How to Choose the Right Personal Trainer

Though it’s only October, many people already have New Year’s Resolutions in mind and want to get ahead of the crowd by kicking their workouts up a notch. One of the best ways to take your fitness to the next level is by hiring a personal trainer. Personal trainers are ideal for regular gym-goers who want to diversify or intensify their programs as well as gym newbies who want to make sure they have the proper regimen before they attempt to conquer a fitness program alone. However, personal trainers are definitely not a one-size-fits-all group. Hiring the right one should be based on your personal preferences and needs as well as the credentials, experience, and personality of the trainer himself. Here are some tips to help you select the ideal trainer to help achieve your fitness goals.

Identify Your Goals

Someone who wants to lose 100 pounds and reduce their likelihood of having a heart attack will have much different needs than a competitive athlete who wants to compete in Iron Man contests. Before you choose a personal trainer, be specific about the goals you want to reach. Do you want to lose 10 pounds? Reduce body fat by 15 percent? Be able to run five miles a day? Take your golf game to the next level? Once you know what you want out of your workout program, you can find trainers that specialize in these areas.

Interview Them First

It’s a mistake to hire any professional without a proper interview. No matter how great their resume looks or how many of your friends and family members recommended them, you just don’t know if you’ll mesh well with a trainer until you talk to them. During the interview, make sure you ask about training, success stories, and a few examples of plans they’ve put together for clients. Make sure they ask you questions as well, and really listen to your answers. Developing a good personal trainer relationship is similar to dating—it has to be beneficial and a good fit for both of you to have a chance at success.

Ask About Credentials

Credentials should not be what you base your decision on, but you should at least find out how the personal trainer was educated. Some may have a degree in exercise science or kinesiology from a major university, while others may just have specific certifications such as NSCA, ACE, or Crossfit. See what certifications your trainer has and look them up so you know what their training involved. You’ll also want to focus on any specialized training or continuing education they have performed since they received their degree or initial certification. This indicates a trainer who keeps up on new information and is continually improving his or her craft.

Look for Common Red Flags

When interviewing and checking up on your personal trainer’s background, keep an eye out for the following red flags:

Cookie-cutter programs  Try to observe a few of the trainer’s sessions with other clients before you hire them. Do they seem to be putting each of their clients through the same cookie-cutter routine or is each session personalized? A good trainer will develop a program that is unique for you and not go through the motions by using a one-size-fits-all plan.

A basic certification with no ongoing training  If your trainer received a degree in 2001 and has not completed any training since, it’s a red flag that their methods could be outdated or that they’ve lost their passion for what they do. A good trainer will continually improve their knowledge and education.

Little to no hands-on help  As you observe the trainer with other clients, do you notice they tend to check out for large portions of the session? If the trainer is in the corner checking their Facebook feed instead of observing and motivating their client, you should probably look for a different trainer.

Of course, getting a recommendation from a group of experts who already know the best trainers in town is also a great way to narrow down the large pool of personal trainers in the area. If you’d like more information on who the best trainers are in your area, please visit our website. One of our experts would love to help.

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