When hiring a fitness coach or starting a new program it’s important to understand what you’re going to get out of the experience. Take some time to ask yourself what’s most important to you. 

Do you prefer a male or female coach, or does it matter? Do you prefer to workout in a group, or one on one with a coach? Do you know what credentials your trainer has, or do you just care about the results they can get for you? Do you need help with fat loss, building strength or improving mobility? Is form correction, and feedback important to you? 

When hiring a coach, don’t be afraid to interview them.

Here are 5 questions you should consider asking before committing to a program: 

1. What certifications do you have? 

I’ve been a certified personal trainer with the National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM) since 2004. In the past 13 years, I’ve had one or two clients ask what certifications I held. Most clients don’t give two shits what piece of paper you have framed on your wall. They’ll likely only care about the results you can get for them. 

If you are someone who cares about the education of the coach you’re trusting to help you get fit (and you should be), make sure you choose someone who holds at least one personal training certification from an accredited agency. These certifications are the gold standard in the industry; ACSM, ACE, NASM, and NSCA.

Bonus certifications: Precision Nutrition level 1 & 2, CFSF (Mike Boyle’s certified functional strength coach cert), Training for Warriors level 1 & 2, and FMS certifications. These certs make for a pretty well-rounded coach who you can trust is up on everything in the industry.

2. What was the last seminar you attended?

When hiring a coach, it’s important to know how often they attend fitness seminars and what kind of courses they take on a regular basis. In order to remain certified, a coach has to keep their continuing education credits up to date. Most accredited certifications require a coach to re-certify every two years, and they need to accrue a certain amount of CEU’s.

The fitness industry changes every few months, and staying up on the latest trends and research is important. A coach should attend at least two hands-on seminars per year, otherwise they risk falling way behind on what’s relevant. 

Bonus questions: What’s the next seminar you’re going to attend, and what book(s) are you currently reading?

3. What kind of results can you get me? 

This is obviously an important question to ask. Have them share testimonials with you, and talk to other clients who have achieved similar goals to yours. Have them explain the system they use to help their clients get the results they want so you understand what’s expected of you. 

Do they assist with goal setting?

How will they hold you accountable? 

Can they show you ‘before and after’ photos? Not everyone is interested in a body transformation goal, but if you are, ask to see proof a coach or a program can help you. Ask as many questions as you can to get a better understanding of how they can support your needs. 

4. How can we communicate?

If you need help with something, ask your coach what’s the best way to ask questions.

Can you call or email them anytime? Can you text them? Do they make themselves available to you before and after workouts to go over form, and to offer advice on your aching knee?

Communication is key to a solid relationship and everyone’s communication style is different. Make sure you feel comfortable asking your coach for anything you need. 

5. How will my progress be measured?

Progress makes us happy. Most people will agree that seeing improvements in their performance, and in their body composition is important to them. Without progress, it’s tough to stay committed to a program.

So, how will progress be measured? Can the coach take your body fat measurements with calipers, or do they prefer you take photos to track your progress?

Does the coach do any kind of physical testing to asses your current abilities? Ask how your progress will be tracked and measured. 

Much like anything in life, it takes time to experiment with different things to find what fits best. Your health should be your number one priority in life because without it, nothing else matters. Invest in your health, it’s always worth it. 

Who you choose to help you get and stay fit has a big responsibility to ensure you have the best possible experience. It’s important for you to ask the right questions, and to find a coach or a training program that delivers exactly what you need to reach all of your goals.