Finding a Personal Trainer is simple. Plug a few key words into Google, and you’re likely to find several trainers in your area. The tricky part is finding someone credible, who matches your personality, and can deliver the results you’re after. Here are a few things to consider when choosing your next personal trainer.
- Do they practice what they preach? Consider your goals. Do you want to get into powerlifting, competitive bodybuilding, Triathlons? Your trainer should mirror your goals, no more, no less. If I were to hire a trainer, I’d like them to be in better shape than me. I can’t emulate someone who doesn’t project an image that I aspire to be. Nor can I trust or even respect someone who cannot follow their own advice. During the consultation with your trainer, ask him or her what they do to stay in shape. You wouldn’t buy a car without asking questions about it, right?
- Can’t we all just get along? First impressions are important! Pay attention to how the trainer interacts with you during the consultation. You shouldn’t have to compete with their cell phone, other clients/patrons in the gym, or any other form of distraction at this time or any other. They should always give you their undivided attention, and although it’s difficult to predict what they’ll do during a session, watch them interact while they’re working with other clients. Do they talk too long between sets, or worse- do they talk to OTHER people while they’re supposed to be training you? Make a note of this. You may not always love your trainer, but you should have unwavering trust, respect and consistent, open communication with them. Consider your learning style. When I’m learning something new, I require patience in my teacher. I can’t learn if I feel rushed, or if the person appears to be annoyed by having to explain something two or even three times to me. What differentiates a good Personal Trainer from a great one, is their ability to act as a “chameleon.” They must have a sincere ability to bend and conform to a variety of personality types. This entails excellent customer service skills, something not every personal trainer possesses. How professional are they? Assess this by their ability to show up on time, how they’re dressed/groomed, and their speaking skills. Demand the best from your trainer!
- What do they know? Inquire about their certifications, degree(s), length of time as a trainer, and anything else that proves their credibility. Then research this information. What does it mean to be certified by NASM? How can a trainer’s BS in Kinesiology help you? What if they don’t have a degree, how does this affect their ability to get you results? What’s the difference between someone who’s been training ten years, as opposed to two years? When was the last time they attended a Fitness Conference or workshop and what did it consist of? Do they carry liability insurance? Are they first aid/CPR certified? Find out by asking lots of questions and consider it a red flag if the trainer appears to be uncomfortable or hesitant about answering anything. You’re essentially interviewing someone you’re going to invest a substantial amount of money and time into, and they should confidently answer every single one of your questions.
- Where and how do they train? Would you feel more comfortable training in a private studio, or do you prefer the crowded gym atmosphere? During the consultation, ask your trainer where and how they train. What kind of equipment do they use and how do they design their programs for each client? How long is each session, and what does it consist of?
- Can they get results? In my opinion, every trainer should have proof that they can help clients attain their goals. Whether it be testimonials on their website, or a photo album with before and after pictures of previous clients- they need to have proof. I also believe that all trainers should have available references, and you should be able to call previous clients and ask them about their training experience. You may never actually call, but wouldn’t it feel good knowing you’d have those references at your fingertips?
There are many things to consider when hiring a trainer, and when I meet with someone I always suggest they interview at least three Personal Trainers before settling on one. I remind them that hiring a trainer is not only a financial investment, but an investment in their health and education as well.