s a good fit.
Don’t schedule 20 sessions with a trainer if you haven’t even had a discussion with them yet about your goals, or haven’t even met them yet! It’s important to screen your trainer, just like they screen their clients to make sure their goals align. Don’t invest until you know you have a long term plan with a trainer you will enjoy working with.
See what plan of action they recommend for your goals, and see if it aligns with what you want.
There’s more than one way to reach the goal, and each trainer will make a different plan, so make sure the plan they give you will fit your lifestyle, and make sure it’s something you will enjoy. Exercise and working with a trainer should be fun and enjoyable, not something you dread after a long days work.